Students to create a forest classroom at Sinai Park House!


05 October 2021

Construction students from Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC) have started work on an exciting project that will see the creation of an outdoor classroom space at Sinai Park House, off Shobnall Road in Burton.

Brickwork students, led by their expert tutors, have started the first phase of the project which involves digging the foundations and installing EcoGrid, eco-friendly foundations. While digging the foundations, students have been taking the opportunity to search for hidden treasure using a metal detector, unearthing items such as ancient coins and a 17th Century musket ball which will later go on display in the house.  

Students have also created new forest signage to direct people to the viewing point of Sinai House and the plunge pool. In addition, they have been using their skills to undertake some heritage restoration of an 18th century moat bridge, including laying original coping stones that have become detached from the bridge over the years. 

The next phase of the project will see Carpentry and Joinery students begin the construction of the outdoor classroom, complete with fencing, frames, seating and storage units. Once in place, the forest classroom will be an opportunity for children and young people to experience an alternative form of education outside of a conventional classroom environment. It will be a place of adventure, discovery and imagination, putting a nature-themed twist to traditional topics such as maths, science and crafts.

Sinai Park House is Burton’s oldest building, and the site has recently received national and international media attention as the potential final hiding place of the ancient treasure of the Medieval Templar Knights. Its history is centred around the healing waters of the Lord’s Well, a sacred ‘chalybeate’ spring and Sinai has been variously a Roman outpost, a place of rest and recuperation for the monks of Burton Abbey and a hunting lodge for the Paget family.   

Kate Murphy, secretary of the Sinai Park House Trust, which is dedicated to restoring the timber-framed buildings for greater public access, commented: “We’re delighted BSDC construction students have got involved with the project to create an outdoor learning space for young people.  Sinai was always a place of rest, rejuvenation, new learning and fun and it is vital for Burton that we not only save one of the top 7% of historic buildings in England, but that we also restore its access, usage and enjoyment.”

Ian Vanes-Jones, Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer at BSDC said: “I live nearby to Sinai Park House and used to visit here as a child, so it’s an honour to be involved in the restoration project. The students were eager to get started on the creation of the forest classroom which will bring exciting learning experiences to so many young people in the local area.” 

David Shepherd, Brickwork Lecturer at BSDC added, “The students are really enjoying taking part in the project and are able to put their skills into practice. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to get hands-on experience on a real life project and to make a positive impact on an historic site in the heart of Burton.”

Contact Details

Contact Details


Burton and South Derbyshire College
Tel: 01283 494400

Town Centre Campus


Burton Town Centre Campus, Lichfield Street, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE14 3RL

Stephen Burke Construction Academy


Construction Academy, 21 Tetron Point, William Nadin Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 OBB