Region: South East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre, Headley Lane, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6DQ

Contact: 01372 378901



High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre is set in 56 acres of woodland on Box Hill, near Dorking, in the tranquil Surrey Hills 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. High Ashurst is part of Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development (SOLD) and has a colourful history with records dating back to 1706. Today High Ashurst is a wonderful wide-open space for learning and self-discovery in a natural environment offering a wide range of adventurous activities. We also use the adjacent heathland which is ideal for mountain biking, night walks and orienteering.

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Exactly what does your venue offer to educational visits?

Our activities are delivered by qualified and highly experienced outdoor education instructors. Whether you book for one day, a week or a weekly programme, our staff will facilitate a structured outdoor experience and engage with your group to maximise their learning opportunities.

Activities available at High Ashurst include: adventure/night walks, archery, challenge course, climbing and abseiling, high ropes, mountain biking, orienteering, team tasks and woodland skills.

Activities can be adapted for disabled groups and there is an off-road wheel chair trail and orienteering course.

Why you are you a great place for educational visits?

SOLD offer high quality, bespoke outdoor experiences and each visit either day or residential are created around the identified learning outcomes for the individual customer at the time of booking.  SOLD’s Learning Outcome Tree – PLEASE INCLUDE LINK TO WEBSITE

Identifies five key developmental areas including:

PERSONAL - Developing skills to maximize personal achievement

PHYSICAL - Increasing physical movement, ability and enjoyment

KNOWLEDGE – Growing understanding relating to the wider world and specific curriculum outcomes

SOCIAL – Improving behaviours to work better with others

EMOTIONAL – Fostering positive feelings, emotional literacy and mental health

These areas are then worked and developed upon with the group during their visit.

The main building and residential log cabins were rebuilt with Lottery and Surrey Short Breaks for Disabled Children funding in 2010, providing modern, sustainable and quality accommodation as well as spacious eating/meeting spaces.  All deluxe log cabins sleep up to 20 (including group leaders) are very comfortable, offering ensuite facilities for each of the six bedrooms, insulated and double-glazed for energy efficiency, beautifully furnished, spacious including a living room and kitchenette – the perfect place to relax and unwind after an exhilarating day in the outdoors! .

The main building is a multi-use space for sitting down to breakfast and dinner as well as used for meetings.  Our catering team is continually praised for their top quality and varied meal options by visiting groups to High Ashurst.  We have been awarded the Eat Out Eat Well Gold Standard Award, which means our highly trained catering staff provide healthy eating options – increased fruit and vegetables and decreased fat, sugar and salt. We can cater for most specialised diets, for instance, vegetarians, coeliacs and guests with food allergies. All meals are freshly prepared on site. There is little chance of going hungry during a stay at High Ashurst!

Do you have the LOtC Quality Badge or any other accreditation such as AALA?

SOLD are very proud of the high level of accreditation achieved across its outdoor learning centres.  These include:

AHOEC – Gold Standard

LOtC Quality Badge

AAIAC Adventuremark


Green Achiever

Eat Out, Eat Well

Approved centres for:

Mountain Training

British Canoeing


What does a typical educational visit include?

SOLD outdoor learning experiences are developed to the individual needs of the group.  In additional to identifying key learning outcomes, visits can also link to key areas of the national curriculum.

Our instructors work on a 1:10 ratio with groups and each session runs for 3 hours to ensure a quality learning experience. 

We are open seven days a week, all year round for both day and residential visits.  Residential visits usually run from one to four nights but the duration of the stay is determined by the individual group’s requirements.

What group sizes do you cater for?

High Ashurst can cater for up to 150* young people and their leaders for both residential and day visits.  * Subject to gender splits and ages.

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?

As SOLD offer a bespoke service, we work with the individual group to discuss their topics, projects and lesson plans so that their students’ outdoor learning experience is embedded as an extension to their classroom work.

A printed SOLD log book is provided for residential groups to map their personal and group journeys throughout their trip.

We always encourage group leaders to make a centre visit before their trip to familiarise themselves with the centre and to fine tune their programme.

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?

All media can be undertaken within the school and centre’s child protection and safety and safeguarding policy. There are no copyright restrictions.

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?

All risk assessments are produced for visiting groups for the individual activities that will be undertaken during the visit and will supplied at time of booking.  SOLD always encourages group leaders to undertake a centre visit at High Ashurst before bringing their group.

Does your venue have an education officer?

For any safeguarding and safety information, our contact is Rob Fidgett, Operations Manager for SOLD. –

What is the cost of the visit?

As each booking is bespoke to the needs of the group, residential prices are upon application.

As an indication, a day visit ie 2 x 3 hour sessions start at £28.50.  However, there are seasonal discounts and offers, please visit for more details.

Is specific clothing required for the trip?

At time of booking a full kit list is supplied.  However, as a guide, a waterproof jacket, long sleeved tops, long trousers and sensible shoes or boots are a basic must with the variable weather in the UK.

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?

All SOLD instructors are qualified First Aiders and can administer basic First Aid as needed.

Please list facilities available.

There is no need for young people to bring any money to High Ashurst.  There is plenty of space for eating catered meals in the Grand Hall at High Ashurst and covered outdoor spaces for eating packed lunches.

What are your disabled facilities?

High Ashurst welcomes SEN young people as we are very proud of our inclusive and adapted activities and quality SEN accommodation.

A SEN equipped deluxe log cabin, Pinnacle, was built with funding from Surrey Short Breaks for Disabled Children. The cabin is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to ensure that those with high mobility needs can stay in comfort.  Pinnacle can sleep up to 20 guests (including two group leaders), in four bedrooms which contain comfortable bunks and electrically adjustable single beds. All bedrooms are equipped with underfloor heating and en-suite bathrooms with adjustable height basins and wet area showers. Internal and external doors are power assisted and an electric ceiling hoisting system, allowing for seamless mobility from bedroom to bathroom.

There is a spacious lounge area for relaxing and a kitchenette with an adjustable height sink, suitable for preparing hot drinks and snacks. There is also a washing machine and drier, a lockable medicine fridge and cupboard. The lounge area has comfortable sofas and bean-bag seating overlooking the wonderful outdoors at High Ashurst.

We offer many different activities with adaptive capacity, thus enabling all visitors to participate and achieve their personal best.  These activities include journeying, using our off road wheelchairs, climbing and abseiling using our hoisting system, archery, orienteering, woodland skills and team tasks. Our staff have extensive experience of working with groups with mixed needs and abilities.

Also available - Angel Blue our 63ft fully accessible canal boat docked at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford can be used as a residential boat and can sleep up to 10 people. Equipped with two lifts for entry, toilets, showers, a kitchen and space for up to four wheelchair users. Trips can last a single morning/afternoon, or several days.

What are your opening days and hours?

We are open all year round, 7 days a week with our activity sessions usually running  9.30 am – 12.30pm, 1.30pm to 4.30pm and 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?

High Ashurst is part of Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development which is a ‘not for profit’ organisation focused on the personal development of young people.

SOLD is proud to be supporting the campaign for #Brilliant Residentials as a Learning Away champion.  This campaign highlights the benefits of learning through high-quality residential experiences (backed by compelling research created through the Learning Away ).  The aim is to increase the number of residentials taking place across the UK, and improve the quality of the residential experiences. Ultimately, this aims to lead to improved resilience, relationships, achievement and brighter, brilliant futures for young people. 

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Cycling Climbing High Ropes Outdoor Education Outdoor Pursuits Personal Development-Mentoring Residential School Trips SEN Team Building

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Citizenship English Geography Mathematics PE PSHE Science

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December