Do right by people

At the Peter Ashley Activity Centres Trusts we have an unwavering adherence to our collective moral compass. Whether it’s with our co-workers, our clients, our volunteers, or frankly, our competitors, we aim to follow the same guiding principle: Do Right By People. To that end, we place a great emphasis on honesty, transparency, humility and respect. In doing so, we’ve created a workplace where work/life balance comes first and where our colleagues feel like more than just co-workers.

Meet The Fort Family! We have an amazing team that work at the Forts, making your visits happen, creating long-lasting memories and looking after these beautiful heritage buildings.


“Provide meaningful and challenging opportunities in a unique environment”


“To contribute to the development of young people to be the best they can be whilst using the Victorian Forts for the benefit of all”

Darren has spent a career working with groups and leading a wide range of activities. As the CEO he leads the charge in driving forward the work of the Charity, as well as drinking copious amounts of coffee. Those of you who know him will agree he likes to talk about his favourite subject…PAACT! When not at the Forts he can be found on adventures with his young family!

Darren Bridgman

Chief Executive Officer

Lead for Safeguarding

Lisa started as a saddle clubber, soon becoming part of the instructor team. Working her way up to Yard Manager, Centre Manager and now Head of Operations. Her role has changed over the years with less time patting ponies. If she’s not behind her desk you’ll find her running round the ramparts herding up her sheep & stopping the goats getting into mischief!

Lisa Wheatley

Head of Operations

Deputy Lead for Safeguarding

The great outdoors holds a special place in Tom’s heart.

Coming from an active Scouting family he has gained experience in lots of outdoor activities over the years. He may not have a dog like the rest of the Senior Team, but he does love Wolves! Tom spends his spare time learning everything he can about history.

Tom Weaver

Centre Manager Fort Purbrook

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Jodie is another home-grown member of the team; getting her good old gramps to bring her several times a week for lessons with Lisa! She came through the saddle club, an apprenticeship, became Equestrian Coordinator and recently has been promoted to Centre Manager. Outside of work you will find her out and about in her pink panfa!

Jodie Thackeray

Centre Manager Fort Widley

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Duncan has had a varied career across many leading industries. He brings a wealth of experience to the challenges of maintaining two Victorian Forts.  Duncan is driven by passion to enable everyone to enjoy these Forts whilst safely engaging in exciting activities. He has many tales of his career underground as a Cornish Tin Miner!

Duncan Judge

Facilities Manager

(Health & Safety Officer)

Sarah Benson loves Forts. Actually Benson loves many things to an obsessive level; don’t get her started on the Vulcan Bomber or Red Arrows, Lego, Boba Fett, air shows, steam trains, tunnels, viaducts, dams, dogs, cats or cake as she simply won’t shut up. Known to express herself through the medium of dance, she is the one that keeps the office and paperwork in check.

Sarah Benson

Fort Purbrook Receptionist

Charly heads our finance department and is strongly committed to the future of the Charity. She is a valued member of the team who always gives a straight and sometimes too honest answer! When she is not number crunching she can be found training dogs or googling Tom Hardy, because sometimes the life size cut out in her office just isn’t enough.

Charly McCarroll

Finance Officer

Lydia’s background in hospitality makes her the perfect person to organise our corporate and private functions. Her attention to detail keeps us on our toes at all times. As Outreach Officer, she is passionate about the role the Charity can play in the community. Not one to sit still long with a teenage family she is a keen food and drink explorer and lover of all things sparkly.

Lydia Tarttelin

Events & Outreach Officer

Equestrian Instructor

Jay Mills

Equestrian Instructor

Ben spends his time looking after both Forts and the land that surrounds our wonderful buildings. He keeps everything looking good and working correctly. When he’s not tinkering with building projects, fixing horse fences or cutting the large amounts of grass, he enjoys watching rugby and playing with his young family.

Ben Murray

Estate Manager

Chris joined the team as our Caretaker. He feels very privileged to be able to work in such a historically important building and look after it to the best of his abilities for future generations. He loves being part of the Charity and looks forward to restoring more of the Fort. In his spare time he enjoys restoring old tools and is an avid gardener.

Chris Acres


Janette is the behind the scenes Queen of the Forts, clearing & cleaning the centuries old dust one room at a time, she loves all the Forts fauna & flora and spending her down time with all the pretty horses. Charity work, fund raising & catering are Janette’s passions and she loves sharing them with the team. You may not see her often but you will always know where she’s been!

Janette Wearn

Cleaner/House Keeper

Fort Widley Receptionist

Jo Redwood

Fort Widley Receptionist

Equestrian Instructor

Steph Janaway

Equestrian Instructor

Apprentice Equestrian Instructor

Connie Peach

Apprentice Equestrian Instructor

Lisa has worked at Fort Widley for over 10 years! Lisa runs the horse camps; that’s not camps for horses but camps for riders! She also loves taking part in sponsored horse rides, cross country, show jumping and if that wasn’t enough she has recently started out in dressage.

Lisa Fisher

Equestrian Instructor

Kim Roberts

Equestrian Instructor

Cara has worked at the centre since 2018, but has been coming up to the school for 14 years with her own children. She has 1 pony, 4 horses and 1 donkey called Eeyore.  Cara also belongs to Rogate Riding Club, and takes part in show jumping, dressage, x-country and sponsored rides. She loves hacking over our lovely country side.

Cara Handley

Yard Assistant/Equestrian Instructor

Apprentice Activity Instructor

Ryan Pearce

Apprentice Activity Instructor

Chelsey has recently graduated in Outdoor & Adventurous Education Degree at the University of Chichester. Her favourite activities at Fort Purbrook are bouldering and archery. Outside of work Chelsey loves to spend time with her family, her pets and her plants, and trying new and different challenges.

Chelsey Bridgewater

Lead Instructor

Aaron joined the team this year as an Activity Instructor. He is our Laser Tag champion!

Aaron Urquhart

Activity Instructor

Activity Instructor

Jordan Maynard

Activity Instructor

Sara is a very chatty and bubbly person who loves being outdoors whether it is horse riding, swimming, climbing or going on extremely long walks. She loves to challenge herself doing new things. Sara buzzes with energy and is always trying to push herself whether it be performing music or theatre – and does it all with an infectious smile!

Sara Mengham-Smith

Activity Instructor

Becca is a returning member of the Team.During the 90’s Becca was a member of Widley’s Pony Club. She now has 2 awesome children, and is well versed in understanding extra requirements of children. Becca is currently working towards her CWI qualification as well as climbing route setting.

Becca Dowling

Activity Instructor


Finance Assistant

Lizzie Ward

Finance Assistant