A child holding a net crouches beside a ranger who shows her an insect that they have caught.

Schools and Groups

Ranger-led sessions

To make a booking or find out about availability please contact the Education Ranger by emailing ku.oc.yellav-sroomobfsctd@noitacude.

All sessions are led by the rangers of Dorset Council. For all activities, we set a maximum of 16 children to 1 ranger. Sessions vary in length from 1 hour through to 4 hours.

All schools and children’s clubs are welcome to take part in these activities. The recommended age group for each activity is given but some activities can be adapted to suit other ages.

Most of the activities are suitable for students with special needs, some are more suitable than others; please contact the Education Ranger if you would like to discuss the suitability of any of the activities or talk about any adaptations that could be made. Please refer to our Accessibility for details of our accessible facilities.

Pre-visits from group leaders are also welcome.

Rangers will provide all instructions and equipment for the activity. Group leaders and helpers are encouraged to become involved in the activities. Group leaders remain responsible for the behaviour of the group at all times.

A timetable is produced for each booking. Please ensure you allow enough time for your group to arrive, walk from the coach park to the Visitor Centre, use the toilets and be ready for the session start time.

Please be aware some of the activities are held a short walk (5-10 mins) away from the Visitor Centre so starting times are important to ensure you don’t lose any activity time.

Please ensure you have read the important information for schools section below in advance of your visit which contains advice about ticks, recommended clothing and other safety information.

Choose a Ranger-led session:

Treemendous Trees

Trees are great; what would our landscape be without them? Think of all the wildlife they support, not to mention all the thousands of ways we use timber.

These three activities focus on the variety, beauty and structure of trees as well as encouraging children to enjoy being in a woodland.

Meet a Tree

A chance to make friends with a tree. Children will be blindfolded and led to their tree, feeling all around the tree touching the bark, branches and leaves until they think they know their tree really well. They are led away and the blindfold is removed before they have to go and find their tree to appreciate even trees of the same species are quite different if only you take the time to look closely.

Tree Passports

A chance to discover all about different trees, looking closely at what makes trees individual. We will take bark rubbings to look at the texture and leaf prints to see the tree’s fingerprints.

Woodland Identification

A look at simple identification of trees and woodland flora and who might call it home.

Time:1.5 hours

Key stage: 1-2

Mega Minibeasts

During the spring and summer creepy crawlies abound in all sorts of habitats. Children will be amazed at the variety and number of minibeasts they will discover and find them fascinating to observe up close.

Minibeast Safari

An introductory session for children to explore the world of minibeasts and the habitats in which they live. Using pitfall traps, sweep nets and magnifying pots in the woodland and meadows, children will discover creatures such as woodlice, ground beetles, spiders, crickets and butterflies.

Time: 1 hour

Key stage: 1 – 2

Pond Dipping

Water provides a home for a huge variety and number of animals. Children will be amazed to see what they can catch with a sweep of a net through one of our ponds; waterboatmen, dragonfly nymphs, diving beetles, newts and many, many more.

An introductory session where children can discover for themselves the huge variety of pond life. After a demonstration, the children will work in groups, taking it in turns to dip with a net and put the creatures in a tray to study. A ranger will help the children identify the creatures using a simple key.

Time: 1 hour
Key stage: 1-2

Nature Trundle

A tailor-made session lasting an hour, based around the natural environment and wildlife. Perfect for little ones, a mixture of fun activities keeps the children engaged whilst they discover our great outdoors. Activities may include I-Spy, animal spot, animal homes or minibeast hunt.

Time: 1 hour
Age: 2 years and over

Ranger Den

Another session that can be tailored to suit requirements. This may also be the most appropriate for SEN groups. Up close with captive native wildlife, sensory activities and a chance to try some crafts in a more managed environment of the Ranger Den educational space.

Time: 1-4 hours
Age: 2 years and over

Self-led Visits

Moors Valley welcomes back minibus and coach parking for schools and groups taking part in educational and pre-booked activities.

When: Monday to Friday, term time only.
Who: Schools and groups visiting the park for educational and pre-booked activities.
Visit type: Ranger-led, instructor-led or pre-booked activities, such as Go Ape or accessible cycling.
Booking essential: Please call 01425 470721 prior to your visit to book your minibus parking. Groups taking part in Ranger-led education do not need to pay for parking, but minibuses must still be booked in for the day. After booking please read the additional information for group leaders below.


  • Please be aware facilities such as the toilets and play areas can become very busy at peak times throughout the day.
  • Many school groups have found it beneficial to wear identifiable clothing e.g. school sunhats, not only for sun protection but to enable quick recognition at busy times.
  • On arrival one member of your group should visit the Information Point, within the Visitor Centre, to confirm their arrival and to have their parking validated for the day.

Important information for school and group visits

Additional Information For Group Leaders

This guide is designed to help you plan and make the most of your group visit to Moors Valley. Please contact our friendly team of Education Rangers if you have any questions relating to your visit that are not covered in this guide.

Preliminary Visits

  • To ensure a happy and safe visit, group leaders are asked to make a preliminary visit. This is essential for your first visit and parking is free. Our Education Rangers can meet you to discuss programmes and group requirements, as well as answer any questions you may have.
  • Please email ku.oc.yellav-sroomobfsctd@sregnar to book your preliminary visit.

