a classroom outdoors

Think of Dukes Barn as an outdoor classroom. No walls, no desks, but plenty of opportunity to learn. Not only to learn new skills, but also to learn about yourself, and to have fun in the process.

Just as in the conventional classroom, learning outdoors is far more effective when it is challenging. At Dukes Barn we provide plenty of challenges, both physical and intellectual.

Above all, we help people identify and meet their own personal challenges. Enabling people to overcome their difficulties and generate self-confidence is our major goal.

We are always careful to ensure that the challenge is big enough to conquer, but not unrealistic. We provide an environment where people can develop at their own appropriate pace.

Important elements in the programmes Dukes Barn provides are teamwork, cooperation and effective communication.
As a group leader, you have an important role to play. We are keen to establish a dialogue before your course begins. A pre-course visit to Dukes Barn is an opportunity for you to discuss your specific needs and enable us to plan a course to suit your group's requirements.

You will find our staff sympathetic to your requirements. They are fully qualified and very experienced, and have almost certainly encountered similar needs before. As a centre, we are AALA registered and with our comprehensively stocked equipment store, we're able to equip pupils for every activity.

whatever your ability - go for it!

At Dukes Barn, we look beyond a person's disability - we simply regard people as having different levels of ability.

We consider that everyone, regardless of ability, should have the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities and enjoy and enrich themselves through personal achievement.
That's why we place great emphasis on a policy of inclusion, wherever feasible.

People of widely different abilities and ages take part in the activities at the same time. Challenge by choice is a concept we embody in our planning.

In practice, we design programmes to account for each individual's requirements and challenge their abilities.



At Dukes Barn we deliver a program of activities that are appropriate to the needs of each group.
A discussion on a pre-course visit or by phone offers the opportunity to consult with course leaders and design a course that will be enjoyable, challenging and achievable. Elements of education are threaded into the adventures to provide an informal yet informative outing.


The Peak District is famous for its gritstone moorland and picturesque limestone dales, which are perfect hill walking landscapes.
Knowledgeable instructors offer the opportunity to learn about the natural history/geology and ecology of the National Park and a chance to improve on map reading skills. Full days out usually mean a short journey to the upland moors of the Dark Peak. Half days out will be closer to Dukes Barn, choosing from a range of popular scenic walking areas.


Navigating is fun! Training is pitched at a level to suit the individual. Visitors can learn the basics, or develop their map and compass skills working with experienced instructors visiting some of the more remote and interesting parts of the Peak District upland.

stream walking

Stream walking is a popular activity with children. It is a fun activity. Groups follow a stream valley, scrambling over rocks and boulders, splashing through pools and getting wet meeting fun challenges set by the instructors.

rock-hopping and scrambling

This is an ideal introduction to mountain activities, involving a mixture of all the skills utilised in walking, climbing and caving. These very active sessions are an ideal day out for young energetic groups but can also be an excellent activity for people with learning disabilities.


An exciting buzz, very popular with most groups. Abseiling is a great personal challenge for many people.

rock climbing

Dukes Barn is a short drive from many of Britain's most famous Gritstone crags. Enthusiastic instructors provide active introductory sessions progressing through movement skills and basic ropework to build self confidence in a safe and exhilarating environment. We recommend groups give a full day to this activity.
Anyone just starting the sport, or wanting to progress from climbing on indoor walls to climbing independently outside can learn the necessary techniques with skilled experienced Mountaineering Instructors.
Active climbers can improve their level of skill and expertise on improvised rescue and multi pitch climbing courses or may wish to complete Single Pitch Award training and/or assessment. We also offer MLTB/BMC accredited disability awareness training for instructors.


We offer a range of orienteering for all abilities. Map reading skills can be developed through orienteering. A range of local courses are available to suit all ages and abilities.
People are often enthused by the competitive element of orienteering and it serves as a fun way of learning new skills. Photo orienteering, or courses involving answering questions about the local area are suitable alternatives for people of different abilities.


Caving offers a very powerful group experience.
Introductory caving sessions can be full or half days. A typical half day will involve up to one and a half hours underground, experiencing these unique exciting environments.
Groups of secondary age and above may wish to consider a full days caving. This will normally involve venturing down a classic vertical system involving abseiling and ladder climbing techniques. Elements of technical training can be done at the Dukes Barn climbing wall, before going underground.
Advanced caver training is available including pitch rigging, vertical self rescue and local leader accreditation courses.


We have a range of Kayaks and Open Canoes suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
Our Inflatable Canoes are stable fun boats, ideal for disabled people to experience both flat, and white water canoeing.
A local canal and picturesque lake provide a perfect environment for novices to enjoy a session on flat water, learning basic skills and playing fun games to build confidence.
River trips are possible for groups with a little more experience.
British Canoe Union Star Awards and Coaching courses are also available.

climbing wall and ropes course  

Our fantastic all ability on site climbing wall offers challenges for everyone of all abilities including wheelchair users. 

Dukes Barns low level ropes course offers problem solving and all inclusive team activities. It has been designed to enable people of different abilities to work together and have fun.

Specialist activities

Sailing, off-road cycling and horse-riding can all be arranged at an additional charge.