A new forest school has opened in Wallingford at a woodland clearing on the grounds of Howbery Business Park.

The Wild Wood Warriors school runs 1.5 hour sessions for accompanied preschool and primary school children on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Children can “appreciate the wonders of mother nature” and partake in a range of activities such as den building, blowing bubbles, mud kitchen and puppets, with a “healthy snack” included in the price.

Founder, Ruth Peters, who completed her forest school qualifications in 2019 and has worked as a primary school teacher, said: “I believe in the transformative power of nature.

“The grounds have a wonderful feel to them and are a magical spot for outdoor learning.”

Ms Peters added that the importance of outdoor learning for children’s mental and physical wellbeing became clear to her after lockdown.

She knew of Howbery Park due to her husband being based there and recognised the importance of connecting children with their natural environment.

Forest schools made headway in the UK in the 1990s after being introduced from Scandinavian countries naturally rich in woodland.

Today the schools function as an outdoor education delivery model where children and young adults are encouraged to build their self-esteem and independence.

A local mother who attended the forest school with her son said: “I feel so luck to have this on our doorstep, led by Ruth.

“We have seen huge dragonflies, frogs and an abundance of insects.

“My son is free to explore nature at his own pace, encouraged gently to notice, touch and feel.

“Climbing is encouraged in this safe sanctuary, and risk taking also takes the form of crumpet toasting over a fire and digging with child-sized spades.

“We return home with tired legs and happy hearts.”

The Howbery-based Puddleduck Nursery will also use the clearing at other times for children’s outdoor learning and the sessions will provide work experience opportunities for clients of charity Style Acre.

Estate Manager Donna Bowles said: “Providing a venue for children to enjoy and learn about nature fits perfectly with Howbery’s sustainable ethos and community focus.

“We encourage people not based on the park to come and make the most of our grounds.”

For more information see its website here: visit wwwforestschool.co.uk.

Howbery Business Park was formed 25 years ago and its history goes back further with Howbery Manor House being established in 1850.

The park is open to the public from 9am to 6pm on working days, with a café on site with refreshments.