Govilon Activity Centre
The centre is ideally located at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, in the shadow of the Black Mountains, with the Wye Valley and Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal on the doorstep.
Govilon Activity Centre is the perfect base for your school to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. We offer a wealth of exciting and challenging activities, adapted to suit all ages and abilities. Our highly experienced instructors will provide expert tuition and all specialist equipment to ensure a safe, exciting and memorable visit.
Why book Govilon Activity Centre for Residential School Trips and Educational Visits?
Our aim is to provide the children and adults visiting us with a safe, educational and enjoyable experience. We use a variety of traditional Outdoor Education methods and couple these with the residential experiences of living and working together in close proximity.
Our approach is non-confrontational, friendly and supportive. Participants aren't pushed into any situation with which they are uncomfortable. Each activity or challenge is explained and agreed in advance and anyone may opt out. We aim to encourage young people to challenge themselves and reach goals they could not imagine possible.
Which Curriculum Subjects do you cater for?
Curriculum topics available: Water cycles, Rivers, Mountains, Environment, Coasts and seaside.
The South Wales area is littered with key examples of interesting geographical features. Our mountains, caves and river systems, offer unique learning opportunities, by means of first-hand exploration, adventure and discussion.
The South Wales area is littered with key examples of interesting geological features. Our mountains, caves and river systems, offer unique learning opportunities, by means of first-hand exploration, adventure and discussion.
As an optional element of the GCSE PE curriculum, schools often book us to run rock climbing programmes, as an assessed individual sport. This counts towards the overall GCSE PE grade.
We offer bush craft as a short, introductory component as part of a multi-activity programme. Alternatively, we can offer a full, bush craft experience, to bring students right up to an advanced level.
What size groups do you cater for?
The newly refurbished centre offers warm, comfortable, homely and affordable accommodation, in a charming old Victorian building.
The centre can accommodate up to 60 visitors with a variety of sleeping options including twin rooms, 3 rooms of 6 and 3 rooms of 18.
Is there first aid on site?
Yes, all centre staff are fully first aid qualified.
Do you offer access for visitors with disabilities?
Yes. Our ground floor bedrooms and the newly-refurbished toilets and shower/washroom facilities at either end of the building are all fully accessible.
Do you cater for visitors with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?
Yes, we have run programmes for all manner of children and adults with SEN, for many years.
Rather than selling a package off the shelf, each course is designed in consultation with the lead teacher, EVC or headteacher allowing us to tailor each course individually.
Reviews from Schools visiting Govilon Activity Centre!
"I have just returned from our residential at Govilon with 38 year 4, 5 and 6 pupils. Over the years I have organised and led many residentials using various organisations and I can honestly say that this has been the best experience by far. We chose the centre for many reasons, but mainly the exclusive use and for children to experience challenges in real locations such as mountains, rivers and caves. We were not disappointed! The staff at Govilon are outstanding and strive to ensure the children, and staff, learn new skills, are challenged and are given memories they will never forget. The family feel at the centre is evident from the moment you arrive and staff strive to get to know the children, not just by name but by their personal qualities. The centre is fantastically equipped, warm and clean and there are no words to describe how wonderful the food is! The lack of wastage from our children over the week was evidence of this!
We were lucky enough to arrive for the wettest week in May which gave children challenges that many had not faced before! The equipment available at the centre was exceptional and all children (and staff) were waterproofed from head to toe! Nick constantly reviewed the timetable in consultation with staff to ensure activities were appropriate for the weather and safety of the group. The activities at Govilon are planned to challenge, tire out and involve all children through the whole session - a real difference to previous centres where children had excessive amounts of down time or spent a great deal of time waiting their turn to have a go on an activity. For most of our pupils each activity was a new experience in a location they had never visited before. The canoeing, caving, mountain walk, waterfall walk, orienteering and bush craft, in remote and often wild locations, are the real asset of a visit to this centre. We finished our week with a trip to Big Pit which gave the children history of the area and a fantastic underground encounter. The trip was organised by Govilon and ran like clockwork. There is no doubt that we will be rebooking Govilon for our next residential and I can’t recommend it enough.
