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Bristol Holiday Club Stream Walk

After exploring and mapping Oldbury Court/Vassalls Park in order to create an orienteering course for a local school, Rowan discovered a massive amount of fun hidden away from the main paths. Aside from the stream containing tunnels and small waterfalls, there are a multitude of boulders to scamble on, steep slopes to slide down, fallen trees to test out ones ballance and the perfect place to erect a MEGA rope swing. 



This trip has evolved over time and can be adapted according to the age, inclination and ability of the group. Rowan is the only person who will lead these sessions, using his intimate knowledge of the estate and drawing on his experience - in a former life - running outdoor activities including bouldering. He will always have an experienced assistant alongside. 

Throughout the day, we offer up a variety of obstacles to tackle, but will always offer an easy route for those who don't fancy a particular offering. Sign in is at the impressive Oldbury Court Playground and whilst we are waiting for everyone to arrive, the children have some supervised playground fun.



We begin by descending into the wilds either down an easy path or a series of slopes/slides, arriving at a natural arch above the river. There is then an opportunity to traverse (french for sideways) some low rocks until you come to the 'Rock of Decision'! Do you go up and do a big jump, or go below? After the option of another easy climb of a few metres, we wind our way to a fun chicane where you descend to the river. Sometimes the children roll their bags down first for a bit of competitive bowling (the less rigid but tightly packed bags are recommended for this game!) After a snack (we use wet wipes for hand wash), if the log is dry, the children can balance along an huge fallen tree and jump off the end. We then meander through the woods until we arrive at our lunch stop where Rowan rigs up the MEGA swing. We cannot trust the excisting rope left up there so bring our own fancy one.



After lunch there may be time for a few extra climbs up tree roots, or a squelch through a bog (if it's had any rain). We then ascend back out onto a big field and lark about/rest whilst gradually heading to the start of the stream,which is through a metre wide culvert which sometimes houses some giant moths. For those not keen on wet feet, there is an easy path alongside. At the end of the culvert is a wee waterfall which you can descend in a dry or a wet way. The stream then gets too boggy, so we skirt around the bogs and drop back into the stream under a bridge before descending some little drops which can be quite exciting if the stream is pumping. We will always have eyeballs on the children. As a group we paddle down the stream/walk alongside it until we hit a bridge by the river. There are 2 small tunnels here which the nuttier children like to crawl through and then we are at the river! The end of the trip.



At this point, some of the children inevitably splash about in the shallows whilst I shout warnings if they are getting too deep/splashing folk who don't want splashing/bothering the ducks etc etc. The next stage is my least favourite: Helping the wet ones with removing wet garments and then trying to put dry socks on damp feet whilst trying to avoid the mud. I do prefer it when the children don't have to change but preventing fun so that my life is easier, seems uncharitable!



Finally we walk up the hill, usually pretty exhausted, wet, mucky and safe in the knowledge that we've had some fantastic experiences. 

This is a big day, with heaps of adventure and a fair bit of walking. There is always an easy route and we certainly won't push any child into attempting something they don't want to. We will always 'spot' the children on any obstacles and are trained in doing so. This is a different experience to our St Andrew's Park Holiday club and numbers are limited for reasons of safety. It is a firm favourite of many that come and certainly enjoyed by us guys. We do not offer this in February Half Term due to the potentially frigid conditions but it is otherwise always available during other holidays.

Please ensure children bring a rucksack to carry their food, drink, change of clothes etc so that they have their hands free for scrambling. A change of clothes is not essential but advisable. The wet bit is right at the end so that any wet feet don't stay wet all day. The best bet is to bring some footwear they can get wet rather than tramp around with wellies on all day long.

We have had 5 year olds along on this trip who have been fine.....but it is a fair old way for such small legs. If you are booking a wee one, best off if they have heaps of energy and love an adventure.