Region: South East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: The Pines Garden, Beach Road, St Margaret's Bay, Dover CT15 6DZ

Contact: 01394 851 737 ext 2014



The Pines Garden Coastal Forest School Dover. Improving lives through outdoor learning and connections with the natural world.

Do you have a video on YouTube or anywhere else that you would like to link to?
Channels Pages:

Examples of sessions
South Foreland & Steps Bank:

Rock Pooling on the Kent Coast :

Pond Dipping at Rippledown:

Are you on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media?



Exactly what does your venue offer to educational visits?
● Delivering High Quality Outdoor Learning on the East Kent Coast.
● Set in a SSSi and area of outstanding natural beauty.
● Highly experienced tutors qualified to Level 3 forest school certification.
● Curriculum plans from KS1 to KS5 that can be tailored to your students needs.
● Support and experience in working with SEN and NEETS.
● A dedicated outdoor classroom for forest school activities.
● Composting toilet or ‘Tree Bog’ provides eco-friendly conveniences*
*Opens April 2017.
● Activities include:
○ Tree, plant, mammal and insect identification.
○ Rural skills such as dead hedging and basket making.
○ Firelighting and camp building.
○ Woodland, meadow and hedgerow biodiversity.
● We have been delivering the John Muir Award since 2015 to over 500 children.
● Single day visits or regular visits for local schools.
● Ongoing biodiversity projects to improve wildlife habitats and encourage indigenous and migratory species.
● Dedicated food growing areas and mobile cooking facilities. Learn about Garden-to-Plate, nutrition, plant biology and healthy eating.
● Examples of Permaculture - gardening with nature. Demonstrating a wide range of habitats where humans, animals and plants can all thrive together.
● Experienced gardeners and tutors provide spaces where your students can learn to plant, nurture, harvest and cook their own food. Hands on, practical sessions with real food!
● Just 2 minutes walk from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay. The perfect habitat for rock pool investigations and sea shore habitats.
● On the South Foreland Coastline between the historic towns on Deal & Dover. The area is brimming with military archaeology.

Why you are you a great place for educational visits?
Set in the picturesque chalk coastline this SSSi (Site of Special Scientific Interest) area is perfect for groups who want to explore biodiversity, seashore habitats, the natural world and benefit from a forest school curriculum.

Our tutors can deliver a lot more than just nature awareness. We have programs we can tailor to the arts, history and english language. The area itself has been of great historical importance since Roman times and is the best place to explore the UK coastal defences from WW1 & WW2.

Our Forest School area at Steps Bank was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in association with the Up on the Downs project. The Pines Garden has been Organically managed since 2008. It is now a designated permaculture LAND centre.

Do you have the LOtC Quality Badge or any other accreditation such as AALA?
Currently applying for Level 1 LOtC award. Our other residential campus four miles down the road at Rippledown House has Level 2 LOtC. The Pines Garden uses the same tutors as Rippledown House.

What does a typical educational visit include?
Our educational advisor can come to your school to do a presentation for pupils and parents. They can spend time with your teachers to tailor your entire visit to your curriculum needs. We will provide you with a full plan prior to you stay complete with an activity timetable, lesson plans and up to date risk assessments for all your activities.

What group sizes do you cater for?
10 - 30 pupils plus support staff. Depending on the size of your group you we recommend 1 - 2 tutors and activities on rotation. We have excellent on site catering and a campfire area with Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate! Alternative dietary requirements are always catered for. Let us know!

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?
KS1 - KS5

Sample lesson plans are currently available on request these will be available for download from our website in 2017.

Depending on the activity we also have worksheets available that can also be tailored to your curriculum requirements.

Please email our Educational Advisor - Sian Lloyd for further details.

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?
Schools are welcome to bring their own photo/video equipment. Please ensure your release forms are signed by parents. We have a safeguarding policy covering photography and video and this can be supplied on request.

As part of our ongoing research into outdoor learning we can work with your school free of charge to make short films about your stay at Rippledown. Sample films can be seen on our Vimeo Account:  We have a waterproof Go-Pro Camera and a Digital Assistant on hand to help you make and edit your films on site. It would be helpful if we could also use your films in our marketing. If your school would like to take part we’d be grateful if you would get our release forms signed by parents so we can feature your school on our website and social media channels.

