The Sustainable Outdoor Learning in Devon Working Group

SOLID (Sustainable Outdoor Learning in Devon) – formerly DESWG (The Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group) – is made up of a large and diverse group of practitioners, from local government, schools, further and higher education institutions, NGOs to local communities.  All are committed to developing environmental awareness, stewardship and learning for sustainability within the formal and informal education sectors – you may even be one of them so please do get involved by emailing our Chair David Weatherly –

Next Meetings – all a 9.30am start:


  • February 5th – Paignton Zoo
  • April 26th – Slapton Ley FSC
  • June 11th – Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
  • September 27th – Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
  • December 6th – To be arranged



  • Jan 13th – Seaton Wetlands
  • Feb 11th – Growing Our Future, Okehampton College
  • April 19th – Occombe Farm,Torbay Countryside & Coast
  • June 14th – North Devon Biosphere
  • July 19th – POSTPONED
  • Sep 19th – South West Lakes Trust, Burrator Discovery Centre, Yelverton
  • Oct 18th – Paignton Zoo

To get more information about an event or to offer a venue to host an upcoming meeting, please email our Chair David Weatherly –

For those of you who simply want to see who can help you access the outdoors, a map and list is included below.

Why not look at where we all are: (full details below)

deswg activities 4

SOLID is committed to the principle of education being a transformative and socially critical process.  It takes the leading role in Devon in advising local authorities and supporting teachers and others to recognise the importance of environmental education and sustainability as a mechanism for lifelong learning, school improvement and personal empowerment.  In this context the group sees education for sustainability as a process which: 

deswg activities


Promotes understanding of local to global diversity  –  it enables people to understand the interdependence of all life on the planet and the repercussions that their actions and decisions may have both now and in the future on resources, on the global community as well as their local one; and on the physical and human environment.

Develops understanding of sustainable change – it increases people’s awareness of the economic, political, social, cultural, technological and environmental forces which foster or impede sustainable development.

Fosters active local and global citizenship – it develops people’s awareness, competence, attitudes and values enabling them to engage with deswg activities 2sustainable development strategies and plans at local, national and international levels; assisting them to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

Enables local school action – it provides children and young people, teachers, governors and the wider school community the confidence and ability to undertake activity which minimises the institution’s negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

SOLID seeks to provide a coherent and co-ordinated
framework of support across Devon for helping all achieve environmental awareness and sustainability development work.

Listed below are the members of SOLID, a brief overview of their areas of interest and support, together with contact details through websites and email addresses:

Details of SOLID members:

The Chair of SOLID and LNP Board member is David Weatherly, Associate Adviser for Education for Sustainability at Babcock Learning Development Partnership  


Beaford Arts, (Caroline Preston) – arts organisation with events, education and photographic archive that celebrate and respond to the inspiration of the environment through the arts: touring local, national and international artists and providing workshops.

Bicton College, (Catherine Taylor) – Bicton College is a leading land-based college set within an area of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of Devon. The grounds comprise 200 hectares of open parkland and rolling countryside; a majestic Georgian manor house overlooks the beautiful lake and sits alongside the latest in modern facilities and equipment.

Centre for Contempory Arts and the Natural World (CCANW), (Johanna Korndorfer)

Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, (Paul Warwick, Research Associate) We’re a leading, award winning university for sustainability – establishing ourselves as the sustainable university

Chris Holland – nature connection & creative outdoor learning (Chris Holland)

Clinton Devon Estates Our mission is: “to secure the long term prosperity of the Estates and the people who live and work on them in ways which care for the countryside and engage with the wider community”

Community Action South West, (Diana Lee) Community Action South West is a charitable organisation that offers a range of services aimed at young people and the communities in which they live.We currently have four main areas of work. These are alternative education, health and well being, youth and community work and we also run an outdoor activity in the Taw Valley. T

Cornish Mining World Heritage Sites, (Cornwall County Council – Karen Willows, World Heritage Site Officer)

Dartmoor National Park, (Orlando Rutter) – DNPA are fully established to assist all using Dartmoor for formal and informal educational purposes by direct provision and supply of advice and information on any aspects of Dartmoor – from natural to cultural heritage, different land uses (past and present), and the work of the National Park Authority itself.

Devon Development Education, (Sue Errington) – DDE exists to make Devon a more welcoming place for everyone – through promoting global citizenship, celebrating Fairtrade and embracing cultural diversity, in our schools and communities. Some  key projects include: Food for Thought which links to organic practices and Uganda;  Tree Power which supports teachers to inspire pupils about the local and global importance of trees and forests; Cultural Champions which gets Devon residents from other cultures or faiths to help improve global awareness and coordinating the work of Fairtrade Devon.

Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project (Helen Parr, Community Engagement Officer) This project aims to secure the future of this endangered species by engaging schools & communities, offering volunteer opportunities e.g. practical tasks, bat surveys, providing advice to farmers and landowners and through scientific study Tel: 01392 279244

Devon Community Composting Network (DCCN), (Nicky Scott, DCCN Coordinator) – DCCN has been helping set up community composting projects in Devon since 1995 working with schools and communities throughout Devon. DCCN has produced a number of publications about composting, which can be found at

Devon Maritime Forum, (Lou Hoskin, Devon Maritime Forum Coordinator) – The Devon Maritime Forum is an independent voluntary organisation that works to promote the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in Devon.

