Outdoor Activities for Schools

The great outdoors provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn, grow and have fun. We specialise in outdoor activities for schools, from watersports, camping trips and outdoor team activities. Our experienced instructors prioritise safety while encouraging children to step out of their comfort zones, work together and explore the wonders of nature.

Camps and Outdoor Activity Events for Schools

Canoe Trail runs single events to multi-activity school days covering a wide range of outdoor activities including team challenges, bushcraft, canoeing and kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, high ropes course, indoor climbing, archery, hiking and bushcraft.

School activity days can be tailored to the requirements of 200+ pupils to a small group of 20 students. We can host staff for team-building events, themed events such as celebrations, enrichment or curriculum-based learning e.g. citizen science, geography or development of life skills.

Outdoor Learning Activities

Take your learning outside with these fun and engaging outdoor learning activities!


We have a large fleet of canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and equipment. An exhilarating way for students to develop confidence, resilience and teamwork skills on the water.

High Ropes

The perfect way to challenge students both physically and mentally, while fostering teamwork, communication and leadership skills in a thrilling and safe outdoor environment.

Navigation & Map Reading

Map reading not only improves students' spatial awareness and navigation abilities but also teaches them critical problem-solving and decision-making skills.


Woodland camping is a way for students to disconnect from technology and immerse themselves in nature while creating lasting memories and deepening their appreciation for the environment.


A unique and exciting activity that challenges students' focus, concentration, and coordination while teaching them patience, discipline and a sense of accomplishment, making it a perfect addition to any school's outdoor learning program.

Indoor climbing

Indoor climbing provides a fun and engaging way for students to develop strength, endurance, and problem-solving skills while building confidence and encouraging teamwork in a safe and controlled environment.


An opportunity for students to learn essential survival skills such as fire-making, and shelter-building while fostering their creativity, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills in an empowering outdoor setting.

Giant SUP

Our giant stand-up paddleboard is a fun way for students to build teamwork and communication skills while exploring the water and enjoying a thrilling outdoor adventure that they'll never forget.

Our Venues

Activities can be run at school sites, our private woodland on the banks of the River Great Ouse, Bedford Embankment or from our base at Kempston Outdoor Centre, also on the river.

Kempston Outdoor Centre

Kempston Outdoor Centre is a brilliant outdoor centre based on the banks of the River Great Ouse near Bedford. It links to our site on the Embankment and through to our woodland via the river corridor. The centre has male and female changing rooms, an outdoor classroom option, an indoor classroom and wifi around the buildings. We also have a simple kitchen, a wood-fired pizza oven and of course, campfire cooking for snacks and lunch options.

The centre is home to our large fleet of canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards as well as a designated bushcraft area, range area with air guns, axe throwing and archery. The main field area has a high ropes course with leap of faith, all aboard, Jacobs ladder, and the outdoor climbing wall with abseil tower.

Finally the centre has access to our slipway on the river with great nature trails and walking areas to explore the local area showing navigation, foraging and observing nature.

Matchstick Woods

Matchstick Wood is a great location to share outdoor learning with schools for a day trip, overnight camp or school activity day. The woodland has been featured in many national magazines and media including Outdoor Adventure Guide, Red Bull Magazine, National Trust Slow Adventures Book, Lonely Planet, Paddler and Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine.

Original a test woodland for Bryant and May Matchstick company the woodland is a perfect blend of wilderness with easy accessibility for students and school trips. The groups can walk or paddle into the woodland and set up base under the watchful eye of Canoe Trail’s professional instructor team.

Our riverside woodland is perfect for canoe and camp activities and was voted Top 52 Things to Do in the World by Lonely Planet and Top 3 UK Destinations for SUP Adventures by Red Bull Magazine. Matchstick Wood is a perfect location for paddling, bushcraft activities such as shelter building, campcraft, wild swimming and watersports. Matchstick wood has composting toilets and campfire clearings with plenty of space for tipi tents and shelters.