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?
Comprehensive risk assessments are provided for all set activities. If you require bespoke risk assessments or additional advice we have an expert on site to help you.

Does your venue have an education officer?
Our Education Advisor is Mrs Sian Lloyd. Sian is a former Deputy Head Teacher at a local Primary School and still works with local schools. She is fully up-to-date with the curriculum. Please email with your question and arrange a convenient time to schedule a call.

What is the cost of the visit?
For groups of 16+
For the best learning experience and optimum safety we recommend having 2 dedicated tutors for Sea Shore, Forest School and Garden Activities @ £400 per day*
Groups under 16 can use 1 tutor @ £200 per day.

*You are welcome to opt for just one outdoor tutor but you will need to ensure you have a ratio of 1 to 8 and you may not be able to do some forest school activities.

The Evening Ramble and Campfire @ £100
Takes place from 5pm to 9pm. Experience the magic on the coast in the evening - its when you will see it at its best!

Lunch £6 per head
BBQ Dinner £7 per head

Teachers or Support staff go FREE
Up to 3 Teachers or Support staff go FREE

If you require additional funding we can help you identify possible co-funding grants and assist you in the application.

Is specific clothing required for the trip?
Sensible outdoor clothing is required!

We may be able to provide the following equipment with prior arrangement:

● Wet-weather clothing
● Wellington boots
● Rucksacks
● Field studies equipment
● Resource materials
● Reference books
● Pens and paper
● A fantastic experience!

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?
Pete Evans - Lead Tutor
Richard Martin - Tutor
Both are qualified first aiders

Please list facilities available
● Woodland Area
● Campfire Area
● Storytelling shelter
● Food Growing Area
● WW2 Museum
● Eco Building - A visit to or use of The Pines Calyx Eco Building can be made by prior arrangement only. Prices and activities on application.

What are your disabled facilities?
Disabled access in the Pines Garden and The Museum. Steps Bank Forest School Area is not suitable to wheelchair users.

What are your opening days and hours?
9AM - 9PM Monday to Friday

Do you have any testimonials?
'First of all we had to discover a wild area and then explore it and tried to conserve it. We made paths with logs and then swept up the leaves. We built paths because if we don't have paths we would trample on the animals. The best thing about it was exploring nature and working as a team. I felt really lucky and exhilarated when I received my certificates.' Jessica Woodhouse, Year 5, Greenpark Community Primary School.

'Through Bridging the Gap, I got to know children in my year group much better, which meant I made some great friends. Every week, eight children (including me), were lucky enough to avoid school. Instead, we went outside to have some great fun – even in the snow! We built dens, swung in hammocks, climbed trees, built snowmen, navigated minefields (don’t worry, these were only made of logs!), walked to the top of cliffs, cleared paths, looked for wildlife, made bird feeders, created reindeers from wood, toasted marshmallows, started fires, used tools, had a picnic on the beach, skimmed stones and even conquered some of our fears. It was an exhilarating experience!
Cheers Terry and thank you Pete for spending your time with us. I will never forget it. Finley Gilmurray, Year 5, Greenpark Community Primary School.

Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?
We have pledged our support to the #BrilliantResidentials campaign and are committed to delivering High Quality Outdoor Learning:

The Bay Trust is working in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University. Dr Joe Hinds, a Social-Environmental Psychologist at CCCU is gathering data and helping our Outdoor Learning Tutor, Dr Sarah O’Malley assess the effectiveness of our outdoor learning programmes.

“Children gain a greater sense of their own competence, nature connection, hope and dietary awareness.”

While many publications are about children, this study involves children. It prioritises the voices of learners. This study is small and adds to the ongoing debate on the value of outdoor learning and play in child development.

Their report is available to download here:

Inspired by this research we are creating a series of short films with young learners to document their residential learning experiences. Schools are invited to take part in this exciting project and can benefit from the additional benefits of adding digital film making to their curriculum programme!

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

Type of Visit: Bushcraft Environment Centres Field Studies Green Awareness Historical Heritage Museums Outdoor Education Parks and Gardens Picnic Areas SEN Storytelling Team Building Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Business Studies Citizenship Design and Technology Drama English Engineering Environmental Studies Food & Nutrition Geography History Leisure & Tourism Mathematics PE PSHE Science

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