Devon Racial Equality Network, (Mohammed Patel) – PDREC is an independent and impartial registered charity working across Plymouth, Exeter and Devon to promote equality of opportunity and towards eliminating racial discrimination

Devon Waste Education Programme  (Devon County Councils Waste Education Team) – Bobby Hughes Senior Waste Management Officer Tel: 01392 383121) : Educating children is an essential part of Devon’s long term Waste & Resource Management Strategy, aiming to achieve a more sustainable future.  The Waste Education Team works with Resource Futures who have been delivering waste education work in Devon since 2008.  They provide visits to waste management facilities, curriculum linked workshops, waste audits & action planning.  Visit for more information

The Donkey Sanctuary (Carl Wholey, National Schools Programme Coordinator) The largest equine charity in the UK, seeking a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering, and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. Working in 30 countries worldwide and providing Sanctuaries for donkeys and mules in the UK. We provide: Educational visits for school, groups and colleges to our main site in Sidmouth, presentations, assemblies and sessions in schools, free curriculum resources  and links to 6 donkey assisted therapy centres across the UK.

Devon Wildlife Trust, (Paul Martin, Education Officer) –wildlife topics, practical, grounds development, visits, curriculum, enquiry, resources and training

East Devon District Council  (Tim Dafforn, Countryside Team Leader (People)) and (Meg Knowles, Penny Evans and Alex Turner Education Rangers) – We provide a vibrant mix of outreach and reserve based activities for schools, community groups and early years providers, using our network of local nature reserves, green spaces and flag ship sites of Cranbrook Country Park and Seaton Wetlands. Activities include rivers, animals, habitats, orienteering, forest schools, nature awareness along with wetlands sustainability. We are also leading on the Naturally Healthy Devon Schools Project in Exmouth working with primary schools to support greater use of the natural environment for learning.

Eden Project, (Bran Howell and Phil Waters) – The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future.Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.

Edwards and Eve Cob Building, (Kate Edwards and Charlotte Eve) – Cob building experts and teachers, supporting and educating people how to build their own cob houses or structures through courses and workshops for schools and people of all ages.

Energy Action Devon, (Tony Merrick) –

Exe Estuary Management Partnership, (Stephanie Clark, Exe Estuary Officer) – The Exe Estuary Management Partnership (EEMP) coordinates management of the estuary, on behalf of local authorities, government agencies and conservation bodies and provides a contact point for local communities of the estuary. The Partnership seeks to conserve and enhance the estuary’s special nature and promote sustainable economic and social activity by managing competing demands and addressing any conflicts as they arise, to ensure that interests and activities are harmonised.

Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership (David Rolls) – EMLP is a group of organisations, societies, the local authority, government agencies and voluntary bodies. The EMLP ’Heart of Exmoor’ scheme helps people to enjoy and appreciate moorland, and supports those who take care of it. We are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and local partners.

Exmoor National Park Authority Ben Totterdell –  Education and Interpretation  Manager  / Dave Gurnett –  Education and Outreach Officer. ENPA are committed to supporting exciting outdoor learning, using the unique landscape of Exmoor. We provide guidance, advice, structured visits and a wide range of online learning resources via our website www/ /learning

FACE (Farming and Countryside Education), (Paul Hillard) – We have over 80 partner membership organisations. All have a commitment to educational work associated with food, farming and the countryside. We are always keen to recruit more members, from any part of the sector, who share our aims and objectives and would like to work in partnership.

Fields Studies Council, (Andy Pratt) – an environmental education charity dedicated solely to providing informative and enjoyable opportunities for people to discover, explore, be inspired by, and understand the natural environment

Food for Life Polly has been Devon’s Local Programme Manager since 2012, supporting schools to transform school food culture and achieve their FFL award. She runs a training programme for schools, growing food in school, cooking, running school farmers markets, school Cooks Networks and works with deliver School Forum days about Outdoor Learning. Food for Life has been recommissioned by Public Health Devon for a fourth year.

ForestChi  provide a huge range of possible experiences with…….
An exciting program of events and workshops for individuals, one to one or small group sessions, tailor made workshops and happenings for groups e.g. schools/colleges, healthcare, team building, Training for private and public groups and individuals

Forest Inspirations, (Simon Shakespeare) –

Growing Devon’s Schools Partnership (GDSP)Supporting schools in Devon by: Creating training programs that inspire, share and empower.  Making connections between schools & local providers. Providing a hub to pass on relevant information on food & healthy eating.

Growing Sustainable Futures, (Roz Birch) – inspiring and empowering children and young people to invest in the sustainability of their communities

Jill Smallcombe

Jurassic Coast WHS, (Anjana Ford, Jurassic Coast WHS Learning and Participation Manager) –The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is a world-famous educational resource and is internationally renowned for showcasing 185 million years of Earth history in 95 miles of coastline through the rock exposures, fossils and landforms. Our teaching and learning programme is focused on creating innovative classroom resources, delivering high quality Teacher CPD and positioning ourselves as a strategic leader for outstanding and creative Earth Science education.

