Den-making revived by Devon kids ahead of summer holidays

  Den-making revived by Devon kids ahead of summer holidays

Children from South Devon primary school embark on a digital detox and reconnect with nature this week by learning the art of den-making at Beyond Escapes Devon

Over twenty pupils from Collaton St Mary’s Primary School swapped the classroom for the countryside on Tuesday this week when they spent the afternoon learning how to BE Wild and build a den. 

Mark Sears of The Wild Network and WildWise’s Chris Salisbury encouraged the youngsters to let their imaginations run wild, showing them how to build strong and different den structures. The children were then let loose in the Beyond Escapes grounds to forage for natural materials to create their very own dens. The Den of the Day was awarded to Thea, Summer, Jasmine and Gracie from Year 5. 

The day marked the launch of Beyond Escapes’ new den-revival initiative BE Wild! It follows a study of 1,000 parents which found that over a third, 36 per cent, of UK mums and dads don’t think their children spend enough time playing outside.

Whilst parents themselves nostalgically remember tree climbing (19 per cent), den-making (17 per cent), playing hide and seek (12 per cent) and even making mud pies (5 per cent) as some of their favourite childhood activities, they don’t think their own kids get outdoors enough – and are looking for ways to get them off their smart phones and engaged with the wild.

With the summer holidays just a few weeks away, Beyond Escapes Devon has introduced complimentary BE Wild! den-making kits on a first come, first served basis for a limited number of guests staying at the resort. The free to hire kits, which include instructions, a basic den, guides on foraging for natural materials, camouflage face paints, games to play in the den and more, can be enjoyed at leisure in the Beyond Escapes Devon grounds.


Beyond Escapes is supporting Save the Children by raising money for the charity’s Den Day initiative, helping to build a better world and make sure children have a safe place to sleep and play. It is hoping to raise over £1,000 for Save the Children, with 50 pence donated for every different den picture posted on social media using #BEaDenHero, of dens built at the Beyond Escapes Devon resort.

Mark Sears, from The Wild Network and Director of Dens at Beyond Escapes Devon commented:

“We’ve had a fantastic day of rewilding with the children and launching the BE Wild! initiative. Getting kids outside, inspiring them with activities like den building and at the same time detoxing from their smart-phones and tablets is what we’re all about.

Over the last few years we’ve seen more and more families and communities remembering the simple pleasures of being outdoors and how it can really help children thrive in the modern world.

Families and big kids too can enjoy foraging for materials and creating their own den masterpiece during their stay. I’m sure it will be a huge success, den building is a fantastic activity whatever the weather.”

Although many parents, 32 per cent, have built dens with their children during the past six-months, these are made from mainly sheets, curtains, chairs and towels; indoors, in the lounge research revealed. In fact, 52 per cent of all dens are now made at home in the bedroom, playroom or lounge, with only 23 per cent made in an outdoor space. So, now is the time to turn this around to bring back the true den building experience!

For those keen to get den building in their own garden, or to practise their den building skills before visiting Beyond Escapes Devon, follow these seven key steps produced by BE Wild! 

1.         Find: Locate your perfect den spot

2.         Forage: Source the material you want to use to make your den

3.         Foundation: Pick your base tree to build your den around

4.         Frame: Construct your den frame

5.         Finesse: Add the final personal touches to your den

6.         Fun: Games to play with your new den

7.         Friends: Make den friends and have lots of adventure


Helena Wiltshire, from Save the Children, added: “We’re thrilled that Beyond Escapes will be supporting Save the Children’s Den Day. The BE Wild! ‘re-wilding’ initiative is a fantastic way to encourage families to spend quality time together, get creative and build some dens this summer. We hope lots of families get involved and have some fun, whilst raising as much money as possible!

The funds raised will enable Save the Children to help transform children’s lives and provide them with the things they need to grow up healthy and happy, like a safe place to shelter or a vaccination to protect them from pneumonia. All children deserve the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”

For more information on Beyond Escapes or to book, call 0333 230 4538 or visit