Beccles Forest Schools
We are a Community Interest Company formed of a group of professionals and volunteers, aiming to make Forest School accessible to the community of Beccles.
Beccles Forest Schools is very much learner-centred in its approach, so specific activities will be dependent upon the interests of the attendees.
Generally, though, we will be den-building, tree-climbing, rope-swinging, bug-hunting, mud-kitchen-ing, puddle-splashing, foraging (for food, medicine, construction and craft), camp-fire cooking and exploring tool use, to allow for creativity using natural materials.
At Forest School we talk a lot about ‘risk-benefit’.
We offer attendees supported opportunities to assess the benefits and possible risks of a range of activities. We want children, young people and adults to be able to learn about and reap the benefits of fire, tool-use, climbing and foraging, but also to be aware of and know how to reduce and protect themselves from the risks. We openly discuss this with them and work together to find ways to reap the benefits while remaining safe.
We also aim, over time, to give children and young people the autonomy to make independent decisions about the risks they may choose to take. In this way, they learn about their own strengths and limitations, and develop a deeper understanding of and respect for the natural world around them.
Safety at Beccles Forest Schools
- Welfare: Always bring and wear appropriate clothing
- Climbing: Always work with an adult to check trees and ropes before climbing, and check you have 3 points of contact
- Tools: Only use sharp tools in the tool area unless the Forest School Leader or Assistant says otherwise; always do tool work with the Forest School Leader or Assistant until they say that you can work independently
- Fire: Always walk around the outside of the fire area unless the Forest School Leader or Assistant invites you in
- Foraging: Never put anything in your mouth or on your skin until you have checked with Forest School Leader or Assistant
- Boundaries: Respect personal, physical and site boundaries
Meet the Team
Po MidwinterCo-Director and Manager for Schools, Home Ed and Childcare
Po, Co-Director and Manager for Schools, Home Ed and 1:1, brings an incredible energy to our team, which rubs off on children and grown-ups alike. She has completed her Level 3 Forest School Leader qualification, has heaps of experience working in outdoor education and spent 12 years in secondary school drama teaching and running her own theatre company (so it is entirely logical that she is often found being overly-dramatic in the woods). Her favourite things at Forest School include when the children want to play a game together and she gets to join in, doing the wolf howl and hearing it echo across the common, and finding very tiny insects and watching children make friends with them. When she grows up she’d like her own mud kitchen and a saw horse.
Rach ChastonCo-Director and Administrative Manager
Rach works as Administrative Manager across Beccles Forest Schools, and is part of our team of Directors. Beavering away behind the scenes, she does a marvellous job keeping the organisation running smoothly. As well as having invaluable technical knowledge and a knack for organisation, Rach also has an interesting background in progressive education, advocating for child-led approaches that prioritise natural resources and spaces- the perfect recipe for running a Forest School. Rach is a parent of two cheeky and often very muddy children, and she is very involved in networking for parents who are part of our Home Education community.
Lou WalkerCo-Director and Manager for Youth and Adults
Lou Walker is Co-Director of Beccles Forest Schools, and also our Manager for Youth and Adults. She has a beautifully calm presence, and a deep, spiritual connection with nature and our community, which is always so inspiring for those around her and has played a huge role in establishing our vision at Beccles Forest Schools. Since beginning her time with us, Lou has dedicated a lot of her energy to sourcing funding opportunities for young people and older community members, allowing her to set up our Youth Group and Wild Wellbeing sessions. These groups have had a massively positive impact on so many people, and we regularly receive heartfelt messages to pass to her, thanking her for all she does.
Marie CharlesEarly Years Manager and SENCO
Lucy ButcherEarly Years Deputy Manager and Forest School Leader
Lucy is our Early Years Deputy Manager. Her incredible respect for children’s autonomy and her deep connection with The Earth is a major part of what makes our Early Years provision so blooming incredible. Lucy is a qualified and highly experienced member of our Early Years Team, who has attended many a Forest School training workshop and is now embarking on her Level 3 Forest School qualification! She is a truly excellent team leader and ensures all new staff and children settle into the Early Years setting, working sensitively with families to ensure that we meet the needs of all parents and carers, as well as the children. Children gravitate to her energy and enthusiasm, and the deep, enduring relationships she forms with children come very naturally. Lucy can also be found on adventures with the older children in our Home Ed group.
Abi RobinsonForest School Leader
Tommy DLBEarly Years Practitioner
Maisie HorneEarly Years Apprentice
Mike ButtonForest School Assistant
Alice EastaughForest School Assistant
Dorcas Franklyn-BrayForest School Assistant
Chris BackhouseForest School Assistant
Hazel SaccoForest School Leader
Sue ParrForest School Assistant
Amy SharmanEarly Years Volunteer
Info & Policies
Beccles Forest Schools Handbook
Our ‘Beccles Forest Schools Handbook’ provides a detailed overview of our organisation, including our vision and policies current as of the time of last update, and is available to view at the following link: Beccles Forest Schools Handbook
Outdoors Early Years Info Pack
Our Outdoors Early Years Info Pack contains a lot of information about our incredible Early Years provision, and will give you a good idea of what we are all about. It is available to view at the following link: Outdoors Early Years Info Pack
Our Privacy Notice outlines how we handle your data. It is available to view at the following link: Privacy Notice
Please see below for links to our full list of policies:
The Wild Meadow
Beccles Forest Schools & Learning in Nature CIC
The Wild Meadow
How to find us:
There is public parking at the end of Common Lane North (behind B&M, off George Westwood Way). Walk to the very end of Common Lane North and cross the railway at the crossing. Cross the cattle-grid onto the common. Follow the grassy path to the left past the allotments. Look out for the Beccles Forest School logo on the next gate to your left. We will meet you here at the beginning of each session.