Multi Day Activity Packages

A Multi-Day Activity Package is a comprehensive program that typically ranges from two to four days, depending on the event and available budget. By participating in a multi-day program, participants can enjoy a diverse range of activities that will challenge them physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Paddle and Camp

Many schools are choosing our paddle and camp options to give students a taste of adventure. Starting upstream from our centre or alternative locations the students paddle to our private woodland, make camp, enjoy re-wilding (bushcraft, wild swimming and more) and then paddle on to Great Barford with a shuttle or paddle back to centre on day two. The Paddle and Camp format can be tweaked to include:

  • Tracking games
  • Shelter building
  • Team challenges
  • Campfire cooking
  • Bushcraft activities
  • Wild Swimming session

We can offer a paddle and camp option at our centre as well for introducing camping in centre with full facilities including showers and changing rooms.

Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

Canoe Trail have run D of E expeditions, walking and paddling as well as presenting the awards at the Palaces. We offer Bronze, Silver and Gold Expeditions choosing iconic and inspiring locations to make the training and assessment memorable. Local expeds use our private woodland & Orchard End Farm Sites for some Bronze & Silver elements.

We tailor the training and qualifying expeditions to support students to get the most from their D of E experience. Structured training for the modern D of E includes first aid training, rescue skills for paddling, campcraft including camp cooking and tent pitching, and of course navigation using map and compass and learning to read the land and water features.

We often provide an in school talk to students, pupils and parents to explain how the expedition element of the award works. We can also provide tents, sleeping bags and rucksacks as a hire option for students.

Contact Us

Contact our experienced and qualified team today for the opportunity to inspire, challenge and empower your students through outdoor learning!
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Type in the numbers (required)
Invalid Input

Safety & Governance

The DNA of Canoe Trail is built on Adventures, with the team completing a wide range of expeditions around the world showcasing our company values of Be Safe, Have Fun & Share Learning.

Experienced and Accredited Outdoor Instructors

Canoe Trail is an approved activity provider for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Combined Cadet Force as well as many Scout and charity groups. We hold a number of quality assurance and safety accreditations including Gold Delivery Partner for British Canoeing, Adventure Activity Licensing Authority certification for programmes in more challenging environments and the Learning Outside the Classroom certification for progressive sessions.

Our staff are experienced and professional outdoor instructors holding a wide range of National Governing Body (NGB) qualifications and DBS check. In fact, we are also trainers for NGB qualifications showing our depth of knowledge and experience.

Frequently Asked Questions - Schools

What are outdoor learning activities?

Outdoor learning activities refer to educational experiences that take place outside the traditional classroom setting, often in natural environments such as parks, forests, or gardens. These activities can include environmental studies, outdoor recreation, team building, and other experiential learning opportunities.

What are some examples of outdoor recreational activities?

There are many outdoor recreational activities that young people can enjoy. Here are some examples: Hiking and nature walks, camping and backpacking, swimming and water sports, rock climbing and bouldering, wildlife watching and birding and adventure courses.

What is the best outdoor activity for kids?

There are many great outdoor activities for kids, but the best one will depend on factors such as age, interests, and physical abilities. Some popular options include hiking, camping, nature walks, canoeing, and team sports. Ultimately, the best outdoor activity for kids is one that is safe, fun, and engaging, and that helps them connect with nature and develop important skills and values.

How can activities outside the classroom benefit students?

Activities outside the classroom provide many benefits to students. They can:

  • Enhance learning experiences by providing hands-on and interactive opportunities.
  • Offer exposure to new places, cultures, and experiences that can broaden students' perspectives and understanding of the world.
  • Foster social skills, teamwork, and communication skills.
  • Promote physical health and wellness through outdoor activities and exercise.
  • Encourage personal growth and development, including leadership skills and self-confidence.
  • Help students discover new interests and talents beyond the traditional classroom setting.
  • Make learning more engaging and fun, which can lead to better academic performance and higher retention of knowledge.
We value relationships

Join Our Newsletter