Recent News at Hakeford Woods
We've had a really busy few months at Hakeford Woods, so I felt it was time for an update of the website.
We're really proud to have been delivering regular Forest School sessions to three of our local schools for the last 7 years
All of the students who have attended these weekly sessions have struggled in the mainstream education sector and attend specialist schools.
We have seen some amazing developments in all of our regular attendees, who brave the wet and the cold throughout the winter and have enjoyed the dry and the heat of the Spring and Summer. Their regular time in the woods has enabled them to improve their physical and emotional confidence, helped them to develop new skills and coping mechanisms and given them a regular break from their regular education settings.
We have offered Holiday Club Sessions during most of the school holidays, with the exception of Christmas and February half term. These have proved to be really popular and we have been delighted to be able to provide these sessions for children booked privately by their families and also places booked and funded by Devon County Council's Early Help team.
The Holiday Club sessions were run by Georgie and Tim, as well as other qualified and experienced Forest School Leaders from 2017 until we encountered Covid in 2020. Due to the restrictions in place at that point we decided to put the Holiday Clubs on hold before starting again this summer. Sessions have been run by a combination of Stuart, Iona, Nick and Zoe. We hope to be offering more of these sessions in the other holiday periods from now on.
The Roundhouse - And Other Forest School Camp areas
In the summer of 2022 we finally finished the roundhouse, third time lucky and we're very proud of it now. Since completion it's become a favourite with our groups and lots of our sessions are based in there. Hopefully we'll be running some other events from the Roundhouse in 2023 so keep your eyes open for exciting announcements.
Support Received for Hakeford Woods
Since Hakeford Woods started, we have been lucky enough to receive support in the form of financial and physical help.
Grant Funding for Wellbeing in Nature
Since starting the Wellbeing in Nature group in the Autumn of 2017 for adults struggling with Mental Health challenges, we have seen the huge benefits brought by the sessions. We realised the importance of these sessions and were quick to begin applying for funding to support this provision.
Out first grant which enabled us to get the sessions going again in the spring of 2018 was received from Recovery Devon who support projects running for those in recovery and struggling with Mental Health in the Devon area. Our next small grant was from the Sanctuary Grand Ideas Fund, this came through some of our clients being residents of Sanctuary supported living projects in the local area.
In the summer of 2018 we then received a significant grant from the Devon Community Foundation that enabled us to secure the project until the end of the year which was fantastic news for us and the regular attendees. The Devon Community Foundation helps to link funders and philanthropists with projects in the Devon community.
In the Autumn of 2018 we were one of the nominated good causes in the Tesco bags of help scheme running in the Braunton store. We were delighted to come second in the token collections and the grant received from this will help us develop this group and the associated Woodland Volunteer project
Since then we have received a variety of other grants from local councilors, The National Lottery, The Alpkit Foundation and some other grant awarding bodies that have enabled us to continue delivering these sessions that have proven to be so helpful for those attending.
We are extremely grateful to the Directors of Fullabrook CIC who agreed to provide funding to enable us to complete the Green Woodwork shelter at Hakeford Woods.
Westward Pathfinder and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
In our early stages it was been a massive help to receive help in the form of volunteer labour from a working party from Westward Pathfinder and the participants of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust's Get on Track Course.
This extra help has enabled us to complete a number of jobs that had been on the "to do list", but were never actually getting done!
Thanks to the working party group, we have an orchard enclosed by a deer proof fence (we hope!). The green woodworking shelter frame has been extended to give a large workshop space and we have managed to disguise the blue storage containers with sawmill offcuts kindly provided by Chivenor Sawmill.
The participants of the Get on Track Course were a massive help for a day, when the 16 young people and their elite Athlete mentors helped make some important improvements around the camp. Thanks to this help, the long awaited pizza oven is now nearing completion, we have a raised fire pit in the main riverside camp and have a new path leading to the roundhouse site.
A big thanks goes to Ali Smart from Westward Pathfinder for organising these volunteer days. The help received on these days has made an enormous difference to the Forest School site and possibilities for the future.
In recent years we've also received help from a variety of others. Our volunteer in chief Cheryl did a great job of organising regular volunteer sessions in 2021 which made a real difference to developing the growing area, coppicing the hazel, filling the charcoal kiln and helping get the area around the newly extended pond planted with wild flower seeds.
In the last year we've also had a lot of help from different people who have helped to make the newly completed roundhouse (mark 3!!!) a success. Big thanks in particular to Roli and Jim, without whose help it'd probably still be a frame!
In March of 2017 we received Large Working Woodland Tree Pack from the Woodland Trust. The 420 trees arrived at short notice, but thanks to a group of about 30 fantastic volunteers (adults and children) we managed to get our mix of trees planted out before planting season was over. we'll be looking forward to seeing these new areas of woodland grow and develop in the coming years.
We received another Tree planting pack in 2019 and were ably assisted but a great group of helpers to try and establish a wildlife friendly hedge along the side of the main track.