Active Outdoor Learning


Active Outdoor Learning


As a Community Interest Company (CIC), we’re passionate about providing affordable and accessible outdoor learning opportunities for our community and all of our profits are used to develop our site and continually improve the range of activities we have on offer.


A specialist in delivering outdoor activities, Challenge Academy offers adventure programmes for all ages and abilities.  But we are much more than this – our amazing team understand that moving beyond the comfort zone is different for everyone and it must be carefully managed if it is going to be a positive experience.  We offer a range of adventure experiences, learning opportunities, training and resoures to meet the differing needs of everyone.  We guarantee fun, learning, inclusion and affordability.


Multi-Activity site in the heart of the Black Country with loads of exciting challenges for all ages and abilities from 4 years up to very very old.  We are a Community Interest Company so all profits ensure that we are able to sustain and improve.  Open all year round to the general public and organisations.

learning and development

Challenge Academy is led by experienced teachers, facilitators and ex-military instructors. All of our courses and programmes are appropriate to a range of desired outcomes. Most importantly we have worked hard to get our courses accredited with recognised and credible national training and awarding bodies.

challenge kit

Our Challenge Kit is ideally suited to support the positive development of people and teams of any age and ability. Our range of products and services are all tried and tested with a focus on developing team values and personal qualities.  We deliver training alongside any kit sale to ensure that facilitators bring the learning to life.

training and accreditation

Our training packages and courses are will upskill your staff to enable delivery of our services. All training is supported by relevant qualifications. It is widely recognised across all sectors that ‘soft skills’ enable the qualities, behaviours and attributes needed to succeed in the workplace. Challenge Academy deliver specific services to support these qualities and behaviours. 


We have the knowledge, skills, experience and attitudes required to make an impact.  All of our staff, permanent and part time, are passionate about active outdoor learning and its’ far reaching benefits for lifelong learning.

Mel Ellis – Managing Director

Mel is a qualified PE teacher and retired RAF Squadron Leader (Physical Education Branch) who specialised as a Parachute Jump Instructor during his 16 year Service career. Key military roles have included leading the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team, managing the leadership and physical fitness programmes of officer cadets at RAF College Cranwell, and commanding the RAF Parachute Training School After leaving the RAF Mel then spent 10 years directing operations at Closer to the Edge Ltd – he is now at Challenge Academy, having a more ‘hands on’ involvement to develop the wide range of services and products. Mel is an Accredited Practitioner for the Institute of Outdoor Learning.

Sam Jackson – Operations Manager

Sam has a degree in Sports Science and is an experienced facilities manager, having managed large leisure facilities in the Middle East for 5 years. As a qualified Level 2 Cricket Coach and a Level 3 Personal Trainer Sam is well equipped for working at Challenge Academy, where he is tasked with managing the operational aspects of our facility and developing our health and fitness offer. He is very passionate about outdoor experiential learning and his role incorporates his love of working with people and managing a talented team.

Greg Brookes-Clayton – Learning and Development

Greg is a qualified teacher with significant experience in the field of Special Educational Needs (SEN). Prior to joining Challenge Academy, Greg completed his teaching career as Head of Pupil Referral Unit in Derby City. Over the past few years Greg has developed an exceptional offer for the Education Sector, fine-tuned his own facilitation skills and worked tirelessly to have his training CPD approved and nationally accredited by Ofqual. He is now responsible for the Learning and Development within Challenge Academy CIC and is busy extending the offer to Education, Criminal Justice, Welfare to Work, Care, and Health sectors. Greg is a qualified trainer for Mental Health First Aid.

Chris Smith – Senior Facilitator

Chris, a retired teacher of 30 years, is a qualified ropes instructor who acts as both an integral part of the adventure hub team and specialises in taking our mobile equipment into schools, youth organisations and corporate settings. He has 24 years experience as Head of P.E. at The Kingswinford School, meaning he is well-equipped to deliver outdoor activity with the aim of developing participant’s soft skills. With an emphasis on fun, he believes outdoor activity can bring about instant rewards and ‘light bulb moments’ for individuals, groups and instructors, where everyone involved can achieve and learn something about themselves.


Baggeridge Country Park, Gospel End Rd, Sedgley DY3 4HB.

You will find us just below the park tea shop.  Park your vehicle, pay for parking and walk down the track.

01384 429864

Office Hours Mon-Fri 0900 - 1600

Business facilities funded by:


We have put all of the necessary processes in place to ensure your safety.  You will have to book online as we are limiting access to site.

'Kids had an amazing time yesterday.  Thank you to all of your staff for making the session fun but with background covid issues adhered to.  Kids finally felt free to explore and just enjoy themselves.  Well Done.' - Charlotte Smart - Facebook Review 5 July 2020

Our brand new adventure facilities have been part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development


Striving to ensure that challenge and 'active outdoor learning' opportunities are available, inclusive and accessible

© 2016 Challenge Academy CIC

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