Thorpe Woodlands 2022

Important things you need to know about your child’s visit to Thorpe Woodlands Adventure Centre

Congratulations, your child is coming to Thorpe Woodlands for a residential adventure! This letter contains some important information about the centre, activities and our approach to outdoor learning and safety. Thorpe Woodlands Adventure Centre is set in a stunning location within the heart of Thetford Forest. We offer a wide range of adventurous outdoor activities and believe passionately in the value of learning outside the classroom. Since opening in 2009, thousands of children and young people have stayed at Thorpe Woodlands and have memories of their experiences which will last a lifetime.


We aim to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all who visit. The Centre and site are purpose built and fully accessible. Therefore, children and young people with additional needs are encouraged to take part in all aspects of the residential experience. In order to help us meet your child’s needs, please ensure that you include details of any disability, medical conditions or relevant special needs on the consent form provided by your school. For obvious reasons, please do not send your child to Thorpe Woodlands if they are suffering from sickness, diarrhoea or any other virus which could be passed onto others. If your child becomes ill during their stay, we will contact you and arrange for them to be collected.


Your child will be participating in a full programme of activities which are designed to stretch and challenge them. These activities may include water sports, climbing, caving, cycling, zip wires etc. We recommend that you talk to your child about the importance of taking part in all activities and doing their very best. Our instructors will never force somebody to participate but we believe that being able to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks is an important aspect of a child’s learning and development. We love seeing that look of pride and accomplishment on a child’s face when they have achieved what they initially thought was the impossible! The Thorpe Woodlands’ experience is all about developing independence, resilience, leadership and teamwork.

Supervision and Safety

We take our Health & Safety responsibilities seriously at Thorpe Woodlands by ensuring that activities are risk assessed, staff are competent, and all equipment is regularly checked. However, Adventure Activities by their very nature involve an inherent level of risk. By allowing your child to take part in our activities, we hope that you recognise the need to accept these risks because of the overwhelming benefits these experiences bring.


Thorpe Woodlands Adventure Centre carries appropriate public liability insurance to cover claims arising from negligence and is under no obligation in respect of personal injury or loss. Individual Schools/Groups will have their own travel insurance and you may wish to consider private Personal Accident cover for your child.


Mealtimes are an important part of the residential experience at Thorpe Woodlands and we try to ensure that our home cooked meals are enjoyed by everyone. We understand that some people are limited in the types of foods they can eat, and we will do our best to cater for any allergies, intolerances and special diets that you tell us about. If you have any concerns about the food provided by Thorpe Woodlands, please get in touch with us.

Information on Weils Disease and Lyme Disease

These two diseases can occasionally be caught while taking part in activities in river and forest environments. Both diseases are very rare. They are of concern because while their early symptoms are easy to overlook, there are potentially serious consequences if they are left undiagnosed and untreated. We recommend that participants are made aware of the following guidance:

Weil’s Disease (Leptospirosis)

Weil’s Disease is caused by an organism, carried in rats’ urine, which is present in many rivers and lakes. The incidence is highest in stagnant or slow moving water. No cases of Weil’s disease have been reported to date on the River Thet. However, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Before taking part in water activities cover any minor scratches or cuts with a waterproof plaster.
  • Wear suitable footwear to avoid the risk of cut feet.
  • Where possible, avoid capsize or immersion in stagnant or slow moving water.
  • After the activity, wash any parts of the body which have been in contact with river water in fresh water.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Weil’s Disease

Leptospirosis begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, myalgias, intense headache) and can also include muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and rash. Initial presentation may resemble pneumonia. The symptoms usually develop after a 4–14 day incubation period. If you have any of these symptoms, especially after participating in water based activities, visit your doctor. Explain where you have been, and mention Weil’s Disease. The disease is treatable at any stage but the earlier it is diagnosed the easier the treatment.

Lyme Disease

Ticks are quite frequently encountered in Thetford Forest and are most active between April and October. They are normally transferred between animals and vegetation and are transferred to humans by contact with vegetation. The tick is black, and between 1mm and 3mm across. Normally the legs are clearly visible. When attached to the skin they ingest blood. Very occasionally ticks can spread a condition known at Lyme Disease. No cases of Lyme Disease have been reported at Thorpe Woodlands. However, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Wear long trousers, tucked into socks: light coloured clothing will help you spot ticks.
  • Check for ticks when undressing; they usually crawl about for several hours before attaching themselves to your skin.
  • Remove any attached ticks by gentle tugging with tweezers.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Check for any rash or red patch, especially one that expands over several days. Flu-like symptoms often occur early in the disease. Meningitis-like symptoms, such as stiff neck, difficulty in concentrating, remembering and fatigue, can occur later in the disease. If you have any of these symptoms, especially after a tick bite, visit your doctor. Explain where you have been, and mention Lyme Disease. The disease is treatable with antibiotics at any stage but the earlier it is diagnosed the easier the treatment.

Luggage is limited to 1 bag/case per person and 1 small item of hand luggage (day bag)

What to Bring – Top Tips
  • Involve your child in packing so they know what they are bringing.
  • Write names on as many things as possible.
  • Don’t bring favourite or expensive clothes or jewellery inc. earrings they may get lost or damaged.
  • Practice fitting a duvet cover and making a bed before arriving!
  • Money is not needed as there is nowhere to spend it!
  • Do not bring Sweets and snacks.
  • Do not bring mobile phones or electronic gadgets.
Item Quantity
T-shirts (some long sleeved) 4
Sweatshirts/jumpers/fleece tops 2
Sets of underwear 4
Pairs of joggers/trousers/leggings 3
Pairs of socks (All socks need to cover ankles) 4
Pairs trainers (1 pair will get wet) 2
Warm waterproof Jacket 1
Pyjamas, cuddly toy (compulsory) & slippers (if you have them) - strict ‘no shoes inside’ rule 1 of each
Towels / soap / shampoo / hairbrush / toothbrush /toothpaste 1 of each
Drinks bottle (750ml - 1,000ml) 1
Pair of old trousers and a sweatshirt for canoeing & a towel (these may get wet) 1
Named plastic bags for wet/worn clothes 2
Sun Hat / Sun Cream (May-September) 1 of each
Warm Hat and Gloves (September-May) 1 of each
Torch (September–May - not too big or too bright – head torches are good) 1
Wellies, wet shoes, small rucksack (day bag), card games, reading book, hair bobbles for tying back long hair. 1

Medication - If you need medication remember to pack enough and tell your teachers.

No responsibility can be taken by the school for any personal items that are lost or damaged. It is each child’s responsibility to take care of their possessions during the visit and the responsibility of each parent to ensure that their child does not bring anything of great value.

Thorpe Woodlands strive to make our stay a safe and happy place where all young people can thrive. Therefore, it is important that everybody behaves conscientiously and understands their personal responsibilities in relation to the safety and enjoyment of others.

  • Respect – I will treat all adults and children with respect and value their contributions, no matter how small. I will think about the feelings of other members of the group.
  • Participation – I will try my best to take part in activities.
  • Responsibility – I will take responsibility for my own actions and behaviour. I will take care of my property and the property of others.
  • Listen carefully to and follow the instructions given by all adults.
  • Respect the sleep requirements of others and I will keep myself clean.
  • I will seek help from an adult if I see somebody behaving in a way that is likely to upset the safety or enjoyment of others.
  • I will always be an enthusiastic and active member of the group and, above all, have lots of FUN.

I understand that I need to adhere to the above Code of Conduct during our school visit to Thorpe Woodlands.

Gorseland Primary School

Deben Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, IP5 3QR            Phone: 01473 623790            Email: