Tag Archives: new forest national park

Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager

           Good foraging reminds us we are part of nature

Autumn is my favourite season of the year; I enjoy the changing colours of the woodlands, dewy spider webs and especially the ‘wild food’ treasures hung brightly within hedgerows. ‘Blackberrying’ is often one of our first experiences of nature. Even toddlers quickly learn how to identify blackberry fruits!

Foraging for wild foods is a wonderful activity for getting outdoors in all weathers to learn about and connect with nature. It increases our observational and sensory skills and deepens our relationship to the natural world. Continue reading Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager

Fledgling birds

An unwary blackbird chick will need to be fed by its parents for several days after leaving the nest

Whilst many baby birds are only now eagerly poking their heads out of nests, some parent birds are already encouraging reluctant youngsters to leave the safety of the nest. Most of our common woodland and garden birds such as robins, blackbirds, starlings and blue tits are feeding their hungry fledglings and May is a good time to observe fat fluffy chicks taking their first ‘hop and flap’ into the wider world. Here are some activities to learn about the marvels of nest building, eggs and baby birds. Continue reading Fledgling birds

Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’

Cones in hand: Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Coast redwood
Cones: Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Coast redwood

Cones make a beautiful addition to Christmas wreathes and decorations but often go unnoticed, hanging high in trees, out of reach until they fall to the ground.  Commonly called pine cones, there are in fact many kinds of cones that grow on different cone bearing trees called conifers. A short walk along the Tall Trees Trail in the New Forest is a wonderful way to experience and learn about some very spectacular conifer trees and their unique cone designs. Read on to begin your cone hunt challenge. Continue reading Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’

Winter Wellbeing

When faced with damp playgrounds, grey skies and soggy winter coats, it’s easy to be discouraged from going outside to learn. The concept of relaxing and enjoying a view or exploring in the dirt can automatically seem less welcoming. So you might not believe me when I tell you the photo above was taken on the New Forest coast this winter. If you step outside your classroom door you’ll never know how the day might turn out, the fact of being outdoors, being active and sharing with others can lift pupils’ mood, creativity and achievement. Some of the best trips we’ve had this year have been on the “grey days” at the end of the year. Continue reading Winter Wellbeing

Winter Trees

Trees in winter - discover an upside down world
             Trees in winter – discover an upside-down world

The New Forest’s woodlands become different places in the winter. Leaves fall from deciduous trees, in a myriad of autumn colours, to reveal bare branches and twigs with pointy buds. Suddenly leafless, this is the best time to study the shapes and silhouettes of trees; the ancient oaks look bent and wrinkled whilst silver birch look slender and smooth. Here are some fun ideas to help ID and learn about trees in winter: Continue reading Winter Trees

360° of sky and sea

It’s a great tradition to march a group of students half way along Hurst Spit, come rain or shine. The experience of the wind in your face and trudging through shingle is a memorable one. So much so that the concept of a “depositional feature” or “longshore drift” will hopefully wedge in between those physical memories somewhere. I took the photo above on one such windy day, and if it seems odd, it’s because I used a THETA 360° camera to capture left, right, up, down and behind me. Continue reading 360° of sky and sea

Nature inspired autumn land art

Where does a Leaf Cat go when the wind blows? Don't forget to take a photo of your land art
Where does a Leaf Cat go when the wind blows? Don’t forget to take a photo of your land art.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be outdoors exploring the New Forest; foraging for juicy blackberries, collecting fallen crab apples and enjoying the season’s changing colours. It’s also a wonderful time to create some amazing land art – all you need are leaves and a creative imagination. Continue reading Nature inspired autumn land art