Young explorers in the Forest
With every passing year, more and more organisations from near and far discover the delights of the Heart of England Forest. Among the many groups making themselves at home in the woodland are the Welford-on-Avon Cub Scouts, who are finding it the perfect venue to host a number of exciting outdoor activities.
Throughout the summer, the longer daylight hours have afforded around 20 boys and girls from the Cub Scout Pack a weekly opportunity to take part in everything from pizza-making to map reading. Most recently, the action moved to the Middle Spernal woodland, where the cubs, all aged from eight to ten years old, took part in an organised and exhilarating off road cycling session!
Pack Leader Jack Bartholomew is keen that the children should make use of this valuable amenity right on their doorstep. “We don’t have an HQ as such”, he says, “and although we meet every Monday evening at the local school, the last place the kids want to spend more time at is at school, so the woodland and the open spaces of the Heart of England Forest offer an ideal alternative.”
He continues, “we have used Barton Meadow to set up a big fire and pizza ovens, held a picnic and played football in an event enjoyed by all the kids and their families. We’ve also been able to play traditional scouting wide games in and around Dorothy’s Wood, including a night time session when the cubs were set the task of retrieving a number of glow sticks secreted around the site.” The pack also makes use of the meadow during the winter months, too, when it hosts bonfire and firework evenings, and they are even planning a Christmas party in the Forest!
Education through enjoyment
Among the other activities the pack have undertaken are those that contribute towards their time-honoured badge awards, when they have learned about using compasses, reading maps, bridge-building in Roman Wood, tracking and wildlife identification. While there are undoubted educational benefits of using such a rich and varied landscape, the primary appeal of the Forest, as Jack Bartholomew explains, “is to take advantage of a valuable local amenity and ensure that the children enjoy it. Of course, as both they and their families discover more of its charms, they come back again and again!”
The Heart of England Forest’s Community Engagement Manager, Toby Fisher, says the team has been thrilled to see the cubs and their families enjoying the woodland: “This is exactly what the Forest is all about – outdoor fun, learning and fresh air.”
The Heart of England Forest can provide the perfect place for a whole host of group activities, from wildlife watching, rambling, art and photography, to Forest School and more. Let us know what you would like to use the Forest for or contact us to find out more about how your club could enjoy the woodlands.