We open our new outdoor classroom to keep the kids running wild

Quinta Forest School

Cheshire's free range schoolchildren now have more opportunities to run wild thanks to a new outdoor classroom near Congleton.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust has launched its Forest School at one of its flagship nature reserves, The Quinta, while paying tribute to the former Mayor of Congleton, one of the organisation's education pioneers.

Officially opened by Trust President, broadcaster Felicity Goodey, the launch saw members, supporters, funders and teachers get a taste of Forest School life.  Pupils from Mablin's Lane Primary School in Crewe took part in a session where they made dens, set fires, toasted marshmallows, and experimented with natural art.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust staff and William Deane Trustees

Cheshire Wildlife Trust staff and William Deane Trustees

Jan Shone, People and Wildlife Team Leader, explained: "Forest School is an inspirational process that gives pupils the chance to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment.

"The Quinta Forest School is a really exciting development for the Trust, because although we have been running these sessions in Cheshire for a few years, this is our very first dedicated Forest School on a Cheshire Wildlife Trust reserve."

During the launch, the Trust unveiled a specially made bench situated on the edge of the outdoor classroom, dedicated to the memory of community stalwart, Margaret Williamson, former Mayor of Congleton.

Jan explained: "When I began work at the Trust in 1999 as the Wildlife Watch Co-ordinator, Margaret was the Education Officer and The Quinta is one of the sites where we worked together as colleagues, inspiring young people and families about the wonders of local wildlife. Long after her retirement she continued to be a huge supporter of the People and Wildlife Team in her role as trustee of the William Dean Trust , which over the years has been astonishingly generous in helping us deliver our education work".

"Because of her love of the outdoors and her passion for education, I felt that dedicating the site to her was a fitting thing to do. I think she would have approved of what we've set out to do and I hope that she would be proud of what she has helped us to achieve." 

In addition to support from The William Dean Foundation, The Quinta Forest School has been made possible thanks to funding from Cheshire East Council, Manchester Airport Community Fund and the Robert Clutterbuck Charitable Trust.