Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre

Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre has been providing outdoor education, training and recreational opportunities for over 45 years. The Centre has come a long way since its early days when kayaking sessions ran from two wooden huts located a short distance away on Haven Road.

In an innovative partnership between Devon County Council and Exeter College, the Centre relocated to brand new purpose built waterside facility on Exeter’s historic Canal and river side in July 2013.

Haven Banks continues to provide Exeter, Devon and the wider community with an extensive range of outdoor and adventurous activity opportunities and courses throughout the year, including the school holidays and being part of Exeter College, the Centre now also provides full-time further and higher education outdoor and adventurous activity courses for 16-19 year olds.

Our state of the art facilities and experienced staff team provided and compliment adult and corporate training, staff incentives and "away days", as well as a variety of meeting and conferencing spaces, each with unique views or the River Exe and/or Exeter Canal.

Haven Banks has a continued commitment towards every aspect of outdoor and adventurous activity and outdoor learning experiences, with the health, safety and welfare of our customers and students being our number one priority.

If you are considering a visit to the centre and have any questions or would like to arrange a visit or  meeting to discuss our activity programmes, please get in touch.

Haven Banks Building

Your Questions

Yes, absolutely! All you need to do is send us a confirmation email from your childcare voucher provider with details about your activity and we will book it all in. We can accept vouchers for our school holiday courses, adult courses or personal/group bookings. If you have questions or need guidance do not hesitate to contact us.
No. Unfortunately, we do not have any on-site parking at the Centre but there are a range of nearby parking options to choose from: Haven Banks Public Car Park (approx 100 metres from the centre), is located at Michael Browning Way, off Haven Road, Exeter, EX2 8DP. This is a long stay, pay and display car park split over two sites, with spaces for over 300 cars. Use the back carpark which is cheaper! Find out more on our How to find us page.
No. We offer a full and extensive programme of activities for adults. Haven Banks has developed an extensive and varied programme of activities to suit every age, ability level and budget. Whether you’re looking for a group booking to plan a social event, a National Governing Body qualification for yourself to further your skills and qualifications, or hire equipment to just get out and enjoy some personal time, there’s something for everybody at Haven Banks. Why not take a look at our Activity page for the full range of options!
No. All participants wear a buoyancy aid for all water-sports activities to ensure their safety at all times. However, it is recommended that participants are comfortable being in the water. If you have any concerns about the ability level of those taking part it is always best to explain it when making your booking or to discuss your concerns with the lead instructor at the start of the session.
We provide any specialist equipment for our sessions, such as buoyancy aids or helmets. We have a selection of wetsuits that can be used (a small charge may be made) but if individuals have their own and wish to bring them we always recommend it. The most important things to bring for any wet activity are shoes you can wear on the water, a towel and a dry change of clothes and footwear). Our clothing and kit list gives a full guide on what you’ll need.
Yes. You can hire canoes, stand up paddle boards, sit-on-top kayaks and adult mountain bikes between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm any week day. Weekend hire starts during the Easter holidays and runs through to the October half-term. Advance booking is recommended to ensure availability. Check out our Hire page for prices and further information.
The centre manager will decide in consultation with the instructors and group leaders if the weather or prevailing conditions are unsafe for an activity to proceed. In such cases an alternative activity will be offered. The centre has numerous foul-weather activity options and the location and water-base means such problems are highly unlikely during the summer season. Our full Booking Conditions give further details.
Yes. We offer gift vouchers that can be used towards activity sessions, courses or hire. You can choose either a specific activity/value (see Price Lists and Booking Site for more information) or a nominal value without specifying an activity. In order to purchase gift vouchers, simply send us an email or give us a call to provide details of the desired amount, recipient, postal address and payment so that we can send them out to you. If you want to purchase gift vouchers for Christmas, we recommend ordering by December 12th to ensure timely delivery.

Haven Banks Staff Team.

Haven Banks has a dedicated team of experienced outdoor professionals who focus on offering customers an exceptional service and experience.

Our Team of instructors hold a variety of National Governing Body coaching, leadership and skills based qualifications, ensuring that at all times activities and courses are enjoyable, informative and above all safe.

To us, this isn't just a job, its a love of the outdoors and a passion of seeing others enjoy their experiences, develop their skills, their confidence and love and respect for the outdoor environment.

