Category Archives: WPS

Be Tick Aware

During woodland play sessions children may be exposed to ticks as they are commonly found in woodland, moorland, grassland and parks. Ticks can sometimes pass on disease such as Lyme disease to humans. Not all ticks are infected and, if they are removed quickly and safely, the chance of illness is greatly reduced.

We strongly recommend that children wear long sleeved tops and trousers as they not only reduce the risk of tick bite they also protect against nettle stings, scrapes and scratches.

We also recommend that parents check for ticks routinely and, if found, remove as soon as possible. The safest way to do this is to use a tick removal tool commonly available in most outdoor shops and chemists.

The following information and guidance may also be useful :

Forestry and Land Scotland : Checking for ticks is easy

NHS Scotland guidelines : Current NHS Scotland Guidelines on Lyme Disease

Forestry Commission: Forestry Commission Identifying Ticks

The following YouTube video by a NHS Highland GP shows how to remove ticks safely :

CVN Orchard

We are very grateful to Aldo for making a lovely new sign to go beside the fruit trees in our orchard in the walled garden. Amos helped the children find a good spot to put it up. Our apple trees are already covered in blossom and there are leaves on the pears , plums and cherries. The children are hoping to be able to harvest some fruit next week!

Damper Bread

The children had great fun (as well as a significant amount of patience) making damper bread in the woods today. The bread took a long, long time to cook but it was worth the wait. The children said it was yummy and that it smelled just like toast 😊

We are a #ForceForNature

We celebrated Earth Day this week in the woods – what better place??
We have been fortunate to have received fruit trees from The Tree Council and today we planted them in the orchard area of the Walled Garden Gillies Hill Community Woodland. Our children are looking forward to harvesting apples, pears, cherries and plums! It was a lot of hard work with some very exciting finds (worms, bees, butterflies, frogs). Our children are indeed a #ForceForNature

Toads in the Castle Pond

What an exciting visit to the castle pond today. Amos had called to say it was Toad City up there so we just had to rush up to see what he was talking about. We were thrilled to see so many toads and even an occasional frog. We learned so much about toads : male toads are much smaller than the females, toads come back to mate in the same place every year (dont like to think how many toads will be in the pond next year!!!), toad spawn is fertilised after it is laid and toads are rough and lumpy but frogs are smooth and much more slippery.

Tree Labelling on our Woodland Site

We had an important job to do today in the woods, and, for the adults, a significant one. Today, we labelled the trees on our site so they could be points of reference for future work. This was the first proper marking of our site, and although there is a long, long way to go, we now have a visible and obvious mark of our intent. The children chose to label their favourite climbing tree number 1 (technically it is 0001) and then worked with great perseverance and dedication to label other surrounding trees. It was so fitting that our children could not only take part but lead in this big step towards developing our woodland nursery.

Birch Tapping

We spent this morning in Gillies Hill Community Woodland tapping birch trees and harvesting birch sap with Amos. This was a fantastic opportunity for our children to learn about the changes spring brings to the woods and also to understand more about different types of trees and how to identify birch trees by their distinctive silvery white bark. Amos showed us how he drilled a small hole in the tree to let the sap come out and we watched as it started to drip. The children were so excited that they wanted to try catching the sap on their tongues and told us it tasted amazing!
We learned that birch trees are better at producing sap than most other trees as we tried tapping a willow tree and found that it didnt drip at all. We tied milk cartons to the birch trees to catch the sap and when we checked later it was nearly half full.
Thanks for a great day Amos 😊

Exploring the woods

We spent the morning exploring the woods today. We walked to the Walled Garden, along to the Curling Ponds (where we found frog spawn!) up to the Swimming Pool and back down through the Dark Woods. It was pouring with rain most of the time and so we enjoyed lots of splashing and stomping in muddy puddles.

Woodland Play Open Day Oct 2019

We had a wonderful open session today in the woods. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying our fantastic woodland in the lovely autumn sunshine. The soup, bread and pancakes seem to go down a treat though I think they, and we, were all well smoked! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this such a happy and fun afternoon for all concerned. We’d love to see your photos and hear your comments on the afternoon as well as suggestions for future events!

Woodland Play 10 Oct 2019

In the woods today we were building on the interest the children have shown in finding and collecting acorns. Yesterday we learned how to identify an oak tree by looking at the shape of its leaves. Today we walked through the woods and tried to spot more oak trees. We were excited to find a tiny little baby oak (we put sticks around it to protect it because we were worried someone might stand on it) and also an enormous oak tree that took 4 children to stretch their arms around it. We learned that oak trees are known as the King of the Forest and that they grow very slowly but are very strong. Jane, Jordan and Lynda also learned that oak trees produce male and female flowers – the male flowers develop in a group called a catkin. Catkins hang down from twigs and release their pollen into the air where they are blown around to pollinate a nearby female flower.  After pollination, the base of the female flower forms a woody cup, and the flower forms a woody fruit called a nut – an acorn!

We put wood cookie labels on some of the oak trees we found. If you are walking in the woods maybe you will spot one!