Earth Centre transformed into adventure site

Darren Pallett (Head of Property at Kingswood) on the zip-wire. The public-funded white elephant The Earth Centre, has now been redeveloped and re-opened as Kingswood Dearne Valley educational facility. The Earth Centre was created by Doncaster Council for the millennium but failed as a visitor attraction, it was purchased for an 'undisclosed sum' by Kingswood last year. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
Darren Pallett (Head of Property at Kingswood) on the zip-wire. The public-funded white elephant The Earth Centre, has now been redeveloped and re-opened as Kingswood Dearne Valley educational facility. The Earth Centre was created by Doncaster Council for the millennium but failed as a visitor attraction, it was purchased for an 'undisclosed sum' by Kingswood last year. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
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EIGHT years after it last welcomed visitors, the site which was once the Denaby Main Earth Centre is back up and running at last.

Tomorrow will see two South Yorkshire schools becoming the first to try out the facilities, as their pupils visit the Kingswood Dearne Valley adventure activity centre which has been set up on the site.

A group of pupils from Denaby Main Primary School and a party of teenagers from Wath Comprehensive will have the honour of attending on opening day.

Delighted staff at the centre are pleased to be in the position to go ahead and run activities six months after Kingswood started work at the site, having taken over from Doncaster Council.

Now, they have completed a programme of work, including building residential blocks , so school groups can stay overnight.

The blocks are named after former South Yorkshire collieries and have room for 64 children and their teachers.

They have also constructed facilities, including zipwires.

Simon Lines, a student support worker at Wath School, said he did not think his school had ever taken a trip the Earth Centre during its time in operation, but it would be taking 150 pupils to the new centre over three days, starting tomorrow.

They will not be staying overnight because their school is not far from Denaby.

He said: “We are all really looking forward to it. I didn’t go to the Earth Centre and I don’t think I know anyone who went.

“I think the new centre is a lot more attractive from a school’s point of view.

Kingswood staff have also had to restore some of the buildings which were part of the Earth Centre site and tidy up overgrown brambles.

The flagship Millennium project closed in 2004 after failing to attract enough visitor numbers to keep afloat.

The site was handed to Doncaster Council after the closure of the Earth Centre, but Mayor Peter Davies was keen to get it off the borough’s books because of the £200,000-a-year cost of looking after it.