Katie Warwick - Assistant Head Wilby CE VA Primary School
"As a small school we couldn't have wished for anything more for our Year 6 camp. The centre was well equipped and our every need was catered for. The instructors were good fun and incredibly professional - nothing was too much trouble, even trying to squash me through a cave!! Having previously taken a mixed Year 4/5 group we were amazed at the wide variety of activities on offer and were thrilled that all children, regardless of ability were encouraged to try a wide range of things. The food was amazing and all of the children were well catered for. We will be back next year for even more fun! "
Miss Emma Allen Iron Acton C of E Primary School
"This was our very first trip to Govilon, and I have to say what a truly fantastic time we had! The location, accommodation and facilities are all first-rate, everything planned and organised to perfection. Their biggest strength however is the staff, from Nick the manager, all of the superb and knowledgeable instructors, Jon in the office, to the fantastically warm and welcoming ladies in the kitchen. They made us all feel right at home from the first minute, putting all of the pupils (and staff!) instantly at ease, enabling them to enjoy every second of the experience. The food was all delicious and filling, and the ladies could not do enough to make sure everyone was happy and well fed. We will definitely be back first chance we get, and I would thoroughly recommend it for any school looking for a engaging, adventurous, exciting, yet completely stress-free residential trip."
Mark Adkins Barby Primary School
"This was our first time to Govilon and we had a fantastic time. The staff were brilliant and very knowledgeable about all the activities and the environment. The food was superb with friendly and helpful staff.
The children loved all of the outdoor activitues; particularly the waterfall walks, caving and canoeing, the children loved being outdoors with real activities as opposed to man made activity centres.
In facts quotes from the children were that it had been the best trip they had done. I would highly recommend it to others due to the enjoyment my Year 5 and 6 had."
Fiona Barber Manorfield Primary School
"Our school has been bringing children to the centre for years but this was my first experience of going. I was truly amazed by how good for the children (and staff!) the trip was. I have a wide range of needs and abilities in my class and all were catered for well by the the excellent instructors and staff. The children moved on so much in just the four days we were there, gaining confidence and independence, the like of which couldn't be emulated in a class room.
The school staff who attended were included in all decisions about the planned activities with the centre team and at all times we felt that the children were safe and in very capable hands. Nick, the centre manager was brilliant and nothing was ever too much trouble. Likewise, all staff were very welcoming and the instructors were amazing, encouraging children to achieve their best but knowing exactly when and where to push the children.
The centre facilities are great, clean, tidy and in a beautiful area. It is a well oiled machine that has everything that is needed to make a great residential. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and now strongly believe that every child should have this opportunity. I can't wait to go back next year!"
Michelle Evans, Assistant Principal St.Mary's C of E Primary Academy, Burton Latimer
"I am a teacher and EVC at Millbrook Junior School in Kettering. We have been bringing groups of year four children here for the last 9 years. This year, for the first time in June, we will also bring three year six groups who will follow a development programme in readiness for secondary school.
‘The Govilon experience’ is quite simply a fantastic opportunity for children and I would highly recommend the Centre, staff and courses offered. Our year four children have demonstrated over the years that they gained enormously in both confidence and independence. The children are encouraged to leave their comfort zones through taking part in ‘challenge by choice’ activities. They grow and broaden their life experiences; they learn to work as part of a team and accept responsibility.
The accommodation at the Centre has in the last few years have been thoroughly modernised and is homely, clean and comfortable – the bathroom facilities are excellent. The food is fabulous and the service from the ladies in the kitchen is wonderful. The staff are brilliant at catering for special diets or other dietary requirements. The children, school staff and centre staff work, eat and socialise together. This results in excellent working relationships all round. What works so well is that every child gets whatever attention they need from the staff. They soon know the Govilon staff and the staff soon learn all the names of the children. The children develop independence in many ways: They clear away their own plates after meal times; make their own beds and are responsible for their own equipment. There is an excellent working relationship between all the adults and pupils.”
Our year four course includes: hill walking, Govilon night walk, caving, gorge/waterfall walk (my personal favourite!), bush craft, orienteering, swimming and a visit to a local mining museum (Big Pit).
Teachers are also encouraged to participate in activities (by choice) and overcome personal fears as this models a positive attitude for the children. The instructors there are excellent and make the visit a non-threatening experience. The great thing is that the instructors provide support, guidance and use their reasoning skills with the children (and adults) to help everyone fulfil his or her potential. The instructors are there to talk through each step of the activity. Teamwork is the key and an anxious child often gains confidence to the extent that they go on to lead the way in subsequent challenges.
