New “classroom” for university

L-R (Subject leader) Peter Gilliver, (Dean of Buxton Faculty) Dr Peter Dewhurst and (lecturer) Nicola Taylor with students at Oaklands Manor
L-R (Subject leader) Peter Gilliver, (Dean of Buxton Faculty) Dr Peter Dewhurst and (lecturer) Nicola Taylor with students at Oaklands Manor

A 58-acre outdoor pursuits centre in the heart of the Peak District will soon be the new ‘classroom’ for hundreds of University of Derby Buxton and Buxton College students.

The University has purchased the former World Challenge Leadership and Development Centre at Oaklands Manor on Manchester Road, Buxton, to provide its outdoor, adventure and countryside management degree students with a dedicated space, where they can develop leadership management and outdoor activity skills.

The 58 acres of mixed woodland was purchased complete with a 30 foot high climbing wall, a complex high ropes course including a ‘leap of faith’, three low ropes courses and an artificial underground caving course.

It also includes purpose-built accommodation suitable for outwards bounds groups, team building facilities and the Oaklands Manor House itself. The University plans to use the centre to deliver experiential learning to its students; not only will they learn and hone their skills on the site, but they will also be given the opportunity to run the facilities as a commercial operation.

The site also contains dry stone walls, broad leaved woodlands and moorland landscapes, where countryside management degree students will have the opportunity to develop their estate management skills by playing a large part in the site’s long term sustainability. Professor John Coyne, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The purchase of the Oaklands Manor site reflects our continued investment in ensuring our students have access to world class experiential learning opportunities, so they graduate fully equipped for the world of work.

“The outdoor pursuits centre will add to our portfolio of facilities at the Devonshire Campus in Buxton which already includes on-site kitchens and a restaurant, a spa, and hair and beauty salons where hospitality and culinary arts, spa and beauty students study.

“This further investment provides our outdoor students with an equivalent dedicated provision where they can hone their specialised skills.”