Over the last two years a new community woodland initiative has been slowly putting down roots on the edge of the Blackdown Hills, just outside Taunton. This new project is a legacy of the Neroche Scheme and is supported by the Forestry Commission. This year, we have begun to offer Forest School sessions on our site that is deep in the woods, yet only 15 minutes from Taunton.
Coming to Forest School on a regular basis has impacts on social, emotional and physical wellbeing - especially for young teenagers. There is growing evidence that it builds personal resilience and creates space for young people to have a break from the stresses that may surround them in school - whilst their learning continues. Spending regular time in the woods, away from the ‘usual’ learning setting creates opportunities for learning and wellbeing that are very different to time in school grounds.
What makes us different is the ‘whole forest-whole person’ approach, whereby we nurture an under-managed area of woodland which in turn creates the spaces to nurture children, young people and adults.
We run regular volunteer events to manage the woods and have a group of committed volunteers who help run Forest School sessions.
We are working with Taunton Learning Partnership to provide sessions for vulnerable families, encouraging play and creativity around the campfire. This summer we ran days for young people making the transition to secondary schools who needed help with confidence building. Beginning this autumn, we intend to run a regular ‘nurture’ group for young people in years 7/8/9 one day a week. This would be a small group with students from a variety of schools, enabling them to make new links and friendships.
If you are interested in finding out more please about Young Wood or sessions, please contact Jenny Archard or Gavin Saunders