Region: South East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Droxford Road, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 1HR

Contact: 01730 823166



Located in the South Downs National Park the Sustainability Centre is set in 55 acres of woodlands and grassland above the village of East Meon. We are an Eco Centre and an Education Centre and have been welcoming schools to the site for over 10 years. Some areas of the site are dedicated to conservation whilst others are part of the working centre which includes a restaurant, classrooms, greenwood working business and camping and lodge accommodation. The Centre offers a variety of educational activities that promote sustainable living and green issues in an inspiring yet tranquil setting. We work closely with schools to ensure we provide a trip of value for a wide variety of groups size, ages and length of stay.

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

We offer a hands on trip for your school that enhances your eco topic and brings the subject alive. If you are looking for a visit to enliven a classroom project we can help to arrange a thought provoking trip that will provide lasting memories for the children. Learners can explore a round wood build, see a straw bale building, build a solar powered lego car, become attuned to the Forest and learn bush craft skills or visit our local farm. There are lots of options within the teachers pack on our website. On an over night trip or week long residential visitors will have a chance to gain a broader understanding of sustainable living by staying and enjoying activities on our site or take advantage of our South Downs Experience package to visit other venues within the South Downs National Park.

All the options for schools reference the areas of the curriculum covered by the activities offered.

Due to the nature of the site resident groups have plenty of space for games, walks, campfires, and BBQs, in addition to the more hands-on, formally organised activities.

The Centre carries a special message for all guests, which is to learn something about earth care during the visit. This may be anything from looking after the camp site where your tent is pitched to visiting the compost toilet or recycling your lunch box waste back at school.This is a working site and that is one of the special features that visitors appreciate.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

On a typical day visit learners will undertake a variety of activities, spending as much out of doors as possible. All activities will be led by our staff and will have an eco focus. Classrooms will be available for teaching in poor weather and for lunchtime shelter.

Examples of Topic options include:

• Food and Farming with a specially booked trailer tractor ride over the Downs

• Alternative technologies and Sustainable building activities

• Waste and Recycling and Water Conservation

• Habitat study and Eco Exploration
•    Forest skills and bushcraft
•    Saxons in the Meon Valley
•    Forest School

Residential schools and groups can browse our website to discover what the site looks like, what projects we have in progress and what activities we can offer on a longer stay.

Examples of  residential activities include:

Visit to Butser Ancient Farm

Team building games and challenges

Night walk over the Downs.

Visit to Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Eco building activities.

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What size groups do they cater for?

We can cater for 60 pupils per day or two classes working in rotation and we will often split the class into groups for activities during the day.

Our lodge has 39 bed spaces arranged into mostly 3 bed rooms (I class per trip) Typically each room has one bunk bed and one single bed but there are also twin bed rooms and facilities for visitor and carer to have adjoining rooms. Bathrooms are shared.

The lodge has a common room where self service breakfast is served and has a catering standard kitchen for use by small groups.

We also have ti pi and yurt accommodation available.

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

When you book with the Education Officer you will be able to discuss your topics, talk about a programme from the activities offered to suit your learners and make a free pre visit to the site to find out what is offered and familiarise yourself with the site.

You will be provided with risk assessments from the Centre and some pre-visit information sheets which for residential visits will include guidelines for behaviour and advice on what to bring, menu choices and a welcome brochure detailing the itinerary for the trip and providing you with information on any off site visits booked for your trip.

There are teachers packs available to download  on our website for day trips and residential stays, detailing the activities and timings of your visit.

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

You are welcome to use photos, video and audio equipment to record your trip.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

Teachers will be provided with relevant written risk assessments on request which are designed to aid the process of a risk assessment of your own after a pre-visit to the site. A visit to the Centre is recommended for this reason and also to appreciate the nature of the site and its suitability for your learners.

The Centre is an independent venue but is inspected regularly by Hampshire County Council.

What are the contact details for the Education Team?

The Education Manager is Janet Hammerton


Tel:01730 823166

What does it cost?


• A standard guided day visit from 10 am – 2.30pm costs £8.40 per pupil


• Accompanying adults are free for day visits.


• Residential prices will be produced on request tailored to your group

Is specific clothing required?

The Centre is up on top of the South Downs and we advise flexible clothing for wet and dry, hot and cold as the weather is changeable and can be bleak. An advice sheet is included with your booking.

Do you have first aid on site?

There is good First Aid cover on site and all the Education leaders are First Aid Qualified. For residential visits we expect that qualified First Aid staff come with the school for non guided periods.

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

The Centre provides classroom facilities for eating packed lunches and there is a small shop where recycled pencils, small gifts and postcards may be purchased.

Pupils on residential will be fully catered for with food from our on site restaurant and in addition there is a resident lodge warden and secure overnight alarm system.

Are there disabled facilities?

The Centre has facilities for disabled visitors but it is recommended that leaders discuss their needs with the Education team and Accommodation Staff.

Wheelchair accessible bedrooms, toilets and showers are available in the Lodge and we recommend making a pre –visit to ensure that these will meet your needs.

Do you have any testimonials from previous customers who have visited you on an educational visit?

“This was a highly successful trip. Our year 3 pupils grew in self esteem; they felt a real sense of achievement at the end of the visit. It was a fantastic experience and we would like to come back next year!”

“All very positive. They felt cared for and safe – the centre staff were outstanding!”
Residential visit from year 3 of St. Mary’s Primary School of Bentworth
Head Teacher Kate Heffer

“The learning experience began the moment we arrived at the hostel and all of the planned offsite visits were of high quality and generally tailored to fit the schools curriculum. Overall this was an excellent residential where unique opportunities were provided. There was only positive feedback from the parents”

Residential visit from year 6 of St. Patricks Catholic Primary School of Farnborough
Acting Headteacher Joanne Barton

“ Each day proved to be very different. The structure of the week certainly catered for the wide range of interests that Primary age children have. I can’t praise Janet and her team highly enough for their care and attention to detail.”

Residential visit from year 6 of Rowledge Primary School of Farnham
Headteacher Richard Catchpole

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

Type of Visit: Crafts Environment Centres Green Awareness Outdoor Education Residential School Trips Science & Technology Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Citizenship Design and Technology English Environmental Studies Geography History Science

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

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