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Field Studies Council – Start Bay

What will students see and do?

The FSC Start Bay field study centre sits on the South Devon coast. It’s close to seaside towns Plymouth and Torbay, as well as Dartmoor National Park and Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve.

The reserve is home to the largest natural lake in the southwest of England and is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This is because the lake is only separated from the ocean by a thin shingle bar, yet it is still a freshwater lake and home to some fascinating species of animals and plants. It’s the only place in the UK you can find the very rare strapwort plant. The lake also offers an excellent opportunity to study coastal shingle vegetation.

For animal lovers, 14 different species of bats have been recorded on the reserve, as well as otters and hazel dormice. There are also a range of beautiful birds to see, including the unusual great crested grebe.

Teaching resources provided

You can find an excellent range of free digital resources on the FSC website for KS3, KS4 and KS5 science and geography.

Minimum and maximum group size

For overnight visitors, the Start Bay field study centre can accommodate up to 40 people.

For day trips, there are no minimum or maximum requirements, but be aware that some courses do require at least 10 students to run.

Details of risk assessment

The FSC prides itself on creating enjoyable and safe experiences for UK school trips. There is a wealth of information available on its health and safety procedures online.

The organisation promotes a risk-benefit approach to learning outdoors and is compliant with the following regulations:
– Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
– Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013
– Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
– Health and Safety First Aid Regulations 1981
– Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
– Young Persons’ Safety Act 1995

FSC staff are all DBS checked and also undertake external accredited courses in safeguarding. Any fieldwork or activities at FSC centres are comprehensively risk assessed.

Teachers who wish to visit FSC Start Bay are welcome to conduct an inspection visit beforehand to do their own risk assessments.


Don't miss our downloadable A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

icon for A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

Facilities on-site

FSC Start Bay is a beautiful rural home with a large secluded garden. Within the garden, visitors can enjoy a campfire and barbeque area, as well as panoramic views of the coastline.

The accommodation is made up of 9 rooms, offering 40 beds overall. Three of the rooms are en-suite, and all bedding is provided.

There is free WiFi throughout the accommodation.

There is a self-catering kitchen available, or you can choose the catered option which includes a hot breakfast, packed lunches and dinner.

The FSC has been awarded the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award. This recognises organisations that serve delicious, healthy and locally sourced meals.

In nearby Slapton village, there is a small village shop for drinks and snacks, as well as a great local pub.

Opening times

The FSC is open for enquiries from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. For visiting groups, the FSC Start Bay centre runs activities all day, tailored to your schedule. A member of FSC staff will remain onsite at all times.



The seaside location of FSC Start Bay means prices are higher during the peak season of summer and spring, and lower in the off-peak season in autumn and winter.

The price will also vary depending on the activities and courses included in your trip. Custom quotes are available to suit a range of budgets and educational requirements, and the FSC offers bursaries and funded spots.

Teachers planning to visit FSC Start Bay can get a custom quote by contacting 01743 852 100 or emailing

Travel arrangements

For those coming via coach, the centre is accessible via the A38 and M5. FSC partners with First Travel Solutions as its coach provider and recommends using this company for discounted rates.

For public transport, the closest train station to FSC Start Bay is Totnes. This is accessible via the South West Main Line, and you can catch trains direct from Plymouth, London Paddington and Birmingham New Street.

Totnes train station is around 13 miles from the centre, but the FSC can arrange pickups with prior notice.


Slapton Ley (Start Bay Field Centre), Slapton, Kingsbridge, Devon

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Book your school trip to Field Studies Council – Start Bay

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

Book your school trip to Field Studies Council – Start Bay

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

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