Mrs Recycle, (Cathy Karniewicz) –

National Marine Aquarium, (Nicola Murray) – The National Marine Aquarium is the charity dedicated to raising awareness of the oceans, the challenges they face and the ways in which we can all help ensure they have a sustainable future.

North Devon Biosphere Reserve, (Matt Edworthy, Outreach Coordinator) From the foothills of Exmoor to Hartland, Lundy Island to the mires of Dartmoor; The North Devon Biosphere exists to inspire a positive future by connecting people and nature. Our learning programme focuses on creating innovative, cross curricular classroom and outdoor resources using the local landscapes, wildlife, culture and communities as inspiration for our active learners.

Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust, (David Tilbury) –

OPAL (Open Air Laboratories), (Alison Smith) – The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability.

Outdoor Learning for Schools, (Andy Schindler) – Based in and running visits around Totnes, Outdoor Learning for Schools focuses on curriculum based fieldwork design, geo-resourcing and instruction throughout Devon. KS2 Geography development to practical investigations, GCSE Controlled Assessment and A-Level Fieldwork to suit all specifications.

Paignton Zoo, (Lisa Stroud, Head of Education) – animals, plants, forest school, video-links with overseas projects, teaching and training

Plymouth Ghana Link, (Peter Reid) –

Plymouth University, (Colin Trier)

Rebecca Morch

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Rosemoor, (Sarah Chesters, Education and Learning Manager) – 65 acres of glorious garden and woodland, formal and informal, in which we teach a  comprehensive programme of school workshops from pre-school to college years, drawing inspiration from the plants and gardens around us. Entrance to the garden and the workshops are FREE for schools.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), (Kate Osborne) – Exeter’s world-class museum has stunning new displays and galleries, fabulous exhibitions and modern amenities. The displays reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections. Exotic animals, birds and insects delight children and the world cultures galleries display stunning items from all over the world.

Resource Futures (RF): Devon Sustainability Educators (Demelza Annison) – RF has been delivering waste education in Devon since 2008. In September 2012 they were awarded the contract to run both the waste and the energy education programmes in Devon schools. Both are funded by Devon County Council and are therefore free to schools. Click on the links below to find out more:

Devon Waste Education Programme

Devon Energy Education Programme

Sea Green School Ilfracombe/Woolacombe (Kim Smith) – Outdoor education at the seaside! Connecting children and adults with nature through engaging outdoor learning in beautiful North Devon. School experiences and holiday times catered for to educate and engage with minimal impact and maximum enjoyment in a range of coastal locations.

The Sharpham Trust, (Julian Carnell, Director) – Connecting people with nature & themselves on a stunning 550-acre estate on the River Dart in South Devon, UK#

Skern Lodge Field Studies Centre (Tom Humphreys) –  An outdoor activity and development centre based in North Devon and established in 1976, Skern Lodge provides education, learning and fun through adventure.

Sustainable Schools Alliance – aims to provide a clear and compelling offer of support to all schools in the country, which will help them to put sustainability at the heart of what they do.

Sustainable Travel Team, Devon County Council, (John Davies, Sustainable Travel Officer; Colin Savage, Sustinable Travel Training Officer; or – working to provide and proote sustainable and safer travel options in Devon, including walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing.  More information at Travel Devon.

South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition – a network of over 130 organisations and individuals across the South West of England that share expertise in sustainable development, education and learning, and understand that learning, viewed broadly, is crucial to the development of a sustainable South West. Our three key aims are: 1. Developing a coherent framework within which ESD initiatives and services can be located, 2. Pro-actively sharing ideas and experiences across the region and with other regions, 3.Giving the ESD movement a ‘voice’, a sense of solidarity and a stronger means of influencing policy makers and those who monitor and fund learning

Transition Tours Totnes – Futurebound (Hal Gilmore Transition Tours contact) High quality study programmes delivering relevant, effective learning and powerful
engagement for a changing world. Working in partnership with local professionals to provide well crafted trips for schools and groups.

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust – residential centre, school visits, curriculum, enquiry, resources, adult training and environmental education

Wembworthy Outdoor Centre

Wembury Marine Centre, (Catherine Ridout) – Wembury and the surrounding coastline form a Marine Conservation Area (MCA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These go some way to shielding it from the human pressures. Wembury Marine Centre is the ideal place to learn about the surrounding area and its wildlife through interactive displays, tanks, regular Rockpool Rambles and other marine themed events. The Centre also explains the part you can play in keeping Wembury special.

Wildwise, (Chris Salisbury and Rebeh Furze) – The challenging and creative opportunities we offer expand individual, family and corporate understanding of the value and meaning of our relationship to the natural world. Events are held in inspiring and beautiful Devon locations that are teeming with wildlife.

Make use of the experts in your area!


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