This topic area includes standard trees, hedges, orchards and willow sculptures.

Trees provide shade for summer playtimes, climbing and risk taking opportunities for children, shelter from wind, absorb traffic pollution and of course provide habitats and food sources for various wildlife species.

Hedges provide corridors along which wildlife can move, undisturbed places for birds to forage and nest, cover for small mammals and a place for invertebrates to live and hibernate. Leaf litter under hedges is a good place to find insects and mini-beasts from winter to early spring.

School orchards can help protect local varieties of apples, pears and plums. In spring bees and other insects are attracted to their early blossom, and harvest time can get the whole school involved in picking and juicing or processing the fruits. Local varieties of apple can be sourced from Carrob:

NP25 5QL

Telephone: 01600 712451

Other sources of orchard trees in Wales, and orchard resources and advice are given below:

Living willow sculptures, boundary fences and other features are an attractive and useful addition to school grounds. Children of all ages enjoy creating willow sculptures by weaving the rods, and enjoy playing in tunnels, dens and other willow features.

Before you start, do some research as some of these features require annual maintenance to keep them in a safe and usable condition. If you have solar PV panels, take care that tree planting will not shade the panels when they grow taller. Visit our trees case study page (Forest School – Juliette).

Useful Websites and further information

  • The woodlands for learning homepage with info on Woodland Visits, Forest Education Initiative & Forest School.
  • Forest Education provide grants and networking opportunities for a variety of projects aimed at improving use of outdoor spaces and woodlands. Join local cluster group by contacting:

Juliette Staples
Telephone: 0300 068 0300

  • The Tree Council organises the annual National Tree Week, Walk in the Woods and autumn Seed Gathering Events. The website has lots of useful information on tree planting, care and maintenance and links to grants for saplings and tree planting schemes. It is also campaigning to record ancient and historic trees.
  • Cambium Sustainable is a local company that offers Forest School and environmental training and have an on-line shop selling equipment for outdoor survival skills, bushcraft and Forest School.
  • Instructions on how to plant a tree are included on the Woodland Trust website
  • The Woodland Trust run Nature Detectives to encourage children to explore and learn about the natural world
  • The Woodland Trust offer free tree packs – choose between copse (60 native trees) and hedgerow (60 native hedging trees) – for schools
  • Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Orchard page
  • Tyfu Orchards is a 2 year project run by Learning Through Landscapes in Wales. Ysgol Gymraeg y Ffin from Abergavenny has taken part in this scheme. The website has lots of ideas on building orchards into the National Curriculum.

Good Welsh sources of fruiting trees:

  • Welsh fruit tree specialist Dolau Hirion in Carmarthenshire (01558 668744) has some useful sheets to download on growing fruit trees in Wales, how to plant, when and how to pick and store, and recommended varieties.
  • Ian Sturrock and Sons from Bangor North Wales can supply rare and unusual varieties of apple, pear, damson and plum that will survive and thrive in Wales