Building Bridges – working with young people at March Wood

Building Bridges – working with young people at March Wood

Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with March Wood, the site of Play Action which gives city children an experience of the outdoors.  Play Action is a community project supported by Woodands.co.uk.  Dave Newton talks about the positive experiences of working with young people at March Wood.

 I’ve noticed that whenever I come to March Wood and whoever I come with, everyone bonds and works together as a team.  It seems to bring people together.  The natural beauty of the wood means there is always so much to see and explore, for both young and old.

Helping out with a project to build a bridge gave me a chance to introduce my stepson and some of his friends to the outdoors life.  They enjoyed it and asked for a repeat visit, this time just to relax and enjoy some fishing in the pond.

I asked them what they liked most about March Wood, and these are their replies:

Jay (16) – “It’s my first time here, but it’s really great.  I was a bit unsure about the zip wire at first, but once I’d had a go I felt quite safe.  I did some fishing too.  I’m not sure if there are any fish in there, but I’d love to come back and help my dad and friends clear the pond and put some in.”Gary (17) – “I’ve been before and I love the peace.  I just like sitting at the fire and chilling out.  I loved the zip wire and I enjoyed the fishing too, even though I didn’t catch anything.  My brother and I get on better while we’re here and I’d like to come back again.”

Chris (17) – “I haven’t been before, but I’ve really enjoyed it.  I like just sitting watching the fire and collecting the wood.  I didn’t like the zip wire, it’s not my sort of thing, but it did look good.  I thought the food was good, but then I love barbeques.  What I really liked was being able to do whatever I liked without anyone moaning at me.”

Andrew (18) – “My favourite things are watching the fire, collecting wood and the barbeques.  I really liked the zip wire, and exploring and looking at the strange art in the woods.  It’s just good to get away, do something different and meet new people.  The fact that my brother and I got on so well was good too.  I’d really like to come again.”

There’s still lots to be done at March Wood to make it even better.  Everyone is encouraged to leave their mark and have the satisfaction of feeling they’ve made a contribution.


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Did you have to apply for change of use or do you use the wood for social forestry for less than 28 days?

Just interested because I have been told I have to apply for change of use (beyond 28 days use)and am concerned about not getting it, and possibly being liable for business rates etc. What a shame planning hasn’t caught up with policy. The Forestry Commission are quite clear that the definition of forestry includes educational and community use.

Deb Millar

6 November, 2009