Kids get their own great outdoors

WORK has begun to bring eight acres of woodland into use for students at Gainsborough’s Trent Valley Academy.

Until recently, the land, adjacent to the school site on Sweyn Lane off Corringham Road, belonged to the Sir Edmund Bacon Settlement which has links to Gainsborough Old Hall.

But the Trust has agreed to make the school the new gatekeeper of the land.

Now the Academy has an exciting vision to pursue educational and community activities and preserve the green asset for the whole community.

Trent Valley Academy’s business and resources director John Cawdwell said conservation was one of the school’s main aims, providing the chance to preserve an unspoiled natural environment for future generations.

“The bio diversity is amazing,” he said.

“Our policy will be conservation management which really means doing little to the wood.”

Mr Cawdwell said an assessment rated the wood as being in good condition, but that a few improvements were needed to make access easier.

These include installing a pedestrian gate, doing some bramble cutting, putting up signs and a foot bridge over a drain.

Before long, students and the wider community will be reaping the benefits.

Head of physical education Lesley Rollings first suggested they secure the woodland to use across the curriculum.

Mr Cawdwell added: “I am delighted that this resource has been acquired for educational purposes.”

“Trent Valley Academy is well placed to ensure the woodland provides opportunity to develop and improve the life skills of those who use it.”

A trim trail, or fitness course, will be built for pupils to use as part of their PE curriculum, and walking and other supervised play activities will also be encouraged.

But the wood’s usefulness extends beyond health and fitness.

Geography and geology students will also have a whole new resource at their fingertips.

It is the perfect place to conduct biodiversity studies, encouraging children to discover the landscape and habitats right on their school’s doorstep.

Students have even played a part in developing prize-wining plans to make the outdoor space more accessible and easy to use.

Their own foot bridge design won first prize in the Schools Challenge at this year’s Lincolnshire Show.