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Woodland Explorers at Oxlip Wood

A group of 25 children, parents and grand-parents joined our woodland explorers at Oxlip Wood session and found plenty to enjoy.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive some of the children contributed to the static weaving loom we had standing in the barn.

3 boys standing at weaving loom

We started off sitting around the Forest School log circle and made sure everyone knew how to recognise a nettle, a thistle and a bramble as they were likely to come across all three on their woodland explorations!

We also handed around an alphabet scavenger hunt and an ID sheet featuring butterflies that might be seen. Then off we went slowly up the main track to the top of the wood.

group of children and adults walking along woodland track

Mini-beast hunt

There were plenty of mini-beasts to be found in the long grass up the main track and the children were soon crouching down, fully engaged in the activity and peering intently to see what they could discover. Some families found quite a few things to record against letters in the alphabet scavenger hunt before we’d even finished the first section of the afternoon’s exploration.

two boys peering into grass on woodland floor

If you think your child would enjoy these types of activities in a truly wild woodland, we’ll be running 3 Forest School sessions on 6th, 13th and 20th September.

adult pointing at mini-beast on the ground

The big butterfly hunt

Our woodland explorer’s event coincided with the national big butterfly hunt, so we took the opportunity to see how we might contribute to this national survey of British butterflies.

The children didn’t take much encouragement to stand still and watch a variety of butterflies flitting around, doing circuits across the woodland track.

Chequered Skippers were seen, Meadow Browns and a variety of others, all carefully noted down by the intrepid woodland explorers.

group of children recording butterfly sightings

Testing observational skills

At the top of the wood is an area of dense canopy, making the path through the area quite dark – and a little bit scary (for some of the younger ones at least)

Family groups explored the path, looking for fairies, elves and red wooden mushrooms, which all had secret things written on the bottom of each! In fact there was even one little elf who had a bare bottom, which caused a few chuckles.

It was evident the children loved the thrill of finding the hidden items, which they carefully returned to where they’d found them ready for the next family to try to discover.

2 children looking at a model elf

 

Exploring over your head!

The next part of the woodland exploration involved negotiating high herbage, higher than many of the children.

Pushing your way through high grasses that reach up above your head is something I remember being thrilled by as a small child, giving me a sense of being like a little insect in a giant world.

The children seemed to love this part of the woodland exploration and were soon pretty good at avoiding anything that was likely to prick legs, arms and faces. In the photo below you can just see a couple of people picking their way through this unspoilt, truly wild area of woodland, so different from that found in a more managed setting of a country park.

high herbage with person waling through

Base camp

Having explored 3 very different areas of woodland environment the children were excited to discover a camp, where there just happened to be a drink and a snack ready for them (courtesy of the elves and fairies of course).

group of adults and children sitting on wooden benches

Games of hide and seek followed and it was lovely to see all the children, who didn’t know one another beforehand, playing well together and obviously all feeling included.

children in woodland

Reflecting on the afternoon’s adventures

An important part of Forest School is reflecting on what’s gone on and how it makes you feel. Everyone in the group had a chance to share their favourite memory of the afternoon and what they enjoyed the most.

Top of the list for the favourite part of the woodland exploration was finding the elves, fairies and mushrooms, closely followed by negotiating  the dense and high herbage.

group of children and adults sitting on logs

The smiles on the faces of the children and the adults spelt out the fun experienced during our woodland explorations, so much to see, do, experience and remember.

Visit our new website at Outdoor Tribe to find out about more activities we run at Oxlip Wood, including Craft Sessions, Woodland Explorer Sessions, Woodland Working parties and Forest School for children and also adults.

 

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