Sunday, 27 March 2011

A successful tree planting day!

We had a wonderful day on saturday in the woods. We had all those lovely trees to plant and had lots of families come and join us and help make it a really fun and woodland frolic day! The day started at around 11am when everyone started to arrive. The first thing we did was light the fire, which all the children helped to do. Lighting the fire is obviously the most important thing as it is our only way to have to have hot drinks - it is all about getting our priorities straight! It is also important as a focal point and a place where we gather and keep returning to.

Quite a few of the families that came to the woods had not been for a long time and it was lovely to hear them comment on how amazing it looks now that the path has made cleared and that you can walk on the ground without trampling through a jungle of ferns and bracken. 
After lighting the fire, we started to plant the trees. We began with the beautiful silver birches. We put in 9 of them, into a cirle clearing. Each tree is to represent a child with a special relationship to the Woodland Play Centre and it was very special to see the children plant a tree each. The circle as it grows, will represent the circle of life, of children, of growth and hope that other people's children will be able to use and enjoy this magical place as much as these children already have. We can't wait to see the trees grow, and also hope that the children that have planted them will return to this space as they grow older. Maybe one day they will bring their own children to see the tree they planted. You never know.

We also planted hedgerows of haws and hollies and elders, as well as Cherry trees and Rowan's. One day the splashes of color on these trees will create a wonderful frame along the edge of the clearing near the sloes. It will be a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy once these trees grow!

The children did a great job of helping to plant the trees, and then spent the rest of the afternoon eating a picnic, playing in the trees, swinging in the hammock and doing a very detailed bug hunt and tree and flower identification excercises. This was such a lovely part of the day as everyone joined in and we all walked around the wood together, talking and enjoying each other's company.

There was so much energy and so much fun being had by children (and adults) of all different ages joining in with each other. We also ate marshmallows and made popcorn on the fire, not to mention the beautiful lemon drizzle cake (THANK YOU Trish!) and fabulous flapjack and fairy cakes that we consumed all day long.

We ended the day with a bit of West Country Welly Wanging and James (one of the dads) won hands down - there was no disputing it when the welly went so far that no one could see it!

 It was a lovely day and the rain held out until well into the afternoon when everyone had gone and the birds that seemed to have gone AWOL around 11am, all came back and were singing to their hearts content.
Thank you to everyone who came! Thank you also for the donations to the woodland trust - it is great to be able to put something back after all the great trees they sent us.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Give it some welly for woodland! Tree planting to raise money for The Woodland Trust!

26th March
11am to 2pm

We have been given some wonderful trees from The Woodland Trust, and we wanted to make it a special day that these trees could be planted in the woods. We also wanted to do something for the Woodland Trust in return and since it is their Give it some welly for woodland day on 5 March, we thought we could do something in conjunction with this day, albeit a little later on in the month. The reason we have to do it later is that the trees are not being delivered until next week.

We will be planting the following trees:
10 Birch
10 Cherry
10 Rowan
8 Hawthorn
2 Hazel
2 Elders
6 Holly
2 Dogrose
10 Dogwood
Do bring a packed lunch and we will provide refreshements such as tea and coffee and cake, for a donation. All proceeds will go to the Woodland Trust.

The Woodland Trust give this indication of where your money goes and what it can achieve:
£10 will buy 4 trees
£33 will protect half an acre of existing woodland
£50 will provide packs of trees for schools

Please come along and help us to plant these trees and donate whatever you can afford back to the Woodland Trust.

You may also like to bring old wellies so we can make a well tree or perhaps you would like to get people to sponsor you wearing their wellies for the day! The Woodland Trust Website has lots of great ideas about all the things you can do!

You might also like to look into the Woodland Trust Website for Kids which has a lot of things you can download.

Come and enjoy a day in the woods - there may even be lemon drizzle cake!!!

February half term was Woodland Play Scheme half term!

