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Another successful day project. Working with young people from HOPE support services. There is something so wholesome and charming about being joined by the Hellens’ chickens during our morning ice breakers.

Starting out by makingtree cookie name badges in the orchard, by our friends Blossom and Plum plum the donkeys. Followed by an adventurous walk across from Hellens Manor, through the wildflower meadow and fields to Hall Wood. A scavenger hunt finding natural treasures opens our eyes to the world and its hidden gems. Broken birds eggs, unusual stones, seeds of all shapes and descriptions, patterned feathers, insects and strange fungi to name just a handful of the treasures found and carefully transported.

Upon arriving in Hall Wood we quickly settled into fire lighting practice in small groups. Each young person was able to master the use of a steel and flint and together started small fires in theirfire woks. Each small fire was then carefully transferred and added to the main fire. We cooked our lunch over the campfire, each of us making our own bread to dip in the delicious hot homemade soup. Followed by toasting cinnamon sugar apples for dessert.

The afternoon was spent mastering the art of shelter building, putting up hammocks, relaxing away from technology andeveryday stimulus. Playing freely in the woods followed by woodland group games. A Back to the Wild favourite is always ‘deer stalker’ ( B2W disclaimer: no deer actually participated in this game or were harmed in anyway). This game always has everyone discovering their hunter instincts and Ninja skills. Inevitably it also sees many of us doubled up with tears of laughter.

Unwinding, relaxing and sitting quietly, settling on our individual sit spots across the site. Feeling and hearing the wild of the woodlands; soaking in the sun, feeling the grass beneath our feet, noticing the movement of the trees above us, floating away into the natural world, embraced and held by the safety of the woodland space. Each taking a moment to reflect on the day and our individual experiences.

The end of the day always comes with mixed feelings of accomplishment and gratitude, but there is also inevitably some sadness that we are about to leave our sacred wild space here in the woods. Worry that our new found wild in nature confidence, skills and new friendships will be lost the moment we reach the car. However, the beauty of days spent in nature, is that we take so much more with us than we leave behind, enriching our lives long after we shut the door of the car. The wild left waiting with open arms for our return.

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What wonderful opportunities you are offering by doing this work! Congratulations, B2W.

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