Activities

MonOutdoor Adventure activities are fantastic fun – and they help build self-esteem and self-confidence too. Try something you’ve never done before and you’ll come away with a real sense of achievement.

MonOutdoor Adventure offers a wide variety of activities, including:

Canoeing and kayaking

Our two centres in Monmouthshire are ideally placed for water-based MonOutdoor Adventure activities. 

Hilston Park is near Monmouth and the River Wye, which offers some of the best touring canoeing in the UK including the spectacular giant meander below Symonds Yat viewpoint.

Gilwern is a stone’s throw from the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal for half day or full day trips of a more gentle kind. There are places to stop off for lunch and plenty of wildlife to spot along the way. The River Usk runs close to the Gilwern site with some fantastic grade 2 and 3 white water sections. Aberbran to Brecon and Tal y Bont to Llangynidr provide two excellent days on the water.

We use open canoes, kayaks and sit-on tops on the rivers and canal. Wearing buoyancy aids is standard practice, so swimming ability is not critical.

Of course, water sports doesn’t just mean canoeing. Our experienced leaders can organise raft building, too, which is a great team challenge. Using only barrels, wooden poles, rope and your ingenuity your team can design and build a craft to transport you-ideally staying as dry as you can! 

Climbing, abseiling and gorge scrambling page

Our centres are well placed for rock climbing and gorge scrambling adventures. The Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons are right in our back yard.

Our Gilwern and Hilston centres both have large on site high ropes climbing courses. These provide a wide variety of vertical challenges including a 10m high climbing wall, crate stack, single person and double team leap of faith, pole climb, Jacobs ladder and zip line. 

Cave and mine exploration page

South Wales has some of the finest caves found anywhere in the UK. Big, small, wet, dry: the challenge is always changing.

Caving is the one activity that usually takes people into a totally new environment. For many this environment is initially very intimidating.

Worries about getting stuck in a small, dark, wet space are imagined. The reality is very different. Caves are certainly dark but modern lighting ensures finding you way is straightforward. There can be small gaps but our experienced staff know how to find the right level of challenge and there are usually a number of routes around the cave.

The Gilwern centre is close to the Clydach gorge and Llangattock escarpment with good caving only a short drive away. Hilston is better suited to exploring the caves and old mine workings found throughout the Forest of Dean.

Forest School activities – sub page continued

We can accommodate Forest Schools groups and environmental studies groups who can take advantage of woodland areas at our centres as well as in the wider Brecon Beacons National Park.

At Gilwern, we have our own woodland where you can make campfires, build shelters, practice bush craft skills, light a fire using only friction and create art in the great outdoors.

We also have a number of forests on our doorstep, which are great for off-road cycling and orienteering. There are cycle trails along the canal towpath and the Forest of Dean is a stone’s throw from Hilston Park.

Mountain biking & trail-riding page

Our centres in are well placed to offer a variety of mountain biking and cycling opportunities. Bikes and helmets can be are provided or hired locally.

There are easy rides along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal near Gilwern as well as hard-packed routes in the Brecon Beacons like the Taff Trail. The Forest of Dean, nearest to our Hilston Park centre, offers off-road trails varying in length to suit all abilities.

Hillwalking

Our two centres are in or on the edge of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons National Park, which offers some of the best hillwalking in the UK. There are walks to suit all abilities, from short trails in the foothills to long mountain treks.

From Gilwern, the Black Mountains are nearby – you may be tempted to take in ‘Table Mountain’ (Crug Hywel) or the three peaks in view, the Sugar Loaf, Blorenge and Skirrid.

Hilston Park is ideally placed to access the eastern Black Mountains. Llanthony Abbey and the Black Hill are both popular starting points for hill walks. The Wye valley walk and Offa’s Dyke pass close by and can offer lower level routes in spectacular scenery.

There is a lot to learn whilst in the hills: map reading, geology, industrial history, land use, flora and fauna, and simply enjoying the wide-open spaces to roam, refreshingly well away from the nearest Wi-Fi hot spot.

Orienteering

Orienteering is a navigation challenge using a special map to find marker points. At the elite level, the map is complex, the terrain rugged and competitors aim to run as fast as possible without making too many mistakes. At the novice level, the pace is much more gentle! We have courses that are suitable for all abilities from year 4 right up to GSCE (and beyond).

We can also provide training and assessment for the National Navigation Award Scheme and Young Navigator Star Awards. These progressive schemes is suitable for younger children just starting to learn about finding their way or adults who would like to learn new skills or hone rusty ones! Duke of Edinburgh Award groups would also find the NNAS very good training for their expedition section. 

We can also help schools to get their own site mapped and provide teacher training for both primary and secondary staff.

Indoor activities – sub page continued

Hilston Park and Gilwern have facilities, which are ideal for adult workshops and conferences. At Hilston, there is also a library and 40-seat classroom in addition to the 25-seat conference room.

Gilwern has an extra fun facility that many groups make use of – an indoor climbing and bouldering wall. The climbing zone is available for hire independently by youth groups and others (please use the contact form to ask about this)

Both sites provide free Wi-Fi.

Educational facilities

We have a range of specialist equipment for field study groups – we often accommodate groups of A level students studying geography, biology or geology. Teachers and students can take advantage of indoor classroom facilities after carrying out their outdoor experiments and educational visits.

Why not combine a visit to our centres to study art, music, English or drama in a relaxed group environment where you can also take advantage of stimulating outdoor adventures, too?