Children give butterflies the ride of their life

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Children at a Bridgend primary school are spreading their wings into woodland management as they help to develop their school woods into a butterfly paradise.

The pupils at West Park Primary in Porthcawl, Bridgend plan to create a butterfly ride by cutting a path through their woodland, allowing in more light which will encourage a diverse range of plants to grow.

The plants will be used as food and breeding places by butterflies and other insects, many of which live out their entire life cycle in woodlands.

The installation of the ride was made possible thanks to a grant from Forestry Commission Wales to help the school build on its impressive outdoor education credentials.

Two of the teachers have undertaken a Level 3 Forest School Practitioners Award with the FC Wales Forest School training team. Developing the woodlands will enable them to encourage the children to learn about the woodland ecosystem and how to manage it effectively.

Other plans include thinning and coppicing in the woodland to allow the remaining trees space to grow and produce sustainable material that the children can use for woodland crafts.

The children will collect brash to make habitat piles to encourage more wildlife into the woodland, so that future pupils at West Park can enjoy the environmental benefits.

Woodland officer Tim Harland from the FC Wales Grants and Regulations team said, “We’re pleased that the grant will improve the educational potential of this broadleaved woodland by creating an essential wildlife habitat.

“Although it was always well used, the woodland was becoming rather dark. Opening it up and allowing in more light will make it much more welcoming for both wildlife and pupils.”

Leeanne Juliff, a member of the senior management team at West Park Primary, thanked Forestry Commission Wales and said the butterfly ride would enhance the variety of life in the woodland.

“Our pupils use West Park woodland as a learning tool thanks to our Forest School leaders, who were also trained by Forestry Commission Wales.

“We hope that future generations will benefit from the seeds of care for our environment that we will be able to foster in our pupils through learning outdoors.”

Notes to Editors

About 14 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

The Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.

Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to other woodland owners and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email