Muddy Shorts in action

Hear more about the activity days from previous participants.

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Funded by Cornwall Council and delivered with Barnardo's, the programme of outdoor play events, which took place across Cornish beaches, woods, fields and more incorporated activities such as:

  • den building
  • Water play
  • wild crafts
  • tree swings
  • ropes and nets
  • raft building
  • overnight camping

Our boys have enjoyed the kind of activities we enjoyed as kids which had previously been hard for them; campfires, whittling sticks, swinging through trees, all with other kids. It has given them access to the kind of childhood we want them to enjoy.

Muddy Shorts family member

The idea of the programme was to demonstrate that all spaces are playable and that every child can have an enriching play experience. What makes the programme special is:

Inclusive approach
Muddy Shorts events were for the whole family; parents, grandparents, siblings... Members of the public were encouraged to join in with the activities too, which were held in public spaces, meaning children with disabilities play alongside other children. This helps increase awareness of disabilities, showing others how much can be achieved with the right attitudes.

Embraces risk
Rather than treat children with disabilities as fragile and providing them with safe, soft, protective spaces, Muddy Shorts helped them take risks and have an adventure. We invited them to do the things that all children do, regardless of disability or ability, for example getting them playing in the river on an amphibious wheelchair or climbing a tree on an accessible swing.

Amazing locations 
The 25-plus activity days took place in beautiful spots such as the Minack Theatre, Levant Mines, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Bude Castle, and Golitha Falls woodland reserve. Holding the events in public spaces like these, where you might expect barriers to disabled access, can also help change landowners' attitudes. 

It’s great for the family to be all together and to be able to spend time with other families who know what you are talking about.

Muddy Shorts family member

While this programme is no longer run in conjunction with Barnardo's and Cornwall Council, we are still able to arrange bespoke inclusive activity days for groups. Please contact the Education Team on