Govilon is ultimately about the whole child and not just about offering an exciting a school residential trip. Although ‘exciting’ definitely comes with the territory, it is about so much more than that. It is a unique learning experience outside the classroom; whether it is being in the woods or learning bush craft skills, every child definitely matters. They all receive individual attention from instructors and residential staff. It’s a small, intimate centre and the children benefit from this aspect. It is very friendly and homely. Our children leave Govilon after just four days with greater independence, increased confidence; broader life experience and skills in leadership and teamwork. Most importantly, they leave with lasting memories. A FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Julia Curtis Millbrook Junior Schol
"I have organised two trips to Govilon Activity Centre whilst lecturing at a previous College in 2012 and 2013. The hospitality, warmth and stunning environment was outstanding on both occasions. Also the food was FAB! The various activities we undertook during our week long stays we delivered by very well qualified and enthusiastic staff. Safety was paramount but that didn't detract from the great fun we had during the day and evening at the Centre. Nick the centre Manager is a fantastic host and nothing is too much trouble (even when we got lost on the Sugar Loaf!) I cannot recommend this centre highly enough and although I now run UPS courses a long way from South Wales "I will be back""
Mike Panting Askham Bryan College York
"Govilon Activity Centre is an excellent venue for our OOA week. We took 26 BTEC Students with us, who were in year 10, aged 13/14. The very experienced Centre staff are caring, friendly and welcoming to us all. The canteen staff were lovely, the instructors were excellent and the overall quality of the centre was clean and tidy. They worked tirelessly to ensure we had a truly memorable and enjoyable time. The ethos of the centre encourages participation without pressure and promotes a collaborative approach to achieving goals. The Centre manager, Nick, was absolutely brilliant. We discussed changing our plan during the week, and Nick and his staff could not do enough for us and catered to our needs. The communication received before, during and after our trip was first class. I can not recommend Govilon highly enough. We will certainly be visiting again. "
Gavin Taylor Montsaye Academy
"Location: The Robert Jeffery Centre is located a small village Called Govilon which is safe, quiet, has local amenities and friendly locals, who are very welcoming to a coach load of school groups. The location is superb, everything you need in the village but surrounded by absolutely beautiful countryside and rolling hills.
Accommodation: The old school building has recently been refurbished which provides excellent shower rooms and toilets and bedrooms for pupils and staff. The large communal area is where everyone sits to eat and to be bale to meet and discuss the days events in a relaxed homely manner. All staff who have attended Govilon Centre agree it is a bonus that the centre only accommodates one school at one time, making the stay more personal to use and attentions entirely on our pupils enjoying their stay.
Food: AMAZING!!! We were extremely well feed during our stay with good home cooked food. It is never an issue for the Cooks to accommodate any allergies. Breakfast consisted of cereal, fruit followed by a cooked breakfast, packed lunch and home cooked meal at night. The kitchen staff ensure they know all the students by name and know exactly what they do and don't like. Best of all staff tend to get offered seconds and the cheesecake is amazing!!!!!
Activities: We have always enjoyed the range of activities provided at the centre. They cover canoeing, caving, gorge walking, climbing, team building, abseiling and horse riding and more. The activities are always exciting, challenging, fun, creative and safe.
Staff and instructors
These are without doubt what make the trip. They provide so much support and encouragement. Nothing is ever too much trouble. The pupils achieve so much and discover qualities and characteristics they didn't realise they had. Their confidence and social skills grow because of help and guidance they receive from staff. All the instructors have so much experience and knowledge, and they can accommodate to any ability group and behaviour.
THEY ARE ALL FANTASTIC!!! "
Mrs H Davies Southfield School
Govilon Activity Centre is an excellent venue for our school camps. We take children from Year 4 to Year 6. The very experienced Centre staff are caring, friendly and welcoming to us all. They work tirelessly to ensure we have a truly memorable and enjoyable time.
The ethos of the centre encourages participation without pressure and promotes a collaborative approach to achieving goals. The Centre manager, Nick, is keen to negotiate a programme of varied activities best suited to our needs.
John Kemp - teacher"
John Kemp Iron Acton CEVC Primary School
"A number of reasons set Govilon Activity Centre apart as an outstanding provider of adventure education.
I have been fortunate to visit Govilon with two different schools: Avondale Junior School, as it was formerly known, and, more recently, as a teacher with Bishop Stopford School in Kettering. The experience for students in both key stages two and three is exceptional.
