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Outdoor Classroom Created

25th February 2005

An outdoor classroom has been created in the heart of a Bradley Stoke woodland, thanks to the help of Ella, a 17-year-old Percheron Horse.

Traditionally used for farm work, carting and logging, Ella helped the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group to move large timber logs around Savage's Wood to create rustic looking seats for people to rest on.

The newly formed conservation group cleared an area of the wood to create an open glade for the classroom which will be used by local pupils when they visit the nature reserve.

John Morris, South Gloucestershire Council's Wildspaces! Partnership officer, said: "Last year, South Gloucestershire Council felled a number of trees in Savage's Wood to make the woodlands safer for people to walk in. "The timber logs have been put to good use and using Ella has meant that we could move the logs around without disturbing the wild flowers which are starting to emerge."

Savage's Wood and its new outdoor classroom will be visited later this week by teaching staff from primary schools in the town and Avon wildlife Trust. Teachers will discover the wonders of wood and will be given assistance in developing teaching aids for the schools, as part of the project to encourage youngsters to explore the nature reserve.

Bradley Stoke mayor, Cllr Julian Barge offered his support to the group by presented them with a small oak tree that was grown from an acorn from an ancient oak, close to Davies's Pond in the town's village green.

Cllr Barge, said: "The woodland is an important part of our community and it is encouraging to see local residents helping look after their natural environment. We look forward to supporting the group in the coming years ahead."

The reserve is home to a great variety of wildlife including kingfishers, kestrels, woodpeckers, foxes and bluebells. Being in the heart of the town, hundreds of people visit the reserve each week. The conservation group and local councils are working together to enable local people to get closer to nature. A series of walks and events are being planned for the coming months ahead.

South Gloucestershire Council formally declared Savage's Wood and its neighbouring open space as a local nature reserve last October and has since worked in partnership to improve the area for local people and wildlife. Major environmental works have been taking place, including the de-silting of the Three Brooks Lake and improving the footpath and cycle network in the area. A new cycle bridge is being installed in mid March allowing greater access around the reserve.

Mayor Julian Barge Planting A New Oak Tree

Sawing The Tree Trunk

Sawing The Branches

Cutting The Branches

Ella Pulling The Tree Trunk

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