On Tuesday 29th August, we welcomed 12 young people from Malvern Cube to Hellens. Starting with a nature name game, we left our human identities behind for a few hours as we became known as ‘dandelion’, ‘whale’ ,’apple’, ‘kite’ and more. We followed a scavenger hunt to meet the donkeys, explore the labyrinth and discover the sculpture made from mud. Into the meadow, we harvested willow to use for cooking over the fire.
Along the walk, we opened our senses into the landscape, finding lots of grass
hoppers in the regeneration fields and marveling at the badger set.
In the woods, the young people paired up to create maps, making marks in clay tiles to tell the story of our journey to the woods. Others donned heavy leather gloves to safely pick nettles and learned the ancient process of making cordage /string. We enjoyed tomato and lentil soup and the sounds of birdsong, as we sat around the fire for lunch.
In the afternoon, there was much fun to be had in hammocks and Bym from ‘Beat Bang Bong’ taught us some silly games. Then the woodland exploded with rhythms, as we came together to play ‘the plastic band’ - drums, rattles and other instruments made from recycled plastic. It was great to see the young people paying such close attention, listening and laughing.
For the final part of the afternoon, we cooked smores over the campfire, before the walk back to Hellens and home.
After a lot of rain, the sun returned and on 1st September we ran another project with Malvern Cube. There was lots of laughter, throwing pine cones and remembering each other's nature names, before we explored Hellens physic garden and picked peppermint to make into tea. We played ‘1,2,3 jump out’ from behind the standing stones in the meadow and looked closely at the plants growing along our walk. In the woods, we came together to light the fire and the young people took turns to have a go with a firesteel, creating a spark to light tinder.
Collecting natural materials such as logs, pine cones and leaves, each group made a map on the woodland floor, highlighting important features from the journey. It was great to see the details remembered as the young people talked us though what they had created.
After leek and potato soup for lunch, we extended our senses - owl eyes, deer ears and then fox walked to each find a sit spot and a few minutes stillness in the woods. Each person created a tree guardian from a ball of clay - what wonderful, expressive faces! There was time to chill out and chat in hammocks and some delicious cinnamon apples and smores cooked over the fire at the end of the day. Sharing gratitude, it was great to hear how much each of the young people had enjoyed the day and chance to be in nature.