Grayrigg CE School - Start Small Think Big

A forest or a wood?

What is the difference between a forest and a wood? I was asked this question on our latest visit to our “forest”. Technically a wood is a smaller area with less density of trees, a forest is a larger area and may encompass several woods in that area. In reality it does not matter, for no matter how small your wood is, once the exploration and fun begins, it opens up into a great big forest.

One thing that I have learnt when we head down to the forest on a Friday afternoon is, never have a concrete plan for activities. The children will see or hear something that needs exploring and nature being nature you have to explore it there and then. For what you see or hear will be gone in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

Over the years that we have been in the forest we have had the privilege of seeing deer, buzzards, wild hares, crayfish, frogs, cows, sheep, plus a variety of bugs and insects. The abundance of bracken and trees gives the wildlife a safe haven from which it also observes us on a Friday afternoon. We also get to smell the wild garlic as it blossoms in spring.

Educationally the forest provides us with wood to build dens, using the basic triangle shape to form a sturdy frame. The fire pit demonstrates the need for friction to cause a spark to light the fire. Marshmallows have a specific melting point. All fun to do but still useful learning tools.

The forest (in my opinion) provides Grayrigg School with one of the best classrooms there is and all with the help of the parents and grandparents who volunteer to join us and make Friday afternoons worthwhile.

Tony Womack

Forest blogger

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