Canoeing and kayaking
The canoes (also called open or Canadian canoes) are typically paddled by a team of two people using paddles with a blade on one end.
Kayaks are typically paddled solo with a paddle that has a blade on both ends.
Although stable the students enthusiasm may cause the canoe to capsize. All paddlers, whether they can swim or not, are equipped with safety equipment such as buoyancy aids and other items such as helmets are issued as required.
Secondary students will be able to canoe on a section of the River Wye which has over 100 miles of paddling. This venue does depend on water levels and alternatives include Llangorse lake or one of the larger reservoirs in the National Park. The river sections include gentle rapids. River trips are a full day, lakes and reservoirs can be half or full day. River trips may include gentle rapids.The rivers Wye and Severn can be used for multiday canoeing expeditions. Suitably competent Gold DofE expeditions may also canoe these rivers.
For more advanced groups there is sea paddlling on the beautiful Gower coast which has a mixture of sandy beaches and limestone cliffs.
Rock climbing and abseiling
Secondary students will use off-site venues for full days and the on-site wall for half day sessions. A full day session enables a wider choice of venue including climbing by the sea. In inclement weather we may use a local indoor climbing wall.
Secondary students may visit Porth yr Ogof (which has miles of passages and so many options that even if you have visited before you will be challenged!), Ogof Clogwyn, Eglwys Faen, Ogof y Ci, Little Neath River Cave, White Lady Cave or Ogof Pasg. Depending on the venue there is an option to include an element of climbing or abseiling in the cave with secondary groups.
The Brecon Beacons National Park was created to protect the mountain scenery, and we are ideally positioned to explore this National Park. Our local mountains include Pen y Fan (the highest mountain in southern Britain), Corn Du, the Black Mountains, Carmathan Black Mountain– the pupils get a great sense of achievement no matter which one they climb.
They will travel through woodland, farmland and over mountain and moorland seeing springs, streams, rivers, wildlife and plenty of sheep (in summer anyway). There are opportunities for map reading/route finding, and learning opportunities in geography (e.g. land use, geology), science (e.g. habitats, rocks) and history (old hill forts and changing ways of life) as well as working together as a team to ensure everyone completes the journey.
The highest mountains require a full day to climb, but there are half day options too.
Climb, scramble, slide, jump, swim; different ways to overcome the challenges but one thing is certain, you will get wet!
Use your brain and your legs to navigate your way around the course. We have a variety of courses to suit all abilities: in the garden, Pendarren Park , our local Bluebell Wood, a mountain top course and indoors for the wet evenings.
The high ropes tower has 6 challenges and is used for half day sessions. Students will take turns to undertake the challenges in small groups whilst their colleagues hold the ropes. The challenges are graded so those students who visited in primary school will face new and exciting challeges if they return in secondary school.
A series of challenges designed to get you working as a team, with a final challenge that brings the different teams together.
Build your own shelter, light a fire without matches, discover wild food, learn how to safely use a knife. A half or full day session.
Pony trekking/horse riding
Pony trekking can be arranged through another provider, there is an extra charge for this which is payable in advance. Over the session students are shown how to care for and prepare their pony, and how to control their pony. Each activity group must be accompanied by a visiting member of staff who is required to ride. Please note there are restrictions on who can ride – currently anyone over 15 stone and 6 foot will be unable to ride. Visiting staff might therefore need to swop around on activities to ensure the duty of care to their group is maintained
Pendarren is well resourced to offer a camping experience which can be part of a walking or canoeing expedition. The Brecon Beacons offer lots of scope for a mountain walks with an overnight camp in the mountains. The River Wye has over 100 miles of navigable river suitable for canoes and is ideal for multiday journeys with camping on the river bank.
Pendarren is a DofE Approved Activity Provider and offers expedition training, practice and qualifying expeditions at all levels of the Award. We now have a good selection of equipment for expedition groups.
There is a wealth of natural resources that can be incorported into a programme for geography, biology, science, history, art, maths, english.
This include mountains, moorland, forest, waterfalls, rivers, streams, lakes, wildlife, coast (rocky and sandy shores), caves, archeology, industrial heritage, farms and rural communities.
As well as the natural environment there is a variety of heritage sites including Big Pit coal mine museum: includes an underground tour of a coal mine. It is part of a World Heritage site along with some of the earliest blast furnaces in Britain. Caerleon – the Romans: garrison, amphitheatre, barracks and baths. Castles: Over the centuries the Welsh and the English built many castles along the border to try and control the region. Welsh Folk Museum – St Fagans: This large site includes a variety of buildings and provides a fascinating insight into the customs and life-styles of the people of Wales through the ages.
Falconry The Falconry Centre brings the birds to Pendarren and displays the birds on the lawn at Pendarren House, the students are invited to participate. The birds include owls and hawks. There is a charge for this 1 hour session.
Storyteller Daniel Morden is our local storyteller, and is occasionally seen on stage in London and visiting schools in Haringey. For this 45 minute evening sesion there is a fee (which is currently subsidised by the Friends of Pendarren).