Year 3 and 4 travelled over to Lenwade for a full day of Forest School activities in Wrong’s Covert.
We started our day by establishing our camp and the children were sent to fetch firewood from the woodland floor. We revised our ‘Stick Badge’ understanding – looking for the crispy dry twigs rather than anything green or waterlogged.
The children were introduced to the discipline of a well maintained log pile, with wood sorted by size and placed close to the fire circle.
The children then went to visit the charcoal burner, an enormous metal cylinder, raised on chimney legs, that had been used to produce charcoal commercially in the past. The owner of the wood Kathy explained how the burner worked and we enjoyed re-assembling the parts to get a feel for the work involved.
The children were then sent to collect some semi-green willow twigs from a fallen tree. They used these twigs to fill small metal tins tightly, these were our own home-made charcoal burners! Mrs Castle carefully laid the fire with kindling and thinner twigs at the base, and the charcoal burning tins were placed at the base of the fire.
The children made use of Mrs Castle’s fire stick to generate sparks and get the fire alight, all the children had a go at working with this tool, but Noah did particularly well at generating the spark that got the fire alight!
With the fire alight there was time to explore the wood and the children had a great time running around the natural slopes and making great use of the rope swing. I think the blurry pictures show quite how fast the children were moving! Charlie said ‘The swing was great, I loved having fun with my friends!’.
Whilst exploring the woodlands the children were also asked to collect interesting shaped and coloured leaves for our artistic project for the afternoon. We arranged the leaves in a shallow tray of iron and vinegar solution. These chemicals should promote the extraction of the pigments within the plant materials. Once the leaves were soaked in the vinegar and iron solution they were arranged on sheets of specially prepared paper, tied into scrolls and placed in a bucket over the fire to steam and ‘develop’. Mrs Castle had previously produced some beautiful leaf prints on paper – we’ll have to keep you posted as we unroll the scrolls later in the week.
At the end of our visit we finished our afternoon with a tea time snack of sausages cooked over the open fire – just the right thing to keep us going until the end of the day – Ben said ‘The sausages were really tasty!’.