Hakeford Woods Forest School Site
This is our wonderful site. Some areas are muddy, some are steep and there are plants that sting and others with spikes. Most of the large animals are very shy but you'll see lots of small animals, tracks to follow and if you're lucky, (and very quiet!), you might see something special.
Meadows, ancient woodland and hazel coppices.
The total site that we have access to is approximately forty acres. There are a variety of different habitats in this area, some of which will be used for Forest School activities, whilst others will be left for the wildlife to be undisturbed.
The site is divided by a stone forestry track, which was made to provide access to our site and some other areas of private woodland and meadows nearby.
We now have access to both sides of the valley, to the west of the track is a wet riverside meadow. This flat area is low lying, very damp in places and is a rare habitat to a wide variety of different species. We will be using some parts of this meadow for different activities as it has easy access to the stream and is well protected from the South West winds.
Beyond the riverside meadow is an area of riverside woodland, and above that a large area of woodland including ancient woodland with some big veteran trees, areas of ash coppice, birch and an old long abandoned quarry.
To the east of the track, the land slopes up towards the mature woodland. Below the woods are three meadows; these are fantastic areas of unimproved grassland, home to a diverse mix of wildflowers, many of which are important food sources for a variety of different butterflies and other insects. We have begun planting some of these areas with native hardwoods which we hope to be able to use in the future.
The meadows are divided by wide areas of Hazel coppice. These were left unmanaged for many years and we have now begun the long process of bringing them back into management to provide a variety of woodland products and improve the variety of habitats in the process. They should also provide Forest School with a good supply of sticks for various activities.
The mature woodland runs along our eastern boundary. Most of the trees are in excess of 100 years old and it is dominated by mature Oaks. Different parts of the woods also have clusters of Beech, Wild Cherry and Sycamore, amongst others. This area of the site offers huge potential for den building, animal tracking and crafting and is carpeted with bluebells in the Spring. This year we are beginning to manage this area too, which involves felling and removing chosen trees that will be processed to produce planks, beams, posts and hopefully some high quality oak products.
Since our last update full update we've been doing quite a lot to the site. Our main camp (Pizza base) with a kitchen area, a pizza oven and enough covered space for large groups is the main area for Forest School sessions with river camp being the play area
River camp is Iona's main base camp where sessions are run with a variety of different groups.
Roundhouse mark 2 is now fully complete and has all of the necessary facilities including toilet block, kitchen area and outdoor firepit nearby.
Every year is very busy on the woodland management side and this year we removed the top of a large Beech near the roundhouse due to safety concerns, as well as felling a number of ash that were showing signs of Ash dieback disease. Some of the timber s processed for firewood, whilst large sections of the trunk are turned into planks using our onsite sawmill. The timber is now for sale in an unseasoned form. If anybody would like anything in particular please let us know as we can cut timber to size with enough notice. We've moved forward with more coppicing of the hazel to allow us to produce firewood, charcoal, coppice products and offer a wider variety of habitats for the wilder residents of the woodland.