BEWERLEY Park, visited by generations of Craven schoolchildren, is to be given a new lease of life after North Yorkshire Council agreed to a £4.2 million investment in its two outdoor education centres.

Earlier this week, the council's executive agreed to the phased re-development of the Bewerley Park centre, near Pateley Bridge, which the council owns; and also to its site at East Barnby, in the North Yorks Moors National Park, which it leases.

Bewerley Park, which was built in the 1940s and consists of 31 mainly wooden buildings, will see its existing accommodation rebuilt, with the first phase a new accommodation block with 84 beds, and a later second phase - to be decided in 2027-2028 - during which the centre would be expected to be closed for a year.

The first phase will see the new accommodation block built on the footprint of an existing teaching block. The second phase proposes a hub building with classrooms, multi-use hall, offices and equipment stores.

The centre closed temporarily in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and only reopened in September the following year. Together with the temporary closure also of East Barnby, it led to a deficit of more than £1million, and questions were raised about the future of the sites.

Following the approval of investment in the centres, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Councillor Annabel Wilkinson, said: “This is an exciting project. For decades both centres have proven very popular, being visited by generations of families. Thousands of children and young people visit the centres each year and leave with positive, happy memories.

“It’s vital that our centres continue to deliver wonderful experiences in a more modern environment.”

The council’s assistant director for education and skills, Amanda Newbold, added: “We expect phase one to be completed by 2025. The new buildings and improvements won’t affect our visitors – in fact, we look forward to welcoming more visitors as the works take place.

“Our staff are passionate about what they do and look forward to enhancing everything they offer.”

Both outdoor learning centres enable visitors to develop life and social skills, enhance personal growth, resilience, teamwork and cooperation. The team brings subjects to life in line with the curriculum and improves environmental awareness.

A wide range of residential and day courses are on offer for primary and secondary schools, through to higher education, youth and adult groups. The centres are also venues for day trips and staff development. Those interested in visiting can find out more at