After two exciting days in a wet and windy Fingle Woods the children from Dunsford Primary continued their woodland adventure with the Woodland Trust. This time they gathered at school on a warm spring day and, through a week of outdoor activities, they were aiming to achieve a special accolade for their school. The Woodland Trust’s Green Tree School Award is available for any school and, starting at the Bronze level, the children needed to gather five points to earn their prize.
With two of those points already secured for the Fingle Woods visit they set off for a walk around their traditional Devon village on an Ancient Tree Hunt. Along the age-old lanes between the fields many ancient oak trees were found to be marking the boundaries. These mighty beacons of passing time have been standing proudly for hundreds of years; the broad spreading limbs looking robust and ready to stand for many more. Further along the timeworn track the children stopped in a gateway to count the ancient boundary oaks across the landscape. At a junction with the road more trees were standing. The children chatted and, using their new found knowledge, guessed their ages. The historical tree walk continued through the village churchyard where the children studied yew trees. Though not the oldest churchyard yews in Devon, some of these were found to be hundreds of years old too.
After a third point had been secured for a successful Ancient Tree Hunt they headed back to school for the next activity. It was time to gather in the school woods to make small rafts from sticks and wool. Each team created a raft fit for a mini beast. Whether small or large, square or triangular they all passed the float test with a round of applause.
The final two points were then earned by making a presentation to the younger children in the school. They enthused about their trip to Fingle Woods, showed off their display of art, performed their own poetry, passed round clay models of dormice and answered lots of questions. The results of a lot of hard work from children and staff.
After lunch, safe in the knowledge that the Bronze level Green Tree Award was secure, an afternoon of fun was planned. Camp fire alight, the children gathered in their woodland copse for popcorn. Another chance to use their senses came when listening for the popping to start … then stop, before tasting the produce and finishing off the day using their sharpest vision in a game of Eagle Eye.
Dunsford Primary School is one of the many schools to take the first step on the Green Tree School Award but, being so close to Fingle Woods, they are a natural partner to begin a new adventure with the Woodland Trust.
Find out more about the Green Tree Schools Award here …
Words and pictures by Matt Parkins