What an exciting week that was! The holiday playscheme was in full swing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Over the course of the week we had nearly 30 children attend, which we are really pleased about. The playscheme is organised for the holidays so that parents who need to go to work during the school holidays, can leave their children to play in the woods all day, and pick them up later when they are happily exhausted from a day in the beautiful outdoors.
The woodland is so beautiful at the moment. The buds are just coming oute on the trees and the ferns and the snowdrops have replaced the snow with their eagerness to come out and tell us that spring is just around the corner. February half term is always one of our favourite times of the year to play in the woods because of the air of expectancy that accompanies the woodland, encouraging you to look forward to warmer days with more sunshine.
The Playscheme is always great fun as some children only come for a day and others for the full three days. Many children are old hats at playing in the woods and others come for the first time. It is always interesting to see the camaraderie and interaction, and mentoring that goes on between the children. Its always fabulous to see the team work too! The Tuesday was a fun day because it was Kanga's (Aka Kangaroo, Roo) birthday, so she went with Louise to the woodland, alongside Meg and Woody. The dogs and the children had a great time, but one little dog in particular enjoyed it more than the others. Someone had left the pan off the sausage pan lid and when Louise came to check on the sausages she found Meg, in the pan, with the remainders of the sausages! It seems that little meg who is a Jack Russel had managed to eat her way through 9 sausages! How she was still in the pan, we don't know, but she had celebrated Roo's birthday in true Meg style. The dogs came back on the Wednesday by popular request from all the children, and spent the day running around and looking in rabbit holes. This time we kept the sausages under lock and key.
The tuesday was a very eventful day in itself. Louise managed to get the Land Rover and the Trailer stuck in the mud and actually had to have someone come and tow it out! She was not best pleased and is now looking into ways of making sure the ground can be driven on, just at the entrance, even if the weather is wet and muddy as it has been this half term.
On the wednesday there were lots of children and we spent the day exploring, playing and making a bow and arrow. It was the best bow and arrow Lou had ever been part of making, she said when she returned. There can be little doubt about that, when the wood came from her own woodland!
It was intended that Thursday should be spent hurdle weaving. For some reason we didnt get around to that, but the children had a brilliant time putting up the hammock, playing on the rope swings, and they even volunteered to help clear the rhodedendrums, so that we had a huge and warming bonfire. We had more sausages and more marshmallows, and lots and lots of fun!

Dont forget that we will have another playscheme available for the easter holidays and of course for May half term. Bookings are currently being taken for 11th april through to the 15th April, and there will be single events being run on 18th, 20th and 21st April for families. Content is yet to be decided and will be published in the April blog.

Fun and frolics in a wet and windy woodland for Oliver's party

Monday of half term was possibly the wettest, most muddy monday in the history of woodland play. That may be a slight over exageration, but to say that it simply rained does not do it justice. the rain came pelting down and the mud got thicker and squidgier and muddier than we ever expected. Did it put us off though? No! We had a party full of woodland adventure, den building, firelighting and nature exploration. There were 21 children all between 6 and 7 years old, who brought with them 4 very brave and woodland warrior adults. We built dens and water tested them to make sure they were totally water proof. This, as you can imagine, was not a difficult test to do! We lit the fire and for lunch we had our lovely woodland sausages and didnt for one moment forget to have our toasted marshmallows either. It was a fantastically busy day and by all accouts, Oliver and his friends had a wonderful time (and so did we)!

Archie's Party!

A few weeks ago we had the first birthday party in Weez's Woods and the snow drops were out just in time, making it look very beautiful. It was Archie's birthday! It was an auspicious day as Archie was the first of our woodland parties ever, so it was lovely that he should also be the first person to have a birthday party in the very new woodland. Archie brought lots of friends as well as his 4 year old sister who spent most of the day sitting in a tree and being an Oak Fairy.
We had a fabulous day! It was so much fun spending the day building dens and shelters, learning fire lighting, and having lunch by the fire. Some people built dens together and others did them on their own. We did lots of exploring and one of the most exciting things happened! The children saw a Roe deer hiding in the bushes!
We had sausages for lunch and later we toasted marshdmallows.
It was a great day - a really lovely birthday party!