Forest Schools takes on new North Devon site

Toddler group with Tash Greenwood (centre)

Toddler group with Tash Greenwood (centre) - Credit: Forest Schools

The Outdoors Group Forest Schools has stepped in to run Quarry Fields near Ilfracombe so local children can continue to play and learn outdoors. 

This will be the fifth Forest School for the organisation which has established sites in Exeter, Exmouth, Tiverton and Okehampton. The opportunity arose after Tasha Greenwood, founder of Quarry Fields decided to step away from the business to pursue a new venture. 

Nick Murphy, forest schools manager said: “We’re excited to take on Quarry Fields as our newest location. 

“With much of the groundwork already done we’ll be up and running quickly. We anticipate starting toddler club sessions after Easter and holiday clubs later in the year. We’re really looking forward to developing the site further and bringing in new employment opportunities for local people.” 

Quarry Fields currently includes a campfire area with outdoor kitchen, sheltered educational area, a treehouse and sandpit, vegetable patch, woodland trail and a muddy play area where children can enjoy messy play. 

“There are so many opportunities here for children and young people to have good old-fashioned fun, which at the same time helps them to develop skills, manage risks, think for themselves and learn to problem solve - all in a safe, secure outdoor environment,” explained Nick. 

“During the lockdowns, more people have come to recognise the importance of children getting outside, enjoying nature and outdoor activities whatever the weather. 

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“Children have been spending so much more time inside in front of screens and kept apart from their friends. The full impact of the pandemic on their mental health isn’t fully known yet, but at Forest Schools we can help to mitigate this by allowing them downtime and the chance to enjoy activities like climbing trees, building fires, enjoying creative play and making new pals.” 

The site is to be renamed Ilfracombe Forest School. Once open, sessions will include home education groups, holiday clubs and the hugely popular toddler clubs - referred to as the ‘Glastonbury’ of the organisation as they always sell out so quickly at other Forest School sites. There will also be opportunities to book children’s parties, and there are plans in the pipeline to offer family days plus retreat and rewilding weekends for adults. 

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