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The Roadside Woods

I go to the Roadside Woods…

…on an adventurous tune-up of my senses.

While we have the freedom to do what we like in this natural wonder, we are happy to like what we do!

The Roadside Woods is an exciting outdoor site for the children in Years 3 & 4. It is a new wonderous aspect that has been introduced to their weekly school curriculum by Mrs Robinson, who passionately advocates the importance of outdoor learning and play at Holme Grange School. Along with Miss Carberry and Mr Rex, the children have been busily building their site with enterprising enthusiasm, since September 2016.

Health and safety is taken very seriously, of course, not only by their teachers, but especially by the children. They consider their own safety and that of their peers, as well as respect for their natural environment. This is discussed at the beginning of each outdoor session, along with an inspection of the site for any hazards. Having splashed in the stream earlier in the term, the children were most intrigued to see how the water level had swelled due to the recent rains, using a stick the measure the new depth and discussing the likely dangers of water and flooding. There is always a First Aid kit to hand for bumps, trips, grazes and minor cuts, which are all part of the great outdoor adventure.

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvellous.” – Aristotle (384-322 BC), Greek philosopher and scientist.

Access to the woods is through the camouflaged frontdoor, by clambering through the branches of a large woody shrub. Or if we need to carry large objects into the site, we go through the nearby backdoor, past the 3&4 totem poles, which are currently in creative development.

After crossing Mud Ditch over a firm wooden bridge, you have to duck along the woodland path into the heart of the site where the children gather at the beginning of each session. Every single scrap of material that we have used has been donated by parents, foraged from the skips or upcycled from the recent building works, with permission of course! There has been some terrific problem-solving and initiative as we’ve considered what to do in the woods. Many of the children have been incredibly tough and resilient when having to carry heavy objects. Friday afternoon’s TLC club were instrumental in carrying the heavy railway sleepers into the site, showing incredible strength, resolve and great teamwork.

“Think outside, no box required.”

The discarded barrel of a washing machine embedded in bricks serves as the main campsite’s fireplace.

Fantastic, crude Yurts [huts] have been constructed from pallets, which the children tied and nailed together. Over time, each one will develop further character as the children fortify and personalise them with recycled materials.

Using old cricket stumps, large pallets or learning how to shore up logs, various fences have been constructed. Scaffolding planks have been used to construct a bridge across the stream, onto the Isle of Angleterre.



The sites ‘wood store’ to keep the wood off the floor.

At the moment, a new site, The Dark Site is being planned under the low, wide boughs of a tree.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure that a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir (1838-1914), also known as ‘John of the Mountains’, a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness.

There is no app for the Roadside Woods. It is a journey, with no destination, that we are on, my friends. Together, we’ll accomplish much and have so much fun along the way.

“Such a simplified life can be truly wonderful…live a life full of things you want, not more…without having to spend and buy and consume.” – Leo Babauta, a Californian Zen & Minimalist blogger.


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1 comment

  • Hannah Carter (Noah's mum) · November 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    This looks like a fantastic place, full of creativity, exploration and fun. I am quite jealous that you all get to visit & make your mark! Keep up the good work & I look forward to seeing more updates on what you have created.


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