Forest School

Who do you trust with your children?

CONTACT US for free advice and guidance.

CONTACT US for free advice and guidance.

We've had a number of complaints and anecdotes about another outdoor education company that claims they are a forest school provider. Its always sad to hear people haven't had the positive experience they expected.  Often these experiences are fun until something goes wrong. Some of these stories are outrageous so its best to make sure things are legitimate before you hand over your loved ones.

As part of our advice to schools service built on my 15 years experience in education we prepared a safety bulletin for schools some time ago which we'd like to share again because it seems the message isn't getting through. Please feel free to share any of the links.

As a parent I would strongly recommend that you scrutinise any forest school nursery or holiday club that is for kids only i.e. parents drop off in the morning. You can view what they need to do in this document. Basically if they're doing more than 2 activities and parents aren't about then they need to register. If they haven't then you need to think why not?

Do they have a facebook page? Have a look at the reviews and not just the positive ones. How did they react when things went wrong?

If you have problems with any organisation that claims to be a forest school then you can report them to the Forest School Association. There is a code of good practice they should follow. See our bulletin here.

Nobody find Risk Assessment particularly exciting but as a parent you want to know the company you're taking your children to has done its homework. Don't be embarrassed to ask for a risk assessment. See our original bulletin here.

Like Risk Assessments they should have Public Liability Insurance to cover any eventuality. btw if they're using land without permission then its probably not valid so make sure they've got a licence agreement. See original bulletin here.

Are they as they should be? A CRB/DBS tells you that. Is it as clean as you think? As a parent you have a right to query this to make sure staff are competent and safe. Or will you just take it on trust. See our CRB bulletin here.

See our competency bulletin here.

Its certainly worth having a conversation about these safeguards and don't feel embarrassed. You as a parent/carer/teacher have a right (in fact a duty) to make sure everything's above board and any company working with children recognises that and can provide what you need no questions asked.

Enjoy the holidays!

Appleton Forest School

UPDATE - Now moved to Friday!

Every Monday 10am Lumb Brook Valley

£5 per child

We've been running forest school sessions for our 'regulars' since February 2015 and its been a lot of fun!



Looking back of our sessions my first thought  is one of pride. I've seen Forest School build our pupils' confidence grow in leaps and bounds. Ranging from 2 to 14 year olds at first there was trepidation with going off path and into the Brook but soon this became normal so every session begins with a dip in the stream to have a look. This is led by the children - there's always this desire to explore and investigate.

Cooking with Fire  safely

Cooking with Fire  safely

Another regular is fire building. Fear of fire has grown into respect. Pupils can now safely identify and collect appropriate firewood - deadwood, tinder, kindling and logs, build a fire and light it with a flint and steel. We've made char cloth and cooked on the fire. We've developed and agreed safety rules which we all follow. This is something we can only do with the express permission of the land owner - so thank you Woodland Trust - and is carried out in a 'leave no trace' way.

            Hazel identified  and ripe for coppicing

            Hazel identified  and ripe for coppicing

Most sessions we use tools to make something. We've learnt to identify plants and in particular hazel.

A hazel hurdle/habitat pile made by 2 - 14 year olds and parents.

A hazel hurdle/habitat pile made by 2 - 14 year olds and parents.

Lumb Brook Valley has an abundance of hazel and with the permission of the Woodland Trust we've been coppicing hazel (cutting it back). Coppicing makes hazel live for longer and develops an understory - leave hazel too long and it turns into quite a large tree. This reduces the burden of maintenance by the trust so hopefully we're saving them money to spend on other things. By cutting it back every 12 years or so you prevent it turning into a tree  and help the herb layer get more light. At Lumb Brook that means more bluebells!

Using a bow saw, loppers, bill hook and knife we've used hazel for:

  • Den Building
  • Raising a fire pan off the ground
  • Building our fire safety tripod
  • Making handles for toasting popcorn and for our pond dipping sieves
  • Making walking sticks
  • Habitat piles for hedgehogs
  • Protecting the stream bank
  • Making a hurdle habitat fence

Our greatest achievement is that we've got children using tools safely, recognising dangers (such as a sharp blade) and taking appropriate precautions. The only injury we've had is Rawdon's pride when he fell over in the mud on a bear hunt.

What's next?

Sessions are child led so we'll see where we go but due to our passion, commitment to and love of nature we've now got another land owner on board to use even more woods in Lumb Brook Valley. We'll update you when all the paperwork is in place but this will give our pupils the  chance to develop their own site for forest school - so more exploring, more tool use, more learning and more fun.

Why not contact us to book onto a session? Have a look at our Appleton Forest School Facebook Page where we post site specific updates or alternatively our Fairy Forest School page for upcoming events.


Once upon a time . . .

Wakey wakey! The blue bells have rung. Spring time is here! Time to wake up!

Wakey wakey! The blue bells have rung. Spring time is here! Time to wake up!

Spring has sprung and the fairies are waking up

On the run up to Midsummer Eve we're guiding the young and young at heart into the fairy woods.

We need your help to return our fairy tales back to their own land before its too late.

Will you:

Try the 3 bears porridge?

Retrieve 3 blind mice and a flower fairy?

Reunite the Big Bad Wolf with his Granny?

 Find the 3 not so little pigs and build them a stick house?

Climb a hill with Jack and Jill?

Blow a frog a kiss and turn him into a prince?

Courtesy and bow for the King and Queen?

Meet a fire breathing dragon?

