About us

​Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre has been operating since 1964. We are all about challenging outdoor adventure activities in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park, with a warm and comfortable base in an old coaching inn.

Our multi-activity outdoor education courses aim to promote resilience, self-confidence, consideration for others, caring for the environment and the benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle. This comes from enjoying the successes achieved through personal endeavour and working together, in wild and beautiful landscapes.

​  Meet the team

  • Dan Dan

    Dan Rhodes (aka Dan the Man)
    Outdoor Education Practitioner.

    Dan has been part of the Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre team for 3 and a half years. Before joining Longtown, Dan worked as an Outdoor Instructor at another local authority centre. From the age of 14, he was a Police Cadet and progressed on to being an instructor. He is also a Combat Engineer in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.

    Why Outdoor Learning?

    "I have always loved the outdoors and many sporting activities."

    Favourite activity at Longtown?

    Caving.

    Main hobbies

    • Golf
    • Badminton
    • Cycling
    • Walking
    • Skiing

    Things Dan hates

    • Glitter
    • Traffic Jams
    • Tuna

    Things Dan loves

    • Music
    • Chips
    • Fast cars
  • Dave Dave

    Meet David Barber! (Aka Dave)
    Instructor

    Before Dave worked at Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre he was a P.E. and Outdoor Education Teacher, and has since been working at Longtown for 10 years.

    Why outdoor learning?

    "I love being outside in ever changing scenery and weather."

    Favourite Longtown activity

    Gorge walking.

    Hobbies

    • Journeys 
    • Canoeing
    • Skiing
    • Walking

    Things Dave loves

    • Tea
    • Cake
    • Good friends
    • Facebook

    Things Dave dislikes

    • Marmite
    • Facebook
    • Dog poo
  • Dean Dean

    Meet ​Dean! (aka Deano)
    Outdoor Education Practitioner.

    Dean joined Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre in April 2016. Before joining Longtown, he worked for other local authorities delivering very similar courses, often for challenging behaviours. He has a diploma in Science and a degree in Outdoor activities and leisure management. In addition to this, he also worked as a Crew Manager for South Wales Fire and Rescue service. Dean's working days are usually far from normal!

    Why Outdoor Learning?

    "I really love spending time outdoors, and living and working in such a beautiful area. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and introducing people to possible new experiences. 

    We are lucky to be in an area where all this is readily available. It never gets boring either as the people you work with change and also the environment we work in changes throughout the year. An ever changing office... can't beat that."

    Favourite Longtown activity

    "My favourite activity would be hard to choose, but gorge walking and rock climbing are certainly my favourites."

    Hobbies

    • Rock climbing
    • Mountaineering
    • Mountain biking
    • Caving

    Things Dean loves

    • Music
    • Climbing
    • Films
    Things Dean dislikes
    • Tuna
    • Posh smelling candles 
    • The colour pink 
  • Drew Drew

    ​Meet Andrew Miller! (Aka Draw or Vicar)
    Freelance Instructor .

    Andrew left his home town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, with A levels in Maths, Physics and Product Design before a very short lived pursuit of Aerospace Engineering at Rolls-Royce, Bristol.

    He completed a traineeship at Longtown that started in September 2008 before becoming a full-time youth worker for the Gateway Church in Abergavenny. He now enjoy's working part time as the Young Families Worker at the church as well as working as a freelance instructor at Longtown. 

    Why outdoor learning?

    "Realising engineering was too much sitting around and with little career guidance, google search came into play - 'jobs working outside with young people'. I never know where life is being led but after years of seeing confidence grow in the lives of young people I'm pleased it's led me this way. I would rather a rainy day outside than a sunny day inside." 

    Favourite activity at Longtown?

    Gorge Walking.

    Hobbies

    • Football
    • Paddling
    • Holidays

    Things Drew loves

    • Curry
    • Drumming
    • Strong white tea with no sugar

    Things Drew dislikes

    • Horror films
    • Talking about animal operations over meal times
    • Salad served with warm food
  • Jane Jane

    Meet Jane Wright!​
    Centre administrator.

    As part of the Longtown team, she liaises with schools and other groups, and looks after the admin and finances.

    Jane started work in an Outdoor Education Centre as a volunteer when she was 25. Before this, she worked in Personnel Management with a multinational engineering company. They kindly sent her on a 2 week management training course at Outward Bound Eskdale. This was one of her most challenging, yet rewarding and memorable experiences and decided that she was in the wrong job!

    After having her children, she trained as a secondary school Science teacher, and had the opportunity to take groups to Morocco, Corsica and on the odd skiing trip. Much of what she learnt through her own experiences in Outdoor Education, as an active participant, and as an outdoor practitioner, guided her classroom teaching – these were lessons for life. After 15 years in the classroom, she went back into Outdoor Learning.
     
    Things Jane loves​
    • Being with her family
    • Spending time in the mountains
    • Walking
    • Scrambling
    • Skiing
  • Kai Kai

    Meet Kai Thomas!
    Apprentice Instructor.

    Kai has been part of the Longtown Outdoor Learning team since October 2016.

    Kai studied outdoor activities at Usk college in 2014 to 2016. From there he worked as a casual instructor at various organisations such as Boulders and Torfaen sports development, as well as freelancing as a climbing instructor.

    Why Outdoor Learning?

    "I chose outdoor learning as I enjoy being outdoors and exploring in different ways, and having the opportunity to pass on the knowledge I have learnt to members of the public."

    Favourite activity at Longtown
     
    "My favourite activity at Longtown is Gorge Walking, I enjoy the adrenaline rush I get when I stand at the top of the waterfalls before I jump."
     
