Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!
I ended this week feeling completely exhausted but rewarded with a real sense of achievement having worked hard to connect others with their natural surroundings and quite literally the mud beneath their feet!
This week I have been celebrating ‘International Mud Day’
International Mud Day is a worldwide celebration that aims to connect children around the globe through the earth. To find out more about it’s origins and history follow this link World Forum Foundation or take a peak at the International Mud Day facebook page.
Never too old to play in the mud!
Scientific research suggest that allowing children to play in the mud not only benefits a their personal, social and emotional development but is also important in strengthening children’s healthy immune systems.
The complete engagement, enthusiasm and shear delight on the faces of all three groups of children that I initiated mud play with this week is proof enough for me to recognise the benefits of this type of free play and exploration!
Here are just a couple of forums/articles about the benefits of mud play:
On Thursday I was involved in the Hope Valley College ‘activities week’ and, alongside other outdoor activities lead a day of fire-lighting workshops with the year 7s. Throughout the day I could see the positive effect that being outside (in the rain for the most part) and the real sense of achievement that successfully lighting their fires was having on these young people.
I’m hoping that the college will consider using their Eco area more in the future as I can only see it being an absolute positive influence and healthy space for the students to benefit from.
Fridays nursery class of little ‘Forest School-ers’ were a delight to spend the morning with as always. As we approach the end of the summer school term myself and my colleagues can see such a difference in their confidence, communication, independence, development and sheer joy of playing in ‘their woods’.
It’s been a busy, hard working week for me but I’ve been rewarded with some amazing ‘snap shot’ moments which will always remind me that what I am doing is making a positive impact on others and definitely reaffirming deep connections with the natural world.
A Sunny Sunday Adventure
As a celebration of a successful week I wanted a very gentle, sunny Sunday afternoon adventure and so me and Tom set off on the bus to Fox House.
Picking up litter as we went, we walked along the road and then across the heath to Blacka Moor.
Managed by the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust Blacka Moor is a really special place to explore, with mixed woodland, extensive moorland and stunning views looking over towards Sheffield.
We walked through the woodland adjacent to Hathersage road and emerged out into beautiful sunshine looking out onto ‘Cow sick bog’ (much more beautiful then it’s name suggests!).
Bog Asphodel – Narthecium ossifragum
Stepping across the stoned pathway over the bog to Blacka Hill we stopped to take in the view across Totley and Dore.
The perfect opportunity to stop for a sandwich and cuppa……and we couldn’t resist picking just a few bilberries.
We walked back towards and into the woodland, following the footpath as it wound it’s way down towards Dore.
Bracken – Pteridium aquilinum
‘Bracken is a highly invasive plant and can be damaging to sensitive habitats if it is allowed to spread as it can shade out other, rarer plants. The Wildlife Trusts ensure that the habitats they manage are well-balanced through a number of conservation measures including removing overpowering species like Bracken, scrub-cutting and controlled grazing.’ – The Wildlife Trusts
Beautiful diverse woodland, a wide ranging mix of species, ages and shapes.
Hoof/Tinder Fungus – Fomes fomentarius growing on Silver Birch trees.
A cheeky photo shoot, especially for our friend JP who chuckles at my ‘draping myself’ around the countryside.
Great opportunity for a little lie down though!
The brambles were covered in bumblebees.
We came across a family of Wren – Troglodytes troglodytes (I love their Latin name) and counted at least four tiny fledglings just next to the footpath.
Hedge Woundwort – Stachys sylvatica
A fabulous walk, well worth visiting again. I feel just about revived and ready for another working week.
A few extra photos from my week:
A Swallow-Tailed Moth – Ourapteryx sambucaria sheltering from the rain on the side of the Peak Time building, Hathersage. Fairly common but not often seen during the day.
An amazing variety of succulents growing on a garden wall along Granby road, Bradwell.
Leaf patterns in my mini aboretum in my garden.
The first flower on my new climber, kindly donated by my neighbour.
Can you spot the visitor to my tiny pond?
One of my oak saplings, looking very healthy and happy.
Yet another gorgeous summer sunset.