The owners are keen to keep the woodland as natural as possible and there is a policy of minimal management. The area used for the sessions is not accessible to the general public and is regularly checked by the site ranger.
The best actions for this specific site would be to regularly change the area used for forest school sessions and to designate areas for wildlife habitats. Rotating forest school site regularly is feasible as it is a 7 acre site and there are several suitable locations. Building wildlife habitats and discouraging children from playing near them will minimise the impact on wildlife in the woodland.
The table below shows some of the factors that need to be considered in managing the site. They are generic considerations that will apply to and woodland with the exception of the composting toilet situated on the site I used for my portfolio sessions.
|Factor||Location||Current Situation||Target Situation||Preventative Measures||Monitoring||Method of Management||Timescale|
|Pathways||Main path from entrance to site.||Established but muddy in poor weather.||Improved access in all weather conditions. Clear from obstruction.||Alternate path to site. Vary path taken. Cut back overgrowth.||Monitor condition each visit.||Children to identify which path to use. Use of bark and wood shavings on path.||Y1 – Establish
Y2-3 – Maintain
|Deadwood||Throughout the site.||Scattered throughout the site.||Stacked for use as firewood or used to create insect habitats.||Provide piles of deadwood for children to use for play.||Monitor each visit.||Encourage children not to use wood from piles designated as insect or wildlife habitats.||Y1 – Create
|Nettles and Brambles||Throughout the site.||Throughout the site, sometimes overgrowth covers less trodden paths.||Clear paths providing clear access to different areas of the site.||Regular cutting back.||Involve children in monitoring condition of path on visits.||Children to identify if a path needs clearing and be involved in cutting back.||Y1 – Establish main paths
Y2 – 3 Monitor and maintain
|Ground cover||Throughout the site.||Patchy – varies depending on canopy cover and use of area.||More consistent throughout site.||Rotate areas on site used for forest school to allow regrowth.
Limit activities that have impact on ground and shrub level.
|Monitor each visit. Rotate each season or when significant negative impact noticed.||Children to be involved in monitoring condition of woodland floor and plants at current site.
Children encouraged to select material from ground / shrub level over a wider area.
|Wild life||Throughout in trees and bushes.||Around forest school site disturbed by children and activities.||Designated habitats created for wildlife (see deadwood above).||Educate children in importance of and how to protect wildlife.||Monitor habitats each visit. Could be included in activities – bird spotting, bug hunting etc.||Avoid playing near areas designated as habitats.||Y1 – Identify and build habitats
Y2-3 – Maintain
|Compost toilet||At edge of woodland.||Well maintained.||Well maintained.||Regularly check levels and empty if appropriate. Ensure quantity of suitable soak material always available.||Check level every month.||Emptied when necessary.||Ongoing|