The Dead Hedge: Built by Kids, Built For Kids.

Unfortunately, another bitty week of Forest School again this week as staff illness meant I was again pulled back into the Nursery to help cover. We did however manage to do some more axe and saw work in the garden splitting some of the remaining Aspen that came down from the Otter Brook Wood, much to the children’s delight, as well as taking small groups out onto the Timber Trail for some more death defying feats of bravery! So this week's planning came to fruition from a few angles: last week’s Forest School involved a hearty exploration walk up to the top of our plantation. On the way to the summit we noticed some damage to the trees from horses that had been kept there whilst fencing was erected elsewhere on the farm. We took some pruning shears with us to trim the shredded ends of the twigs to make them less susceptible to bacterial infection. The children obviously wanted to help with this. Similarly, on some of our onsite Forest School sessions in the new and improved Apple Tree Den, the North Westerlies that have been blowing through highlighted a key aspect of the design which we all felt needed to rectified. The tarp roof provides excellent protection from the rain, but unfortunately tunnels the wind. So we decided we should build a ‘wall’ to act as block and make a cosier place for the children to share their snack and develop their games.


Therefore this week, I thought it would be good to kill 2 birds with 1 stone (sorry Vince I don’t mean that literally...) The children would use the loppers and pruning shears to develop their practical tools skills, whilst clearing the brash piles in our Nursery Forest School site, and building the wall using a traditional method of fencing called Woven Dead Hedging. It is was originally used as a method of stock control, but has since been noted for it conservation benefits, particularly for nesting birds. But it also acts as an excellent wind block as well!


The children chopped the pieces of brash into manageable sized lengths and then wove them in between stakes hammered into the ground. The children showed excellent tenacity to stay out in the cold, but the sessions were again notably shorter than in previous weeks, so progress on the wall was slow but steady. Although not completely finished, I am impressed with the results and hopefully it will allow the children to be just that little bit warmer on these cold March days ahead.


If you have any questions about this week’s Forest School, or indeed any of the Forest School blog posts, do leave a comment below, and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible!

Enjoy your weekends and see you all next week.