In the autumn of 2021, we started delivering outdoor learning sessions to children and young people. For younger audiences, we’ve adopted a forest school style approach. The children have really enjoyed visiting their local green space and learning about the plants and animals that live there. For the older children and young people, the sessions incorporate rural skills like woodland management and dry stone walling. Combining multiple sessions helps to embed learning across a range of disciplines.
Year 10 students from Thomas Keble secondary school taking part in woodland management activities
We refer to rural skills a lot – but what are they? When we talk about rural skills, we are mostly talking about traditional crafts and skills that are integral to our landscape – think about how a dry stone wall helps keep sheep in a field, or how a well laid hedge keeps boundaries neat and tidy. Many rural skills also have positive benefits for nature and wildlife too.
We want to share these skills with young people, and inspire them to reconsider the landscape of the Cotswolds: not just as a pretty place to visit, but also as the source of a new interest or hobby, or perhaps the place to build a career.
In introducing people to these wonderful skills and crafts, many of which are centuries old (or more!), we hope to encourage people to think about how landscape-based rural skills can not only offer opportunities for work and recreation, but also are a vital part of how we work to look after the Cotswolds landscape.
Above all, we want to encourage people to get outside, and really take part in these skills. To get stuck in, try their hand at something new, to breathe the fresh air, and take a look around.
If this sounds of interest to you, or a group you work with, get in touch with us to find out more:
James Webb, Partnerships and Fundraising Lead, firstname.lastname@example.org
This work has been made possible because of generous grants from Thames Water, Wates Foundation, and the Summerfield Charitable Trust. We are also using the surplus funds raised from the successful Kingfisher Trail in 2021.