Longshaw Woodland Day 2019

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A Day out in the Woods

My eldest child is a volunteer with the Eastern Moors Partnership Youth Rangers. So when he decided to help out at the Woodland Day at Longshaw this year we decided to go along.

We paid the £5 for an activity passport my daughter (8). All of the activities were then free (bar 2 which were well sign posted) and she could participate as many times as she wished.

The day began at 11am and continued until 3.30pm. We got there as soon as it started and expected to leave by 1pm especially as the weather was extremely changeable. (And the rugby was on!) Fortunately we were well prepared however as we ended up staying until the very end. (I managed to catch most of the second half!)

So much to do

We started off having a look at the National Trust area. It was really well thought out with loads of activities for all ages. The volunteers and people manning the stalls were very knowledgeable and engaging with the children.

2 Man Saw
Guess the age of the tree
Guess the age of the tree
Making shingles
Making shingles
Chopping wood
Chopping wood

Archeology and tree trails

There were also two trails to participate in. The first was over a small piece of the woodland. My daughter loved finding the pictures and letter clues to work out the word on the information sheet.

The archeology trail was a little more taxing but still only took twenty minutes or so to complete. Using a simple map we headed to the gateposts to start. We were fortunate enough to have one of the guides accompany us which was really useful. He had a great nature with kids and was very knowledgeable about the area.

We headed into a field that we had never been through before. Standing tall and proud was a huge stone. The stone from the 1700's was a sign post along the pack horse trails cris-crossing the countryside. (I haven't suddenly lost my ability to spell, apparently in the 1700's Chesterfield was written 'Chastfild'.)

Sign post to Chastfild
Sign post to Chastfild
Pointing the way
Pointing the way
Funeral Cairn Longshaw
Funeral Cairn Longshaw

More to do

We meandered up through the muddy pathway (some prams were struggling) and were just in time for the Storytelling at the Story Tipi. Again catering for all ages, the storyteller was vibrant and energetic keeping the attention of the listeners. Next my daughter had the opportunity to create a piece of art using charcoal which had been made earlier on the charcoal burner at the event.

My daughter decided to draw the story Tipi, then got a bit of a shock as Marley the Shetland pony arrived neighing behind her as she drew!

 

Natural art
Natural art
The story Tipi and Marley
The story Tipi and Marley
The Gallery
The Gallery

Time for a bite to eat

Although I had packed up food and drink to eat, the soup and potatoes on offer smelled too good to resist. We bought two tomato soups with rolls, a black coffee and 2 very nice slices of cake for £7. Both soups on offer were vegetarian and the variety of cakes was brilliant. Everyone was catered for, be it vegetarian, vegan or those with specific dietary requirements.

Learning to whittle
Learning to whittle

Youth Ranger Activities

We decided to try out the Youth Ranger activities next, first we tried out whittling. As with all the other activities the emphasis on keeping the children safe was really high. The people training my daughter either with an axe, saw or knife were incredible teachers making sure that she was safe and comfortable at all times. Needless to say she loved this activity. It made her feel very grown up and she came away with a tent peg that she had made all by herself.

Youth Ranger Whittling
Youth Ranger Whittling
Youth Rangers
Youth Rangers

Natural Dyes and Willow Weaving

Across from the Whittling area was a tent where material and wool was being dyed. Although there was nothing interactive for the children to participate we were shown the process and informatively told about how fabrics were once dyed naturally. There were pots on a stove showing the process as well as additional resources. It was really interesting. As it was still February the more vibrant berries and flowers were unavailable. The volunteers had been steeping different tree barks in jars, ready to show at the event.

Natural dyes
Natural dyes
Boiling to get the best colour
Boiling to get the best colour
Jars of bark
Jars of bark

Instructed by Louise at the Willow Weaving area, my daughter then made a beautiful fish made from willow stems. She worked really had and was instructed and encouraged until she had finished her creation.

A fish in the making
A fish in the making
Here's one I prepared earlier!
Here's one I prepared earlier!

On-wards and upwards!

Further up the trail we could smell another fire. As it had just started to hail we decided to sit by the Forest School cooking pit and keep warm. My daughter was given a small piece of dough which she wound round a skewer and warmed in the fire. The dough expanded and browned quickly and she enjoyed eating the bread that she had cooked herself.

Keeping warm
Keeping warm
Cooking bread
Cooking bread

Other activities in the Play Wild area included a small trail learning about tracks left by different animals, archery and clay face making. We did have quite a few goes on the suction archery and my daughter made a great gargoyle face on a tree. Some of the faces adorning the trees at the end of the day were very creative as you can see below.

We spent a short period of time getting to know Marley the Shetland pony, but we didn't participate in besom making. (We still have the one my daughter made last year!) We also didn't get to see the heavy horse which was a shame but I think you will agree, we had a very full day!

Tracking animals
Tracking animals
Taking aim
Taking aim
Great shot!
Great shot!
Tree faces
Tree faces
Gargoyle
Gargoyle
Clay fox face
Clay fox face

Get in touch

Please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch if you like the photographs.

My blog is a non profit blog, all my opinions and experiences are my own. If you enjoy my writing and photography please feel free to subscribe to my blog here, or you can find some of my designs for sale at redbubble.com/people/derbyshireduck.

'Chasterfild' ancient signpost
Finding her own way to look at things
Finding her own way to look at things
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