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Arno Vale Junior School

Dukes Barn

4B Day 2


Another great day for 4B!


The children were amazing last night-they slept really well and woke up this morning at a very reasonable time. After a hearty breakfast, the 3 groups set off on their adventures.



Abseiling was first on the agenda for the Owls. Millers Dale Bridge was reopened, so that was their destination. Some children were very very eager to give it a go, leaping over the railings! Some children were slightly more cautious, but with a bit of gentle persuasion and the offer of grown ups going down with them, we are really proud to say that everyone in Owls gave the abseiling a go. The children got at least 3 turns each and had huge smiles on their faces.


After lunch, the Owls got kitted up again and headed out to Giant's Hole for their caving experience. The children were amazed at how their bodies could fit through such tiny spaces. They were also very careful to point out to the grown ups spaces that they didn't feel we would fit through-thanks for the concern! Our instructor Aidan explained (with Miss Carter's help) the geology of the caves and lots of fossils were spotted. 




Foxes got ready to head out on their adventure walk around Stanton Moor. There are old quarries which have returned to nature. There are also 9 standing stones in a circle - apparently 9 girls were dancing when a witch came and turned them to stone! We didn't see any witches but the foggy weather created an eerie, mysterious atmosphere. After a short pit stop for some hot chocolate we set off again. We came across an old tower with bricked-up doors and windows. The children were very determined to see what was inside - but sadly we never found out. The children had an excellent attitude with not a single moan. 


After lunch we got kitted out for abseiling and headed to Millers Dale Bridge. Everyone was very enthusiastic and were keen to help carry all the kit. Once we had listened to the safety instructions, the abseiling began. Almost everyone had 4 turns - tandem abseils were very popular. Sadly, it was time to head back to the Barn. 



Hedgehogs started their day caving at Giant's Hole. After a short trip on the minibus we descended underground. Hedgehogs all displayed excellent teamwork by passing on messages of support to negotiate upcoming hazards.  The children confidently negotiated the narrow passages and stoney steps. They even accepted the challenge to hold their breath and swim through the imaginary water to reach the spectacular Cathedral cavern. 


After lunch, Hedgehogs spent the afternoon at Duke's Barn displaying outstanding teamwork on the ropes problem solving course. This involved crawling through tunnels, travelling along wobbly bridges and climbing an enormous cargo net. The most challenging element involved the pupils trying to balance on a large human see-saw! Many children demonstrated great team leadership skills to complete this challenge. After, a short break for hot chocolate, Hedgehogs spent the afternoon on the indoor climbing wall bouldering, climbing and ziplining. 


After a delicious dinner of meatballs, pasta, homemade garlic bread then profiteroles and oozing chocolate sauce, the children had the opportunity to purchase souvenirs from the gift shop. The children are just finishing their film night then are off to bed. The teachers hope the children sleep as well as they did last night!


4B Day 1


4B arrived safely at Dukes Barn after an excellent bus journey. Every member of staff was impressed with their behaviour. A couple of children even fell asleep.

Once we arrived, Colin gave a talk, telling us all about how to keep safe at Dukes Barn. Then we had a tour of the centre. After this, everyone was given their sheet, duvet cover and pillow case. With a lot of team work and a little help from staff, everyone managed to get their bed made. We all ate lunch together with 4M.


After lunch, Hedgehogs got kitted out and set off to go on their adventure walk. This involved weaselling which is pulling yourself through small gaps between rocks. Mrs Lund even had a go! The behaviour was exceptional. The scenery was spectacular and the children were keen to admire the view. All children showed excellent teamwork and determination to help each other – there was not a single moan! The adventure ended with hops and leaps from rock to rock to avoid the imaginary lava and avoid the alligators, crocodiles and mud beetles which required a bit of help from Mr Baker!


Foxes went to the kit store to gather everything they needed for caving. After a short journey in the minibus, they had a short walk to the Giant Hole. It was extremely windy but everyone managed to stay on their feet. It was a good job everyone was wearing wellies as they had to walk through a stream to get into the cave. The intrepid followed the stream, through small dark tunnels and lots of puddles. They experienced total darkness, turning their head torches out for a short time. They also saw lots of interesting fossils embedded in the rocks and an underground waterfall. Some children became leaders and led the group out of the cave and back to the minibus. This was a hard walk back with the wind against them.


Owls didn’t have far to go. They started the afternoon with their turn on the indoor climbing wall. The children traversed around the wall and challenged themselves to only use one colour hold. Once everyone was in their harness, they climbed the wall to the top. This was the start of the zip line games. Each person had 3 goes on the zip line. Each time, they threw a beanbag to a bucket suspended in mid- air. This was very tricky! Each person practised their abseiling, by abseiling down the wall. After a short break for some hot chocolate, they got outdoor shoes on and had a go on the ropes course. All the teachers were proud of their excellent teamwork getting the giant see-saw to balance.


Dinner was jacket potatoes with a large choice of fillings and salad. There were lots of empty plates. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. We have just enjoyed some free time before we will head out for our torch walk and smores.

Wow! We are so impressed. What a brilliant day, even including some snow. We have to say that some of us needed a bit more encouragement to get to sleep than others so we were a bit surprised with how fantastically well everyone attempted their challenges. It must have been the lovely breakfast that Y4 demolished before we met up with our instructors for today's information.

