School visits to our woods are becoming a fairly usual occurrence these days, and so when our friends at Lorton Primary rang to say they’d like to come out for a 50 things day at Holme Wood in Loweswater, of course we said yes, and then we looked at the numbers! This wasn’t going to be easy but was certainly doable with a bit of slick timing and a fairly flexible plan, a quick plan was cobbled together and Rangers Dan ,Paul and Mark talked it through got the kit together and hoped for fair weather amongst the thunder storms of previous days.
The morning arrived and before even getting to the wood the children, and staff with parent helpers, had already completed one of the tasks, to take a long walk! Our narrow lanes weren’t suitable for the school buses so the day started with a 1.3 km hike along the farm track, where the mobs of lambs took minds of the long walk, and made it a tad slower as well!
Once on site we split into groups with Ranger Dan taking charge of the younger kids who set off pond dipping, we didn’t actually have a pond, the lake had to suffice. They would follow us, using a treasure map and making a stick trail on the way.
Rangers Mark and Paul led the rest of the group in to Holme wood, where after a swift talk about the day and a bit of health and safety we split again, Paul taking 2 groups off den building whilst Mark’s group set about lighting fires without matches, and then cooking marshmallows and trying out the rope swings over the lake.
We’d had to time each session to about 30 minutes, necessary in order for everyone to have a go at most tasks but we needn’t have worried, the quality of den building was impressive with some very sturdy examples and some good innovative designs being created well within time, really good to see how the builders organised themselves and got a system going, and all with the smell of roasting marshmallows drifting through the woods.
A couple of whistles from Mark and the groups changed over, and now the infants and Ranger Dan had caught us up and were busy bug hunting, turning over piles of bark and leaves and finding all sorts of weird and wonderful mini beasts , using magnifying glasses and work sheets to identify their captures.
Lunch time! So far we’re on schedule for the day, Things are being done, den building, rope swings, map reading, going on a long walk, cooking on a campfire, after lunch we have mud pies, climbing trees out over the lake, slack lining, dam building, pooh sticks and grass trumpets, we need a snack for sure.
The afternoon sessions flew by with everyone having had a go at everything, the long walk back to the buses was accompanied by varying degrees of grass trumpet playing and laughter, it was as once again brilliant to hear our woodlands filed with giggles, both from the kids and the staff and parent helpers, who it must be said were excellent we really couldn’t have managed the day without their help, Thank you.
We had lots of kids asking if they could come back? Of course you can, just let us have a wee rest first!