We’ve been around since 1922, when a group of Sunday school teachers from London, took their school children out of the city for the first time, for a holiday designed to improve their health, spiritual and mental wellbeing.
We began as Belgrave Trust and were also called Barnabas Adventure Centres, taking our name from Barnabas who alongside St Paul was an adventurer and an encourager.
In 2009 we changed our name to Rock UK but our values remain and are very much rooted in our heritage and Christian faith.
100 years later, we’re still helping children to have fun, build self-confidence and enjoy new experiences. Read about our key milestones and highlights from our history.
Rock UK began life in 1922 as a Christian holiday home under Belgrave Trust. Sunday school teachers from London decided to take children, who had never been on holiday, out of the city for a time of adventure at Belgrave House in Littlehampton.
A field was rented just west of Littlehampton at Climping to start a canvas camp initially for young men and boys to spend their holiday, just 500 yards from the beach.
Climping Camp was purchased and for fifty years camps were held at Belgrave House and Climping Camp. During this time we worked under the name of Belgrave Trust.
Start of World War II
The home was closed due to the young visitors being sent with their schools to remote places in the countryside under the evacuation scheme. Efforts were made to place the house at the disposal of H.M. Forces but this was met with some difficulty. Camping at Climping was unable to go ahead due to Government restrictions preventing this due to the closeness of the site to the coast!
During World War II
As Littlehampton was in a restricted area, all visitors, other than convalescents vouched for by a Doctor’s certificate, were unable to go to Belgrave House or Climping Camp. The Camp Hut and Cook house at Climping was requisitioned by the Military Authorities.
Post- War Reopening
Climping Camp and Belgrave House reopened to young visitors. Restoration to war damage started.
County Council Control
Came under the control of West Sussex County Council which limited numbers allowed to come to Belgrave House.
The adjoining semi-detached property at Belgrave House known as ‘Lansdowne’ was purchased. Alterations were carried out to combine the two buildings and provide more space for Christian conferences.
50th Golden Jubilee
Belgrave Trust celebrates 50th Golden Jubilee.
A New Centre - Carroty Wood
The decision was made to sell Belgrave House and expand the work. Carroty Wood in Tonbridge was purchased.
Renamed Barnabas Trust
The first of four A-frame buildings, Woodland Lodge was opened at Carroty Wood. We changed our name to Barnabas Trust, taken from the biblical character whose name means ‘son of encouragement’.
60th Year Celebrations
The 60th year Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with an open day at Carroty Wood and the official opening of Chestnut Loft.
Halls Green centre in Sevenoaks Weald was purchased from the Oxford Bermondsey Boys Club.
Whithaugh Park Developed
Whithaugh Park in the Scottish Borders became our fourth centre and was developed into a 200 bedded venue complete with swimming pool and sports hall.
Activities Developed at Carroty Wood
At Carroty Wood, the year saw the development of a new karting track, an archery range, shooting range, BMX track and a climbing and abseil tower.
Developments at Whithaugh Park
At Whithaugh Park a new two-acre lake was created to provide a venue for water sports as well as a climbing and abseiling tower.
Indoor Pool at Carroty Wood
Hornbeam House was opened at Carroty Wood and a new indoor heated swimming pool replaced the outdoor pool.
Frontier Centre - Our Biggest Venue
On the 1st April Frontier Centre began jointly running the centre alongside Northamptonshire Association for Youth Clubs. A 56 bed youth and conference building ‘The Harry Whittaker Lodge’ was built. Land around the centre was purchased, making it our biggest venue at 122 acres.
Activity Provision Extended
Carroty Wood Ventures Associate changed their name to Barnabas Adventure. Activity provision also extended to Halls Green Centre.
The 80th anniversary year of the Trust saw the opening of a new activity building at Frontier Centre. Spruce Lodge provided much needed new offices and living accommodation for instructors.
Barnabas Trust take on full operational control of Frontier Centre with the activities coming under the name Barnabas Adventures.
Climping Closes After 80 Years
A thanksgiving and celebration service was held at Climping Camp on 18th September to celebrate the 80th year. At the end of the year Climping closed.
Rebrand to Rock UK
On 1st October we changed our name to Rock UK Adventure Centres, repositioning the organisation to meet the challenges of a competitive activities market while maintaining its strong Christian ethos. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer”, 2 Samuel 22 v 2.
Whithaugh Zip Wire Opens
Whithaugh Park opened a new 300m twin zip wire.
New Centre in South Wales
Rock UK opened its fourth centre, the Taff Bargoed Centre in Trelewis, South Wales. The centre is renamed Summit Centre.
Summit Centre host the Welsh Climbing Championships welcoming climbers from across the UK. The event continues to be held every year at the centre.
Training Programme Launched
Our Instructor Trainee Programme (ITP) originally called RockSAT was launched. This is an action-packed Christian adventure programme with on the job training providing a good mix of faith, learning and adventure. Since it started we have welcomed over 150 trainees.
Our 90th celebrations began at Frontier Centre with the opening of a new footbridge across to Stanwick Lakes which provided a new phase of water based activities for the centre.
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Frontier Centre and Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) work in partnership to deliver a brand new spotlight session. ‘Above and Beyond’ offers an exciting way for children to learn about the humanitarian effort of MAF.
Bursary Fund Launched
The Rock UK Bursary Fund was launched to help disadvantaged children so that no child is left behind. Since its inception the Bursary Fund has helped over 2,700 children and young people.
LOtC Quality Badge
All four centres achieve the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge. The only nationally recognised benchmark to help schools identify good quality and safe provision.
Bike Skills Park Opens at Whithaugh
A new bike skills park and pump track is opened at Whithaugh Park centre.
Rock UK’s branding gets a refresh to give a more distinctive presence and a new mobile optimised website is launched.
£4m redevelopment of Summit Centre
Work starts on the £4m redevelopment of Summit Centre. The former coal mine was turned into a unique destination offering fully catered, 104 bed ensuite accommodation, meeting rooms, an indoor climbing centre, café and outdoor children’s play area.
Summit Centre Opens
On 24th February Summit Centre opened its café and outdoor play area. Later in June the centre welcomed its first residential group.
We Welcome HRH Prince of Wales
On 22nd February, we welcomed His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to Summit Centre. On his visit the Prince toured the new facility and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening.
Summit Wins Tourism Award
In October, Summit Centre won the South East Wales Tourism Award for ‘Best Regional Activity Provider’.
Aerial Adventure Opens at Frontier Centre
With funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Frontier Centre opened its brand new Aerial Adventure course in February. The course includes high ropes, abseil tower, abseil slope, climbing wall, twin zip wire and several thrilling team building challenges.
Summit Opens Gym
In May, Summit Centre opened its gym and two new activities ‘crate stack’ and ‘vertical challenge’ were added to the high ropes.
Rock UK Celebrates 100 years
Rock UK runs four adventure centres across the UK, welcoming over 60,000 visitors a year, bringing adventure into learning to transform young lives.