ALL BEARS present and correct.

 PADDLINGTON BEAR went for a paddle. Found under a bridge taking life easy!

PADDLINGTON BEAR went for a paddle. Found under a bridge taking life easy!

A cold start with snow and hail but at least it wasn't raining. A bear hunt is a great opportunity to explore a site and at Lumb Brook Valley its a real pleasure.

We started (after porridge) by reviewing our favourite tree HAZEL. Its our favourite  because the Woodland Trust have given us permission to coppice it. There's lots of hazel which needs a lot of management so every little helps.

Coppicing renews the tree, makes it more manageable and encourages biodiversity by making sure more light hits the floor and lets small mammals (apart from grey squirrels) access the hazelnuts as they're closer to the ground. Its a great material because often you get straight poles you can use for hurdles or in this case walking sticks. It splits easily too!

Our regulars are used to seeing a bow saw and lopper which we let them try under strict supervision one on one. Today I introduced a safety knife (no point end just a sharp edge so not that safe) which I used to trim the bark where the stick is held so you get a nice grip.

Our key theme was exploring and over a large area which our toddlers (and parents too) did really well at. We went through mud, walked down a stream (in it - not on the bank!), climbed a hill, more bogs, then walked under a bridge (again no path just water!).

At that point we needed a warm pick me up. Hot milk left over from porridge and warm juice! We'd caught lots of bears but time had caught us at was nearly lunch time. So we got a tarp up as a team effort, got a fire going and cooked our sausages.

Finally we caved into pressure and toasted some marshmallows. 

After the session it was the usual leave no trace which included trying to remember where the other two bears were.