Children sow the seeds for new forest school in Saffron Walden
PUBLISHED: 08:52 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:11 12 March 2019
Young environmental ambassadors have marked the official opening of a new forest school in Saffron Walden by planting 50 trees on the site.
The woodland area at Claypits Plantation, near Herbert’s Farm playing fields, is now being used as outdoor learning facility by hundreds of children from local primary and nursery schools. These include Katherine Semar Infant and Junior Schools, Thomas More Primary School, RA Butler School, the Bell Nursery and Meadows Nursery.
Last week, pupils from Katherine Semar got stuck in to planting the ‘whips’ (young tree seedlings) to put their own stamp on the land.
Georgia Slade, a forest school lead at Katherine Semar, said: “We are delighted to mark the opening of the forest school with a tree planting that our environmental ambassadors took to so enthusiastically. They, and more classes from Katherine Semar and the other schools involved, will be able to watch the trees grow and develop over the years as part of the forest school experience.
“Having the resource practically on our doorstep will make the classes far more personal for our students and strengthen the well-known benefits of forest schools – developing skills, encouraging decision-making and independence and fostering well-being.”
For a number of years the land, known locally as ‘Hilly Bumps’, had been used as a track by a group of BMX riders. However, the group ended its involvement in the site in 2017.
Uttlesford District Council, which has a lease on the land, decided to return the area to woodland and designated it as a forest school following a public consultation. The higher ramps and jumps have been levelled, nettles and brambles cleared, and the area generally made more accessible and inviting for all.
As well as acting as a forest school, the space is also available for residents to enjoy.