Review Down to Earth Project Swansea – Outdoor Adventure Fun in Swansea Bay

Getting our little adventurers outdoors is something both Doc and I are very passionate about.  When we see an attraction which shares our passion and promotes outdoor activities in a safe and practical way I can’t help but try them out.  On our recent trip to Swansea Bay, we visited Down to Earth Project and loved every minute of it.  Here’s our Review of Down to Earth Project Swansea.

What is Down to Earth

Located over two sites in the Swansea Bay area, Down to Earth is Social Enterprise which aims to bring positive change into people’s lives through meaningful outdoor activity. The centres aim to be as sustainable as possible and do remarkable work with communities which would never have the opportunity to experience the outdoors in such a way.  You can find out more about the activities and services that Down to Earth off, here.

What did we do

We arrived on-site for 10 am and met with Ian who would be with us throughout our morning session to help and show us the activities.  We had three hours on-site and Ian had planned for us to try 4 activities, however, as we ended up spending longer at the wood harvesting and tree climbing we managed to do three activities in our time there.

Wood Harvesting

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As a scout leader, I am always keen to learn new ways of getting our children outdoors and trying new activities.  Located on the Down to Earth site, there are woods at the edge of the property.  Ian led us into the woods to find branches which the little adventurers would make into a walking stick.  I loved how Ian took the time to include information about the different trees and plants we came across and also important things to be wary of in the woods so the children knew what things to lookout for themselves without the need for an adult to constantly telling them.  Ian was really good at allowing the little adventurers to try the tools, the loppers were too big for Raihan and Zaya and Ian actively encouraged Maya to try and cut her own walking stick.

Once we were back from the woods, we then had to clean our bark and I loved the simple but practical solution that Down to Earth offered.  Normal potato peelers were perfect for shaving the bark from the tree and it was also a safe and controlled way for Zayn, aged only 4 to have a try.  Not to be beaten by the little adventurers, Doc was totally hands on in the activities and made himself an adult sized walking stick.  To clean off any residue bark, the children then used the side of a normal kitchen blunt serving knife.  Again, I was so impressed that such a simple idea was really effective and watching all three little adventurers beavering away at their tasks was really lovely to see.

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Tree Climbing

Maya had tried Tree climbing with her cub’s pack but the steps up were much more like a climbing wall with hand and foot grips.  At Down to Earth, the tree climb is on a real tree, there is a ladder suspended to a tree, but once in the tree, there are just normal branches to use and the children were given a chance to try this out. Initially, we thought Zayn would be too small for a go, but Ian made an assessment based on what he had seen in the morning, he let him have a try too.  The buysoma children were all involved in various ways even when they were climbing, from pulling the rope, to ladder holding so all were more than entertained even when they weren’t allowed up.

Pyrography

I hadn’t heard of pyrography before visiting Down to Earth and I was really impressed with it.  Pyrography is a method of engraving on wood using a metal solder iron like instrument.  The iron effectively burns the wood and I know lots of people would be reluctant to allow children to have a try.  As a mother and scout, it is all about calculated risks and allowing children to enjoy and learn independence in a secure and safe way. Ian and I were both there to assist the children and the older two at aged 6 and 8 were fully briefed and really able to deal with the iron under our watchful gaze independently and I sat down to help Zayn make his.  The end products were great and our little adventurers are so proud of them, they are fabulous memory to keep of your holidays.

What we loved

  • That everyone, even our youngest at 4 was able to get to get really hands on.  As a scout leader I often have to leave Zayn when we go on these adventures so it was refreshing to have him along and actively being involved
  • Varied activities as within our 3 hours we got to try wood harvesting and shaving, pyrography and tree climbing.
  • The ideas and methods which are used in the activity are really simple but so effective and great way of getting children to interact with nature, ie.e using a potato peeler to take off bark from the wood.
  • Really educational, our guide for the day Ian was great at really passing on information about the trees, nature but also other useful skills like knots and how to safely use a harness
  • The ethos of the company is fantastic, where possible they are trying to build an environmentally sustainable business and use as many of the local natural products as possible.  I love that the Down to Earth project is striving to bring nature and outdoor activities to all sections of the communities.

Things to be aware of

  • All the activities are predominantly outdoors so ensure that you have appropriate footwear for the activities
  • We were blessed with sunshine galore but we randomly had a downpour so always have your wet weather clothes with you as the weather can change very easily
  • The activities are very hands on, so if you are attending with young children, you will need to be hands-on yourselves and oversee your children and help them throughout the activities.
  • If you have any special dietary requirements to bring along your own marshmallows.

Overall, we were really impressed with Down to Earth, after our initial inability to find the location, we left having had a great morning as a family.  I love that the activities offered by the centre are not the “normal” activities which you usually find in activity centres and have a much more emphasis on nature and sustainability as well as just getting children to spend time outdoors. The staff behind the initiative are all passionate and it shines through when you talk to them and its ventures like these which families and visitors to the areas really need to support to help them grow.

We were guests of Down to Earth but views are always honest and we only undertake activities which would happily pay for ourselves.

Nisbah

I am a traveller, mother and blogger. We love to go on adventures (big and small, near and far) and strive to show our children how amazing and beautiful the world is! I caught the travel bug many moons ago and despite having three little adventurers, I still suffer from "itchy" feet. We love the great outdoors and one another. Come and join the fun :)

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