Weston quarry transformed into children's forest school

PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 August 2019

Louise Brogan toasting marshmallows with children at Play Wild CICs forest school.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Louise Brogan toasting marshmallows with children at Play Wild CICs forest school.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A Weston quarry has been transformed into a children's learning space, with a forest school set to host activity weeks for children.

Play Wild CICs cofounder Billy Brogan at the entrance of Wood Lane Quarry in Weston.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPlay Wild CICs cofounder Billy Brogan at the entrance of Wood Lane Quarry in Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Youngsters' imaginations were brought to life during Play Wild CIC's first set of workshops at Wood Lane Quarry - which had been closed in town for at least eight years.

Husband and wife team Louise and Billy Brogan won funding from North Somerset Council to restore the disused site in December.

Play Wild forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPlay Wild forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The pair's 'hard work and determination' helped turn the area into an outdoor space for children's play and exploration, as well as a community group hire space.

Louise said: "Work at the site started in June, after waiting for a rock and tree survey as well as good weather, we opened the quarry in July.

MORE: Ambitions to start forest school in 'magical' Weston quarry - crowdfunding campaign launched





"We had hoped to open in spring, and project has taken a lot of hard work and determination to complete.

Play Wild CICs forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPlay Wild CICs forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

"We weren't successful in our application for funding in 2017, but launched another campaign the following summer.

"We've had really good feedback about the holiday club, and a few children loved it so much that their parents are looking to book them onto the October workshops."

Play Wild forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPlay Wild forest school area at Wood Lane Quarry in Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The pair founded Play Wild CIC in 2016 and Billy runs the clubs and the forest school at the site.

Louise said they have come across obstacles since taking on the project, including a shift in plans to install an above-ground toilet.

They have also had to map out where to place shelters at the quarry, due to water-run off from hills surrounding the site.

She continues: "We've got the toilet plans finalised and hope to have this installed around latest November.

"At the moment, we have a bell tent and will be building some shelters at the quarry soon.

"Luckily, we have realised where heavy rain falls off the rocks and pools at the site - so we know where to avoid putting up structures in the future.

"We're hoping to source funding to restore a theatre stage, as we'd love to host school productions and youth groups from the surrounding area."

Play Wild CIC's holiday club will be held on October 28-30 from 10am-3pm.

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