Coaches, Minibuses and Cars

  • Coach and Minibus parking must be booked in advance. Please visit our coach and minibus parking page for further information. Payment should be made through the Visitor Centre before arrival; cash, cheques and credit cards are accepted.
  • Cars do not need to book in advance, payment is made at the pay stations opposite the Visitor Centre before leaving.
  • We recommend that all groups visiting by coach or minibus bring an additional vehicle if possible. This has been useful in the past when people have fallen ill or needed a hospital visit.
  • Parking is free for groups who have organised and paid for Ranger-led activities.


  • Please let us know as soon as possible if you will not be able to attend your visit.
  • If one months notice is given you will not be charged. We reserve the right to charge in full for any cancellations within one month of the date of the activity.


  • Please follow guidelines set by your Local Education Authority or parent organisation with regard to taking groups on trips and carrying out fieldwork.
  • All schools/groups are asked to make their own risk assessments for visiting the park and will remain solely responsible for the behaviour and discipline of the group.

Accidents and First Aid

  • Rangers are not currently administering first aid, other than in life-threatening situations. It is recommended for group leaders to carry comprehensive first aid kits on visits.
  • Cuts and grazes should be covered with a waterproof plaster.

Health Risks In The Countryside

  • Adders live in and around the Park and Forest. If you are very lucky you may see one, but they will normally hear you first and hide.
  • Ticks are present across the Park and Forest, at the end of your visit all group members should brush themselves off and check for any ticks.
  • If any ticks are found it is important they are removed correctly as this will reduce the chance of infection.
  • We advise visiting your local minor injuries unit if you have any concerns.

Picnic Areas and Refreshments

  • There are picnic areas near Moors Lake and the start of the Play Trail.
  • There are no undercover eating areas at Moors Valley.


  • There are no litter bins at Moors Valley.
  • Please be prepared to carry your litter with you and to take it home at the end of your visit.

Lost Children

  • Should you lose any children in your care please let the Rangers know as soon as you can so we can organise a search.
  • Either telephone 01425 470721, or report to the Visitor Centre.

Lost Property

  • Please report or hand in any items lost or found to a Ranger in the Visitor Centre.

Clarification of responsibilities

The Rangers at Moors Valley Country Park want you to have an enjoyable and memorable visit. To help you with this, please take a few minutes to read the following guidelines designed for visiting groups. They indicate the responsibilities and expectations for both group leaders visiting the park and the Rangers here at Moors Valley.

Clarification Of Responsibilities For Ranger-Led Visits

Moors Valley Staff Responsibilities

A member of staff will meet you at the Visitor Centre at the start of your day. During your visit they will co-ordinate the activities as planned and advise the group leader of any known hazards. All equipment is provided for Ranger-led activities. All Moors Valley Rangers are first aid qualified and carry supplies during all activities, although the prime responsibility lies with the group leader.

Group Leader’s Responsibilities – Before Your Visit

To ensure a happy and safe visit, group leaders are asked to make a preliminary visit. This is essential for your first visit and parking is free. A Ranger can meet you to discuss programmes and group requirements, as well as answer any questions you may have. Please call 01425 470721 to book your preliminary visit.

Groups visiting Moors Valley are advised to make their own risk assessments. All Ranger-led activities have risk assessments prepared for them, if you would like to see any of these please ask on booking. If you would like advice on preparing your risk assessment, please ask when you make your booking.

Group Leader’s Responsibilities – During Your Visit

On the day of the visit group leaders will be asked to produce a copy of their signed booking form. This confirms that the group leader in charge on the day has read, understood and agreed to these guidelines and the ‘information for group visits’. This includes health risks in the countryside and the possibility of students picking up ticks. Whilst the Rangers will endeavour to carry out tick checks during and after the session, it is advisable that group leaders also carry out checks throughout the day.

Please remember, there are no litter bins at Moors Valley. Please come prepared to take your rubbish away with you. Weather conditions can change quickly, and the woodland and meadow can become very wet and muddy. It is the group leader’s responsibility to ensure students are wearing appropriate footwear and clothing. We recommend that students cover their skin up as much as possible, wear a sun hat and use sun cream. Group leaders and adult assistants are expected to take an active part in the visit and will remain responsible for the group’s behaviour and discipline at all times.

Moors Valley staff have the right to exclude from the visit anyone who is not properly equipped or fails to comply with the above conditions.


Can I bring a barbecue (BBQ)?

To protect the forest and wildlife, open flames, including, but not limited to BBQs, camping stoves, pizza ovens and fires are not permitted at Moors Valley.

What happens if we have an accident?

Rangers are on hand to administer first aid or provide situational support if a life-threatening situation arises. We will also endeavour to assist with providing suitable first aid supplies and advice where possible.

Can I visit Moors Valley in a campervan or motorhome

Yes, you can. Our car park does not have height restrictions, therefore high vehicles are able to access parking. Any vehicle with less than 13 seats is classed as a car for vehicle charges. During busy times car park attendants direct vehicles to the most suitable space for their vehicle type and size. We also have a coach park area for particularly large vehicles. 

Vehicles, including campervans and motorhomes are not permitted to stay on site overnight. 

Visit our parking charges for more.