ECT summer forest schoolChildren discovered the joys of the great outdoors in the first of two summer holiday Forest Schools organised by Fairford Town Council and run by the Ernest Cook Trust.

Despite the summer showers, the event at Lea Wood on ECT’s Fairford Estate in Gloucestershire, attracted 76 children and parents. Youngsters took part in a range of activities, including den-building, pond-dipping and toasting marshmallows over an open fire.

Fairford’s Town Clerk Vanessa Lawrence said: “It’s the first time we’ve organised summer holiday forest school days for children in partnership with ECT, and it’s been a brilliant success – it’s really taken off.  

“For parents it’s a perennial problem, how to keep the children occupied during the summer months. This is a real opportunity to get children away from their tablets and mobile phones and out having fun in the countryside.”

The first summer Forest School on August 8th was a big hit with children and parents who braved the downpours. “We had an awesome time,” said Helen Lloyd. “The activities were perfect for all age groups and there was enough to keep everyone happy. 

“Toasting marshmallows was great and we found some amazing water beasties whilst pond dipping.  Anne (Newman, ECT’s Head of Education) did a great job at keeping the fire stoked up and the brioche and marshmallows flowing. It was raining but this didn’t matter at all. A great time was had by all.”

ECT summer forest schoolMum Bethan Hooper, who attended with her children Eleri, aged six and Owen, two, said: “I was very impressed. Lea Wood is beautiful and we all enjoyed being able to explore it.”

The next Fairford Town Council/ECT forest school at Lea Wood on Tuesday August 22nd is already fully-booked.

The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT), based in Fairford, Gloucestershire, is one of the UK’s leading educational charities, and is rooted in the conservation and management of the countryside. The Trust owns and manages 22,000 acres of landed estates across five counties in England.

ECT actively encourages children and young people to learn from the land through education programmes on its estates, and by giving grants. Each year its Trustees distribute up to £2m to a range of education initiatives.