    Hobbies
    • Climbing 
    • Mountain biking 
    • Canoeing 
    "But I am willing to give other things a go. I'm always keen to learn new skills and try new activities."
    Things Kai loves
    • Pasta
    • Baking
    • Running
    Things Kai dislikes
    • Shopping
    • Video games
    • Brussel sprouts
  • Mike Fawcett Mike Fawcett

    Meet Mike Fawcett!
    Head of Centre and Outdoor Education Adviser.

    Mike's love for the outdoors started through Scouts and through visits to his family in the Lake District. He joined the Royal Navy as an officer after leaving school which expanded his horizons in many ways, not least by allowing him to develop a love of Mountaineering and Kayaking across the UK and overseas too. Mike was very fortunate to take part in exciting expeditions to Europe, Africa and South America. He left the Royal Navy in 1996 to retrain as a teacher specialising in Outdoor Activities and Maths (secondary) and has worked as a teacher in many different settings for almost 20 years. Before returning to Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre, he was Deputy Head teacher of Cross Ash Primary School in Monmouthshire.

    "I first came to work at the centre as Deputy Head in 2005. After 5 years I decided to have a change and work in Primary Education.  In 2016 the opportunity to return to the centre as Head of Centre and Outdoor Education Adviser arose and I jumped at the chance!"

    Why Outdoor Learning?

    "Outdoor Learning is exciting, inspirational and real. It give children and adults the opportunity to experience the awe and wonder of nature whilst being challenged and developed in so many different ways."

    Favourite Longtown activity

    "Very hard to choose.  I love any committing team adventure whether underground in a cave, exploring a river by foot or boat and especially climbing to the summit of a mountain."

    Hobbies

    • Running in the mountains
    • Reading historical novels
    • Training with the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team

    Things Mike loves

    • Roast dinners
    • Cakes
    • The coast

    Things Mike dislikes

    • Egg mayonnaise
    • Hot chocolate
    • Velvet
  • Mike Wright Mike Wright

    ​Meet Mike Wright!
    Deputy Head of Centre

    Mike thinks that positive and reflective outdoor education gives people the chance to achieve extraordinary things together, to share and celebrate their achievements, and to reflect on how their experiences might guide and influence their future. 

    When not at work he loves being with his family. He also loves being in the mountains, whether he is walking, running, climbing, scrambling or skiing.

  • Rae Rae

    ​Meet Rae Hardy!
    Outdoor learning practitioner.

    Rae qualified as a primary school teacher in 2008 in Bangor, North Wales and has been working in the outdoor industry ever since. She worked in Sussex, the Peak District, on the Isle of Wight and in South Wales. Rae is also in the local Mountain Rescue team. 

    Rae started working at Longtown in February 2010 but after nearly 3 years she left to further her professional development and worked on the Coast. Rae rejoined the team in September 2016.

    Why outdoor learning?

    "I love being outside in the countryside and I believe children can learn so much about the world around them by being immersed in it.

    They learn to be good citizens, help and look out for one another, become more confident and more independent as individuals and we can teach some of their work topics as along the way. What could be better when learning about rivers than to put on a pair of wellies, walk right up to the source and do all the finding out as you scramble back down it?"

    Favourite Longtown acitivity 

    "Caving. It is such a good activity for bringing out the best in people and it's an experience that young people don't get to have in Northamptonshire itself."

    Hobbies 

    • Caving
    • Mountain Walking
    • Canoeing
    • Climbing

    Things Rae loves

    • Dogs
    • Anything pink
    • Indian food

    Things Rae dislikes

    • Being indoors
    • Horror movies
    • Meat
  • Tess Tess

    Meet Tess Witheridge!
    Apprentice Instructor.

    Tess joined the Longtown Outdoor Learning team in October 2016.

    She grew up in the Lake District, spending her weekends up on the fells or out on a lake either with family or scouts. She studied Maths, Physics and Product Design A Level at QEGS Penrith before starting at Longtown.

    Why outdoor learning?

    "I have spent most of my life exploring the Great Outdoors and love to pass on what I have discovered to others."

    Favourite activity at Longtown

    "Caving, definitely."

    Hobbies

    "Anything in the outdoors is a good start! Or if the weather is not so good, you'll find me doing a bit of woodwork, perhaps carving myself a new spoon."

    Things Tess loves

    • Tree climbing
    • Camp fires
    • Treacle tart

    Things Tess dislikes

    • Ants
    • Bananas
    • Sticky weed
  • Tony Tony

    ​Meet Tony Keech! (aka Tone)
    Instructor

    Tony occasionally works as an Instructor at Longtown. Before this he was a teacher at Kingsthorpe College.

    Why outdoor learning?

    "There are fantastic opportunities for learning and having fun."

    Favourite activity at Longtown?

    Mountain adventures.

    Hobbies

    • Mountaineering
    • Running
    • Painting

    Things Tony loves

    • Good food
    • His familys
    • Wasps

    Things Tony dislikes

    • Litter
    • Driving
    • Getting cold

Find out what a typical day at Longtown is like

 

​"The children felt that they had been challenged and supported to meet their own goals without being pressured too much.” 

Longtown OAC Caving

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Jamie's Farm Hereford Gorge Adventure

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A great day with the team from Jamie's Farm Hereford today tackling all sorts of challenges in the Sychryd gorge!

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Great to have Owen Burson from Adventure Activities UK with us today. Owen has been appointed as the centre's Technical Adviser for Paddlesports. Owe...

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Hay on Wye Scouts Caving

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The Cavers from Hay.......an intrepid group of Scouts from 1st Hay on Wye Scout Group tackled Ogof Clogwyn at night - the smiles say it all!

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First for Wellbeing delivering services on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council.