Owls started with a wonderfully snowy journey to Giants Cave Nr Castleton. You'd have thought we were in the Alps! A lovely snowy march and some snowballs powered our way through to the entrance of the cavern. Thankfully, we had wellies on as we had to walk through a stream that disappeared into the rocks. Suddenly we found ourselves underground exploring rock formations and fossils. How amazing to think that all of this was under a warm sea once. We explored large chambers and did a bit of ducking our heads to avoid the bumps! Good job we had helmets on! We all loved it and showed great team spirit, giving each other directions in the dark so that we could navigate back to the mouth of the cave.

After a delicious lunch and some homemade cake we put our outdoor clothes on again, making sure we had some extra layers and set off on our adventure walk to Higgar Tor. We were met with a blizzard but soon the flakes got softer and bigger and we started to weasel. This was using all our skills to work out how to wriggle through different shaped gaps in some very big rock formations. We were brilliant! A warm drink half way round gave us the energy to climb to the top of the rocks. We all enjoyed splashing in the muddy puddles. Parents, make sure you have some washing powder ready! Now safely back at the barn we are getting showered and changed, ready for another delicious meal. After tea we will have to do a bit of packing before we look at some souvenirs and watch a DVD. We can't believe we're nearly coming home already!


The Badgers had an equally amazing day. We started the morning with a glorious walk along Stanage Edge, the sun beating down on our cold faces. The fresh layer of snow provided much excitement and crunch for all of the children. The edge itself was a magnificent landform and the children were so proud when they carefully navigated their way across the boulders and to the top. The icy wind that met us at the top was rather a surprise but that did not stop us from having fun and enjoying a snowball fight ... although I think Miss Carter was a little overpowered! Across the top we waded through thick mud and a few children nearly lost their wellies! Luckily excellent teamwork was shown again.  We discovered the secret Robin Hood's Cave and clambered through the water inside.The real challenge of this walk was the scrambling across the boulders and snow to get back to the minibus. The children darted across easily, channeling their inner ninja warrior or mountain goat. After a delicious lunch, we headed back out to Black Rocks for our abseiling. The children were incredible and worked together as a team to encourage everyone. Those who initially struggled, persisted and overcame their fear. Miss Carter was incredibly proud. 


Today, the foxes have done us proud! This morning, we travelled to Black Rocks to do abseiling. It started with many children (and adults) being unsure about abseiling down the small cliff face, even though there were incredibly safe and harnessed on. Once all the harnesses were correctly fitted, the children made their way to the top of the cliff. All of the children made it to the edge, even if they did not abseil down. Many overcame their fears and did abseil down, including Mrs Burton!  After lunch, we explored Giant's Cave, after having a snowball fight on the way to the cave! The children waded through water and through small gaps as they made their way further into the cave. Some children faced their fears of the dark and completed the caving. As we left the cave at the end, we were faced with a strong, bitterly cold wind in our faces. One child commented that it was the best worst day ever! Throughout the day all the children supported and encouraged each other and they have all shown respect and determination in our activities. Mrs Bailey and Mrs Burton were proud of all the children in foxes.

Another really successful Dukes Barn residential for Arno Vale. The children have demonstrated all our school values and shown what kind and caring people they can be. The teamwork spirit and encouragement they have shown to their classmates has been phenomenal. We are all tired but very proud and happy. We face our final challenges tomorrow morning after breakfast. We look forward to seeing you with all our dirty laundry in the afternoon!



What a busy day ! A lovely coach journey in the sunshine where we started to notice different types of houses to those in Woodthorpe and lots of sheep ! After a gentle stroll through the village of Beeley, we soon found ourselves at the gates of Dukes Barn. Once inside and reunited with our luggage, we met all the centre staff, had a tour of the buildings and had a fun half an hour where we tried to put a duvet cover on and a pillow case. That was a bit of a challenge! Once our dorms were ready and we had stored our cases we came down to the dining room and ate our lunch. Full of energy, we set off with our instructors and got ready for our first activities.

Owls hopped in the minibus with Alan and drove to Cromford and Black Rocks to try our hands at abseiling. They carried the harnesses and helmets as a brilliant team and enjoyed stomping in muddy puddles enroute. Everybody tried to complete their own personal challenges and we had some very proud children by the time we had finished. Brilliant encouragement and fantastic displays of our Arno Vale School values, especially determination and resilience.


The amazing badgers had a fantastic trip to Devonshire Mine in Matlock. After a very steep and slippy climb to the entrance everyone was relieved to finally arrive. The Badgers showed determination and bravery to overcome their fears of the dark and worked as a team to give instructions and remind people to duck ... Where? There were some tight squeezes , overs and unders, bottom shuffling and crawling. There were a few hairy moments when people got a bit stuck, but the positive encouragement from the Badgers spurred everyone on. No Badger was left behind ... even Miss Carter! What a great start!


The foxes went on an adventure walk this afternoon. We walked out of the village and into a wooded area. It was wet underfoot, which made it extremely muddy in places. There were a few slips and falls, but the children got back on their feet and continued to the end. One child lost her boot, but with the help and encouragement from a friend, she was able to get her boot back on and continue with the walk. There were many words of encouragement from all of the children and our school value of determination was shown by all.  Even those who said that they didn't enjoy walking before we went out where obviously having fun! 


Once back at the barn we enjoyed a delicious meal of pizza, chips and salad followed by chocolate sponge and custard. After some free time, we put our wellies back on, got our torches out and had a lovely star lit walk up the lane to marvel at the night sky. This was followed by a Miss Carter super campfire where we toasted marshmallows and made smores. A nice warm hot chocolate or drink of squash finished our evening and the children are now in pyjamas, in bed and we are keeping our fingers crossed that now lights are out they might drift off to sleep ! zzzzzzzz