Rhyming in the Woods

Rob Pennington

Following a generous grant from the Cobtree Charity Trust, children at St Peters C of E Primary School in Aylesford took part in a series of poetry workshops. Their poems have been used to create the Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk between Tyland Barn and Cobtree Manor Park.
Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk Post

© John Rice

Seeing children running through the woods excitedly looking for the next trail feature in the Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk, their pride and beaming smiles as they listened to their classmates read out their poems. Following them through the woodland as they explored, seeing them discover holes and trails made by the animals that live there.  Watching as their eyes opened wide as they examined rotting holes in trees, questioning how they were made, really was the best ending to the Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk project.

But where did it all start?

In July 2017 a class of children from St Peters C of E Primary School took part in a series of poetry workshops. John Rice, a published poet, taught them about different types of poems and how to write them. We took the children on a walk from Tyland Barn to Cobtree Manor Park to get inspiration from nature for their poems.  They listened and laughed and joined in as John performed many of his poems both in the classroom and out on the walk.  Then it was over to them and their school teacher who encouraged their creativity.

Wordicular Trail Poem Square

© Rob Pennington

Creating a Woodland Trail

The task of turning the children’s poems into a woodland trail was given to Nebulo Design and Russell and his team have created a beautiful, interactive wooden trail that many people will be able to enjoy for years to come.

Rob, our Medway Valley Assistant Warden, and his team of volunteers then worked hard erecting all of the features along the trail.   They also spent time fixing the fencing that lines the woodland and separate the bridleway from the footpath to make it safe for all who walk there.

Wordicular Trail Poem Post

© Rob Pennington

Time to celebrate!

On 12th July 2018 we welcomed everyone involved in creating the Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk to Tyland Barn for a celebratory launch. The school children were so excited and once again listened with amusement and joined in as John our poet performed some of his poems in the beautiful farmhouse garden under the shade of our magnificent old yew tree.

Trustees from Cobtree and Kent Wildlife Trust joined us to find out how the project had gone and to meet the children at the heart of the project. We stopped for a picnic lunch followed by ice lollies to make sure everyone was fuelled and ready to launch the trail!

With claps and cheers from everyone Roger, a trustee from Cobtree, cut the ribbon officially launching the Wonderful Wordicular Wildlife Walk. So that brings us back to where we started. What better way to celebrate this wonderful new trail than with the laughter and pride of the children who helped to create it.

Hearing their excitement each time they found another section of the trail and witnessing the positive effects on health and wellbeing of simply being outside with nature. Seeing the shocked expression on a local dog’s face at his regular woodland walk suddenly being filled with 24 excited children and the comments from his owner about how much she has enjoyed reading all the poems on their daily lunchtime walk.

So please come and enjoy the new trail for yourself. Pick up a leaflet from Tyland Barn or Cobtree’s The Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake Visitor Centre. (Oh and the trail is even better whilst enjoying an ice lolly!)