I went for a walk in The Dean Wood today, and found pixie shelters at the far end. Built into the boles of several chestnuts were carefully constructed huts of sticks, woven with leaves. Some had moss strips as gardens and twigs as fences. One even had a tiny ditch. Defensive possibly, against attacking wood-lice. I reported back to Sarah because obviously this was going to be a major draw for our glampers – ‘Feed the animals, then come and look at the pixies in the wood!’. On reflection, we might be arrested if we did that.
Sarah explained that it was part of her Forest Schools Leadership training. Every Friday she goes to the woods with half the local village school. They learn how to carve amulets out of branches, to make charcoal, identify leaves, and, it seems, to make pixie shelters. That would explain the bundles of branches thrown against trees which I had assumed were simply Roy (our friend and occasional helper) ‘tidying up’. These were the boys’ shelters. The tiny ones were the girls’.
Once she is qualified, she will get a certificate. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not (I don’t mean the certificate, just the fact of qualifying). It’s hard enough running the farm, and the glampers, and trying to hold down a job without becoming an outside school. Already it is verboten for me to go anywhere on Fridays (Forest Schools Day). What if this turns into a full-time school? I’ll be forced to spend the rest of my life shut in the farmhouse.
It’s a good thing for the nippers though. They get to spend an afternoon in a wood, doing proper learning, but outside. If my education had been like that, it’s possible I might have got a certificate or two of my own.
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