The Reception pupils of Llangattock Church in Wales School spent an afternoon at a very different type of school last week. The children were the first to experience the great outdoors at a newly made Forest School near Llangattock. The open air school in the beech woodland was created by two Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Trainee Wardens, Richard Taylor and Sarah Bagley who met the children at the outdoor classroom on Tuesday15th March.
The idea originally came from Mrs Liz Thomas, a teacher at Llangattock primary school, who approached the National Park about the beechwood. Mrs Thomas said, ‘The school already uses the woods for outdoor learning activities, but we were very keen to set up a dedicated space where children can sit down in a circle to play games and carry out activities. Forest Schools offer a fantastic learning experience and gives pupils the opportunity to experience the natural world. We are very thankful to Richard and Sarah who took the time to create this for us; the children enjoy every minute of learning here in the woods’.
The trainees who are midway through their year long training cleared the chosen classroom site and made the central log circle from pine trees sourced from Craig-y-nos Country Park. The timber was recycled from trees which went down during a storm back in 2014, where 21 trees were lost in just 20 minutes because of the ferocity of the winds. During their course the trainees have to complete modules in forestry management and chainsaw use, so this project gave them an excellent opportunity to practice their skills.
Days out at the Forest School can include activities such as shelter building, wood working crafts and looking at the flora and fauna in the beech wood. The space will now be used by other local schools and community groups such as scout groups.
Councillor Gareth Ratcliffe, National Park Member Champion for Business and Communities commented; ‘This is a fantastic example of the National Park working with local schools and communities to develop different ways of getting people outside into the fresh air. The children who use the forest school will learn so much from it and hopefully give them a taste of adventure in the great outdoors that will give them an interest for life’.
Notes to Editors
Photograph © breconbeaconsnationalparkauthority
Caption: School children at the Forest School in the beechwood at Llangattock