In celebration of an incredible 40 years delivering life changing adventures for young people, we’ve pulled together 40 interesting facts about Kingswood that you might not know.
From woolly mammoths to ‘Living Machines’, find out more about Kingswood in our top 40…
1. Kingswood first came about thanks to the Wiley family, who wanted a kids’ camp similar to those found in the US. They went on to create our sister company, Camp Beaumont. With Camp Beaumont only available during the school holidays, a teacher called wanting to bring a school group during term-time, and that was the starting point for creating Kingswood.
2. Staffordshire is the original Kingswood centre – happy 40th Staffs!
3. Since January 2022, children have shot approximately 854,460 arrows which would take a medieval archer 49.4 days to fire at a rate of 12 per minute.
4. In the board room at Grosvenor Hall, there are markings on the door showing children measuring their height as early as 1909.
5. Each year, we welcome thousands of National Citizen Service (NCS) students to help improve the life chances of young people.
6. Our North Devon centre is our newest Kingswood site and has an amazing ‘Ultimate Wipeout’ course!
7. Colomendy was first established as a site for evacuee children from Liverpool during World War Two.
8. Over the past year, we served just over 1m meals across our centres.
9. Since December 2021, we have taught 94,601 young people to set goals, help their friends and learn something positive about themselves.
10. At Dearne Valley, on average in a year, 8,478 cubic metres of waste water is processed by the living machine. A ‘Living Machine’ is an ecological sewerage treatment system (see fact 36).
11. If you laid out all the breakfast sausages served in 2022, it would stretch 32.2km.
12. We have four Kingswood centres in France that run immersive French and adventure experiences.
13. In 2015, we took part in The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s independent review of school residentials. The results confirmed that ‘a residential learning experience provides opportunities and benefits that cannot be achieved in any other educational context or setting.’
14. Over the past year, 6,000 nightline sessions were completed by guests. Nightline is a sensory exercise where students are blindfolded as they navigate their way together through mazes and obstacles.
15. Skills4Life is a new Kingswood programme that will be launching in September 2023, following a pilot course that takes place this spring. The 5-day course is designed to encourage 21st century skills in secondary school age groups and creates the perfect resilience-building environment.
16. Since December 2021, we taught 25,493 young people to light a fire safely with a ferro-cerium rod (fire striker).
17. In the space of a year, our guests zip wired approx. 7,500Km.
18. Our Staffordshire centre had a new abseil tower built in 2022 with our new ‘quick zip’ activity launching off the side of the tower. Over the past year we have invested £73k in new equipment at this site.
19. Grosvenor Hall used to be a training centre for the police and still has a few police cells.
20. Our Isle of Wight centre was once considered as a filming location for the Warner Bros’ Film, Kong: Skull Island, due to its wide open spaces and location, next to the Jurassic coast of Whitcliff Bay.
21. Green Park was initially created by Rothschild as an Arboretum, and is filled with beautiful and unique tree specimens.
22. The conference room at Staffordshire is called ‘The Pool Room’, as it used to house the swimming pool. You can hear an echo in a certain part of the room where the pool used to be.
23. The company was named after ‘Kingswood’, which is an area of woodland located next to our Staffordshire centre.
24. 552 campfires were lit in a year at our Staffordshire centre alone.
25. Grosvenor Hall was originally built in 1875 by a banker names James S. Burra. He originally called it Bockhanger Hall and used it as his residence.
26. In 2022, we launched the Kingswood Hardship Fund to make school trips accessible to every child. Find out more, here
27. Rumour has it there is a time capsule buried under Holkham accommodation at West Runton, which was buried when the block was built in October 1990.
28. Dearne Valley’s conference centre has the capacity for 170 delegates with 5 additional break out spaces. It also looks like the Teletubbies home from a distance as it has a grassed roof.
29. The remains of a woolly mammoth were discovered near our West Runton centre in 1990.
30. Well-known climate activist, Janet Barker, used to be an activity instructor at West Runton.
31. Dearne Valley was originally built as the UK’s Earth Centre, at a cost of £41.6million in 1995.
32. The majority of Kingswood centres are located in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
33. When swinging on the 3G swing and by going all the way to the top, you can experience ¼ of the G-Force an astronaut feels when they leave our atmosphere.
34. The BBC television series, ‘The Survivors’, was filmed at Dearne Valley in 2008 and 2009.
35. In 2018, the Mayor of Kent officially opened Grosvenor Hall’s new netball courts and sports grounds.
36. Dearne Valley is a completely environmentally sustainable centre with a number of ‘Living Machines’ on site (see fact 10), solar panels and wind power. It’s the ideal setting to teach about environmental impact.
37. Our Peak Venture centre is situated next door to the Peak District, and is lined with dramatic gritstone edges, wild heather and limestone.
38. Following demand for more water sports activities at Grosvenor Hall (other than in the swimming pool), we built a lake back in 2018 and now run paddle boarding, kayaking and more.
39. Dukeshouse Wood has a purpose built activity barn for indoor climbing and lasers.
40. The Tudor-style manor house, Overstrand Hall, was designed by historic architect, Edwin Lutyens, and is one of our prettiest centres.