Team Building in the Devon Countryside

Helen Stiles discovers a range of team building packages in Devon to inspire your workforce.

Seeing your Secretary whizz down an aerial zip wire or your Head of Sales covered from head to toe in mud may sound like a bizarre way of rejuvenating your workforce but getting them to take on some new challenges in the glorious Devon countryside could be just the tonic when it comes to inspiring jaded staff. Team building has long been seen as a real benefit, helping employees to bond, discover new talents and realise each other's strengths. This knowledge can then be taken back into the workplace and applied to the daily routine.

Roger and Clare Sells, who run CRS Adventures, based in 90 acres of woodland at the River Dart Country Park, have seen a huge range of clients come on their team-building days, from the armed forces and school staff training to local authorities and blue-chip companies. Activities vary, depending on the time of year, but usually include team tasks, problem-solving, high ropes and other tree-top activities as well as climbing, caving, kayaking and abseiling, and challenges that involve delegates covering large swathes of the moor.

"We work closely with a number of other businesses to provide our team-building packages at various locations around Dartmoor such as white-water rafting on the River Dart," says Clare. "We can also arrange a motivational speaker if you feel your team needs a bit of inspiration," she adds.

At the Langdon Court Hotel at Wembury, team-building programmes are run by Reach Another Level within the glorious grounds of this Tudor hotel. They have a wide variety of fun and team motivational events to fit a broad range of requirements, tackling issues such as low morale, underperformance and new team establishment. Their 'Team Time In the Country' involves a team working together to find a series of clues, then cracking a code which leads to a hidden object, a sort of grown-up treasure hunt. However, this adult version requires the whole team to work together and tests team skills and collective contributions.

"Challenges like this replicate a day in the life of a busy workplace," says Reach Another Level's MD John Giblin. "It's loaded with situations that we all face on a daily basis, the difference being that this is all done in the glorious Devon countryside rather than an office environment, and the team leaves with lessons learned and skills that can be applied to the workplace." Their Team Fun events, set around well-known themes, include 'I'm An Employee, Get Me Out of Here!' with its unusual menu and jungle-style challenges, 'Office Olympics' and 'Dragons' Apprentice', all of which require colleague support and co-operation.

At the Ashcombe Adventure Centre near Dawlish, this family-run business has taken the concept of team building into the gladiatorial arena with a Gladiator Assault Course. "Often taking people out of their comfort zone really brings out strengths not previously recognised in a work day, and getting different people to be the team leader on various tasks gives everyone a chance to shine and show their particular talents," says Manager Tony Staples. Their Krypton Factor-style Activators course of about a dozen elements spread throughout the grounds, gets teams working together to solve puzzles or take on physical challenges. For those who love to problem solve, the Aggravator Puzzles, a series of eight giant outdoor challenges including Battleships and Sudoku will give those grey cells plenty of exercise.

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So, if your workforce looks like it needs something to put some pep in their step this spring, a bit of team building in the Devon countryside could be just the ticket to reinvigorate them and may even reveal previously undiscovered inner talents.


CRS Adventures, The Coach House, Holne Park, Ashburton.

(01364 653444),

Ashcombe Adventure Centre,

Colley Lane, Ashcombe, nr Dawlish. (01626 866766),

Langdon Court Hotel, Wembury, Plymouth.

(01752 862358),

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