Ben Hedden

Centre Manager

Ben holds a variety of National Governing Body coaching and leadership qualifications and is also a qualified youth and community worker and qualified post 16 years teacher. Having worked previously in residential, public and private sector outdoor adventure centres, Ben is responsible for all areas of the centre’s business and business development. Ben is passionate about the outdoors and the wealth of benefits it offers participants. If you would like help or advice organising an activity programme or would like to discuss any aspect of the centre's provision Ben will be pleased to meet with you.

Harry Newman

Chief Instructor

Harry is multi discipline qualified. Beginning his outdoor career as an apprentice at Haven Banks in 2010, he has since gone full circle, taking him through outdoor education in local schools, holiday camps and ski resorts, returning to Haven Banks in 2019. Harry continues to be involved in scouting, joining annual group camps and other adventures. Outside of work Harry takes trips to coastal destinations to surf, kayak and SUP. Harry has a passion for inclusivity and takes pride in working with a wide range of groups and individuals. Harry is extremely invested in the reputation and continued development of Haven Banks, and is always looking to implement creative ideas to develop dynamic, educational and fun experiences for all those coming to the Centre.

Heather Rosser


Heather has worked with groups and young people in outdoor education since 2008. Her various roles have taken her across the UK, from Scotland to the Isle of Wight and even across the channel to France. Her spirit of adventure still takes her across the UK and Europe, on a particular hunt for multi-day adventures. As well as a variety of NGB qualifications, she also has a degree in Outdoor Adventure Management and she continues to develop her outdoor skills and qualifications. Heather has a particular interest in making outdoor education accessible to everyone and believes it is an inclusive environment where everyone can learn and challenge themselves.

Jamie Spencer


Jamie has been a member of the Haven Banks team since 2015. Having studied as a BTEC Outdoor Adventure student with Exeter college, he progressed on to an Outdoor Instructor Apprentice at Haven Banks and then on to become a key instructor. Following a memorable season in Canadian Rocky Mountains teaching snowboarding, Jamie’s skills have continued to develop and he now holds a wide range of land and water-based qualifications. Jamie’s passion includes coaching white-water kayaking , although his other key sports include paddle boarding and dinghy sailing. Jamie is a dedicated member of the team and contributes to both the development of the centre and everyone who visits.

Alex Wells

Centre Administrator

Alex, as the Centre Administrator & Receptionist is on hand to assist with enquiries, bookings and the little stuff that helps make things run as smoothly as possible. If you have a question he is the one to ask and if he doesn’t know the answer himself he will usually know who does! Even though his time at the centre is mostly spent behind the front desk he has a background in gymnastics and enjoys getting out and about to explore the local woods and moorland. Alex works Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm and 9.00am - 4.30pm on Wednesdays.

Chris Gowing

Chief instructor

Chris has been involved in an array of land and water-based activities since being a young age. Living near the coast, Chris took advantage and made the most of every water sport on offer. After spending a few years chasing the surf around the world, in 2013 he became an apprentice instructor with Haven Banks and worked through the apprenticeship schemes to become a full-time instructor. As well as gaining a post-16 teaching qualification, Chris is also highly qualified in many activities disciplines and is one of the two Chief Instructors at the Centre. Chris’ passion for the outdoors has shaped his life and his work, he is driven by his desire to see everyone develop skills, knowledge, confidence and mental well-being through sharing this passion.

Danielle Stuart

Instructor (Apprentice)

Danielle is enthusiastic about the outdoors and loves a good adventure. She started as an Outdoor Adventure student with Exeter College and experienced a range of activities, including kayaking white-water and climbing in the South-West and Wales. After college Danielle worked for a residential centre, assisting with climbing and mountain biking sessions in the Peak and Lake Districts as well as hiking mountains in North Wales. Danielle has also climbed in the French Alps. Danielle started her apprenticeship at Haven Banks in 2019 and continues to extend her experience and qualifications. She enjoys passing her knowledge on to the next generation of adventurers and outdoor instructors.

Chris Seers


Chris is a multi-skilled outdoor activity instructor and has been a member of the Team since 2017. Chris enjoys mountain biking, canoeing, hillwalking, target shooting and archery. He has been involved with the scouting movement for some years and this has led to wonderful adventures, hikes, camps and expeditions to such places as Iceland and the south of France. These experiences have led Chris on to do further challenges such as Ten Tors where he has completed all routes up to 55 miles. These experiences have boosted Chris’s passion for the outdoors and he has a strong belief that everybody should have the opportunity to experience what outdoor adventure has to offer.