Join us exploring the woods for a 2 hour magical hunt with stories and games. Discover the magic of the natural world before settling down for some treats and hot dogs (sorry 3 little pigs) cooked on the campfire.

Price £10 per child - Discounts for siblings, Woodland Trust Members, etc.

9:45am meet up for porridge

10:00 set off

12 noon campfire lunch

SATURDAY 16th May - New Moss Woods nr Glazebrook

SUNDAY 17th May - Lumb Brook Valley, Appleton

SATURDAY 30th May - Gorse Covert Mounds, Birchwood


Events for May


Its a chilly start to May but soon it'll be lovely and warm (hopefully).

EVERY MONDAY - Including Bank Hols. Appleton Forest School 10am at Lumb Brook Valley. Sessions are at least an hour but often stretch on to midday if we get into things (which we usually do). This is an ongoing series of child led sessions. Recently we've done some tool use with under 5s, explored, identified trees, stream walked, made hazel hurdles, bean poles and more. Its very organic and often involves participants influencing what happens at future sessions. PRICE £5 per child with sibling discounts, etc.

Sunday 10th May - PRIVATE GRUFFALO BOOKING at Gorse Covert Mounds. Get in touch if you'd like your own personalised session for family or friends.

FAIRY TALE WOOD Saturday 16th May 10am-12 noon New Moss Wood, Glazebrook. The 3 bears will be serving porridge to set us up for our adventure . Join us as we wander the woods in search of fairy tales and try making a house of sticks before the big bad wolf blows them down.  Followed by hot dogs (sorry 3 little pigs) cooked on a campfire. PRICE £10 per child with sibling discounts, etc.

FAIRY TALE WOOD Sunday 17th May 10am-12 noon Lumb Brook Valley, Appleton.

FREE MINIBEAST HUNT Saturday 23rd May - Exclusively for our Fairy Forest School Facebook friends. All you have  to do is like, follow and share our facebook page. More details on facebook.

Don't forget our Appleton  Forest School for the BANK HOLIDAY.

HALF TERM - TUESDAY 26th May - NEOLITHIC VILLAGE at Gorse Covert Mounds. Our favourite session so far exploring nature and building dens. Campfire Lunch Included. PRICE £10 per child with sibling discounts, etc. See our previous blog here.

HALF TERM - WEDNESDAY 27th May- BEAR HUNT at New Moss Wood, Glazebury. 9:45am Porridge, 10am set off and teddy bears picnic for lunch with campfire cooking. PRICE £10 per child with sibling discounts, etc. See our previous blog here.

HALF TERM -THURSDAY 28th May - WET n WILD. A nature walk along the length of the Dingle for adults and/or children. You will get wet. 10am (lasts up to 2 hours) PRICE £5 each.

HALF TERM - FRIDAY 29th May - FOREST SCHOOL FRIDAY. A bit of everything! Using tools, dens, camp fires, nature.  Great for those thinking of taking up forest school. Great for home educators or teachers, nurseries, etc. thinking of introducing forest school or families just wanting to get outside and do stuff! What is forest school? Find out here.

 FAIRY TALE WOOD Saturday 30th May -noon Gorse Covert Mounds. The 3 bears will be serving porridge to set us up for our adventure . Join us as we wander the woods in search of fairy tales and try making a house of sticks before the big bad wolf blows them down.  Followed by hot dogs (sorry 3 little pigs) cooked on a campfire. PRICE £10 per child with sibling discounts, etc.

New Moss Wood GRUFFALO Forest School Tues 14th April

Read the story

Meet the characters

Build their homes

Everyone loves the Gruffalo wherever he goes!

Everyone loves the Gruffalo wherever he goes!

Everyone loves the Gruffalo and why not. He's awesome. No doubt you've been on Delamere's Gruffalo Trail (pictured) which is well worth a look and free to walk round. There's also other Gruffalo sites dotted around at Forestry Commission sites.

At Fairy Forest School we love the Gruffalo and give a different experience to Delamere and one that's perhaps closer to home.


We keep groups to about 12 children. We journey through the wood introducing the characters and reading extracts of the story and build their homes on the way.

As a company that subscribes to the Forest School ethos we use the story to encourage children to explore, identify trees and the natural world about them, build and be creative, learn to their own pace, help each other and even experience using tools.

We finish off with fire warmed Nutella banana treats whilst Mouse nibbles his hazelnut.

Why not join us? Price £10 per child (£8 discounted) for over 2 hours of Gruffalo fun including nibbles.


We had such as great time on the BEAR HUNT at Appleton we're going to repeat it. Only this time we'll be looking for our fuzzy friends on  SATURDAY MORNINGS and across the Warrington area so we get even more people to experience the magic of Fairy Forest School.

Meet our tartan McBear family for some porridge at 9:45am before setting off into the deep dark wood to rescue our bears who've wandered off in search of honey. Expect a wild experience crossing bogs and streams as these bears have a real sense of misadventure - best wear waterproofs and wellies! Then at midday we'll get our our campfire going and have some sausages in a bun to celebrate at our TEDDY BEARS PICNIC.

All this for only £10 per child for 3 hours of fun including food! 

AND if you bring a friend we'll give you another place for FREE!

Please book because spaces are limited.

Call Rawdon 07799 321849 or email

SATURDAY 21st MARCH will be at Lumb Brook Valley in Appleton.

SATURDAY 28th MARCH will be at Gorse Covert Mounds in Birchwood.

SATURDAY 11th APRIL will be at New Moss Wood in Cadishead.

Like and Follow the FAIRY FOREST SCHOOL Facebook page to Meet the Bears!