Tag Archives: nature

Woodland Adventurers head further afield


Walking into the woods
Walking into the woods

The sun was certainly shining down on us for our second Woodland Adventurers session this term, as we eagerly headed out into the woods, wearing even fewer layers than last week. We were greeted with a very welcome sight as we walked through the first field into the woods; what appeared to be hundreds of sheep with their newborn lambs, some of them only days old.

Sheep glorious sheep
Sheep glorious sheep

Indeed, it was surprising to see so many sheep in one place, even more so for the children who are welcoming only their third spring on this earth.

Fresh eyes

All the children were amazed by the sheep, particularly one little boy who kept repeating over and over again ‘more sheep‘, as if he couldn’t really believe his eyes. Yet another example of how when I adjust my viewing lens, the way I look at the world, and really connect and listen to what young children are actually saying, I am blown away by their wisdom and the many wonders nature presents us with everyday. Yes there were many sheep, and yes isn’t that amazing.

Splashing in the stream
Splashing in the stream

The children’s awe was infectious. All the adults stared at the sheep with fresh eyes, watching the lambs frolic, feed and follow their mothers. The one down side to these new arrivals was that we really had to watch our step, to avoid the many piles of sheep dung which littered our path! The stream proved very useful, therefore, for not only playing poo sticks in, but also washing sheep poo off our wellies! All the more reason to still wear over-trousers even in dry spring weather, to protect our clothing from animal dung as well as mud and brambles, which children are always attracted to and manage to find, even on very dry days. Continue reading Woodland Adventurers head further afield

Woodland Adventure

Tessa’s first Woodland Adventurers

Ewan well into his fifth term at Forest school, whilst this is Tessa’s first day. Ewan is the oldest child at Forest School, Tessa the youngest

My daughter runs delightedly down the path towards the river, following a group of seven other two year olds, her fellow Woodland Adventurers. She pauses once or twice to glance back at me, then carries on, her small legs carrying her surprisingly quickly over the uneven ground, muddy ground. We have walked this same path many times together, with Tessa mainly in the sling and Hector by our side, at the start of a dog walk in the Peak District. However, this is the first time that Tessa has explored this area with her peers, a novel experience for us both. And she loved every minute of it.

Joining a woodland group

There were moments of uncertainty when I saw her brow furrow as she puzzled in the new experience, as if shocked to find herself with other children in the woods. At other times her eyes shined with amazed delight and wonder that she was now sharing this experience with others. All day she kept repeating ‘Mummy, children‘, as if entranced to be out here with someone other than her big brother and parents. I assured her that yes there were other children with her, and asked her if she liked it. Her vigorous nod and empathic ‘liked it‘ assured me of how positively she found the whole experience. Continue reading Woodland Adventure

The Sea

Acton Beach, Irleand

Waves breaking

Salt water and wind buffering our faces

We embrace the howling sea,

As I carry you along this unspoilt shore

I suddenly hear your voice, unbounded, speaking to me:

All this I have seen before, mummy,

The froth, the ebb, the flow of the ocean,

Its elemental beauty.

For I have come from another life,

To dwell for a time here with you.

You know me mummy

You knew me before time began and shall carry on knowing me in eons of time, Continue reading The Sea

Wild camping in the woods

This article was first published in The Green Parent magazine, issue no: 57 Date: February/March 2014

Wild camping in the woods

Wild places of the heart

Wild camping means camping amongst nature away from a managed campsite. Wild places hold a special place in my heart; after a privileged childhood spent outdoors as much as possible, and an enchanting gap year spent in the Himalayas, I continued to feel connected to the mountains at university by joining the hill-walking club. Here I met my lifelong partner, Richard, at the top of a Munro in Scotland (a mountain over 3000ft). Richard developed his passion for wild and mountainous places, learning outdoor skills after spending much of his formative youth in wild places in Scotland on school trips on Hebridean Islands. We both followed our shared passion for the outdoors by spending as much time as possible together in the mountains. We find that being within nature cleanses and rejuvenates the sole, offering us a true perspective on life and a much needed breath of fresh air.

Our first wild camp was memorable, spent on the beautiful, untamed, uninhabited island of Taransay, our window the waves crashing metres below our tent. From this we wild camped whenever possible, combining it with mountaineering trips in the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, the English Lake District and the Alps. Wild camping offers seclusion and a rich experience of nature, the chance to really ‘get away from it all’, from society and our multi-media, high-tech, electronic age. It also brings a rich feeling of being self-sufficient and minimalist, in that you have to carry everything you need with you on your back, a rarity in our everyday lives.

Continue reading Wild camping in the woods

Labouring naturally: nature’s gift

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.


It is the journey, not the destination that matters. Here I describe the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of my labour, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth. My firstborn child, a son, was born in June 2010. Ewan’s birth was far from the ‘perfect’, natural birth I had envisaged, prepared for and naively believed I would have. Instead, I gave birth by emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic. Lying unconscious, I missed the first three hours of my son’s life, and then spent the next few days too ill to care for my son, recovering in hospital.

My suffering, the pain, trauma and long period of postnatal recovery were far outweighed by the child standing before me. My son was born a very healthy little boy, who nursed like a dream. Our first meeting was indescribable, as I instantly felt overwhelmingly attached to my son, an outpouring of unconditional love which knew no bounds.

Now, almost two years on, I can reflect on and celebrate this profound experience, cherishing the joy of labouring naturally, even though I could not in the end birth naturally. In this post I share the period before the second stage of labour, holding these hours up with strength, pride and happiness for all to see.

Continue reading Labouring naturally: nature’s gift