Enchanting clearing hosts forest school activities

A woodland clearing in our grounds has been transformed into an enchanting space for children to play and learn in the great outdoors. Wild Wood Warriors Forest School, Puddleduck Nursery and Howbery’s grounds team  worked together to create an area where young minds can appreciate the wonders of mother nature.

Former primary teacher Ruth Peters, who set up Wild Wood Warriors Forest School, is running 1.5 hour sessions for accompanied preschool and primary school children on Wednesday and Fridays. Children can choose from a range of activities that Ruth sets up, such as den building, blowing bubbles, mud kitchen and puppets, with the price including a healthy snack. The sessions will also provide valuable work experience opportunities for clients of charity Style Acre, which has offices on our site. At other times, Puddleduck Nursery,  also based at Howbery, is using the clearing for outdoor learning for their children.

“I believe in the transformative power of nature,” explained Ruth, who completed her forest school qualifications in 2019. “After lockdown, it became even clearer to me how important outdoor learning is for children’s mental and physical well-being, so I decided to set up my own forest school. I already knew Howbery Park, as my husband is based here. The grounds have a wonderful feel to them and are a magical spot for outdoor learning.

Estate Manager Donna Bowles added: “We’re really pleased to have this new forest school area within our grounds. Providing a venue for children to enjoy and learn about nature fits perfectly with our sustainable ethos and community focus. We encourage people not based on the park to come and make the most of our grounds – we are open to the public from 9am to 6pm on working days.”

One local mother who attended forest school with her son was very impressed: “I feel so lucky to have this on our doorstep, led by Ruth. Held in a magical setting close to the river, we have seen huge dragonflies, frogs and an abundance of insects. My son is free to explore nature at his own pace, encouraged gently to notice, touch and feel. Climbing is encouraged in this safe sanctuary, and risk taking also takes the form of crumpet toasting over a fire and digging with child-sized spades. We return home with tired legs and happy hearts.”

More information about Wild Wood Warriors Forest School sessions: www.wwwforsestschool.co.uk