The staff at Govilon understand and embrace the rationale and objectives of adventure. Through a safe and exciting activity programme, students are guided to recognise their growth as individuals and development as a team. Over many years of visits, I have been consistently impressed with the level of care that students recieve, both inside the centre and outward bound, and by the way that staff nuance their support for individuals. Staff manage to blend what is memorable and what is meaningful, but it is the meaning of their programmes that makes Govilon successful.
Long after visits to Govilon have concluded, students speak affectionately and with understanding about their time spent on the climbing wall or the river, in the cave or atop the mountain. It has always been my view that education should provide children with opportunities to learn more about themselves. A curriculum that includes adventure, taking students outdoors and away from the classroom, does just that.
Govilon Activity Centre excels with young people; this review comes with my high recommendation."
Paul Wareham, Teacher Bishop Stopford School, Kettering
"For around 10 years (since the school opened), Hall Meadow have taken our children to Govilon Activity Centre, thanks to its fantastic staff, lovely facilities and amazing activities.
I began my role as the Year 6 teacher, Deputy Head Teacher and EVC co-ordinator just over a year ago, and as part of this I was to arrange the residentials. Having heard such brilliant things about the Centre, I decided our Year 6 children would continue to go there. I was not disappointed! The excellent experience I had began months before my first trip where I had regular contact with the Centre Manager Nick. He was so supportive and really helped with the planning and organisation, as he knew I hadn't done this before. I regularly had to send emails with lists of questions which he responded to quickly (and patiently).
The class that we took had a wide variety of needs that the Centre managed brilliantly. They were so respectful and kind to the children which had a lasting impact for the whole year in relation to their self-esteem and confidence.
The accommodation is fantastic for both the children and staff and it is comfortable and clean. An amazing selling point is that we were the only school on site, which is brilliant in terms of child protection and allows staff to feel safe and relaxed with the children.
The ladies in the kitchen do a wonderful job; for example each night this consists of soup, a child-friendly dinner & pudding (not
junk but fresh home cooked food) It really is impossible to fault the accommodation and the site.
The activities are brilliant and so different from anything else I've experienced at other Centres. All of the activities are set in the local area and include things such as the Big Pit Museum, Waterfall Walking, Bush Craft Activities, Canoeing, Hill Walking and Bowling. Lots of these activities are things that many of our children would not have access to usually, and it was wonderful to see them all blossoming as the week went on.
All of the activities are organised and ran by the truly amazing Centre staff, who I cannot thank enough for the wonderful work they have done with our children.
I took my class this year, and I had exactly the same experience. Govilon Activity Centre is truly something special and I look forward to visiting many times in the coming years."
Beth Renshaw - Deputy Head Hall Meadow Primary School
"I am the Headteacher of Loddington Primary School; we have been visiting Govilon for the past ten years since I became Head. I cannot recommend the centre highly enough - the staff are very professional and highly skilled. They encourage the children, of all abilities, to participate in every activity and we see children really blossom on our week's stay. The staff are enthusiastic and patient and have really given us lots of help when we have taken children with severe disabilities. We have a lot of high needs children and they support them excellently. The accommodation is clean and comfortable and nothing is ever too much for the ladies in the kitchen. Food is wonderful and the children have a choice at breakfast and lunch - for some children (and staff) the food is the highlight of their week! As we take a mixed year group Nick tailors the visit so that we do not repeat activities and we spend a lot of time preparing for the visit with Nick. Highly professional staff and I can thoroughly recommend the centre. "
Sue Walters - Headteacher Loddington Primary School
"CE Academy provides education provision for young people at risk of exclusion or permanently excluded from mainstream school. We provide alternative education including academic study to GCSE level but also work with a number of partners to provide vocational education and activity based courses.
Over a number of years we have worked with staff at the Govilon Activity Centre to develop a programme that meets the needs of our young people. The staff at the Centre are excellent. The Centre is comfortable and the food excellent.
For many of our young people a school trip is a rare experience.
At the end of year 11 we give a questionnaire to our young people about their experiences with us. It is a credit to staff at Govilon that they are often mentioned in answer to the question, 'What is the most enjoyable activity you have experienced since joining C E Academy?'
Our thanks to everyone at Govilon. You do an excellent job!"
Bobbie Kelly The C E Academy
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