Forest School

Launched in May 2016 in an unused patch of woodland on the edge of the works, Breedon Cements Forest School has proven to be a highly successful programme, encouraging children from local primary schools that include Bamford Primary, Bradwell Pre School, Castleton,Litton, Tideswell and Hope Valley College to spend more time in the outdoors.

The company also purchased a mini bus to transport the children to and from the site.

Along with PR and events coordinator Louise Saxon and former principle of Hope Valley College, Bernie Hunter, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have been key partners in the delivery of the programme along with self-led sessions from Bradwell and Bamford primary schools which has seen pupils involved in activities such as woodcraft, den building and wild cooking in a fire pit.

Below: Emma Wood,  People Engament Officer (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust) and Keith Rowland, Quarry Manager (Breedon Cement), invite the local primary school to its first Forest School class back in 2016.


The programme provides a highly valued enrichment opportunity for both staff and pupils.

Past feedback from local schools has been highly positive, here are just some of the comments:

Wendy Riley former supervisor of Bradwell Pre School commented; “The social, communication and language skills children develop naturally through playing in the woods is lovely to see and hear”

Bamford pupil Lenny added, “I like forest school because it activates my sense of creativity and allows me to be free in my mind”

Bishop Pursglove’s Headteacher Lynne Kilford comments below;

“It has been a privilege to work with Hope Valley Cement Works in their Forest School environment. It has enabled the children to have an understanding that ordinary, everyday things have a beauty all of their own and has given them the opportunity to become more nature-aware, to have fun in the natural world and to learn about the trees, plants, birds and animals on our doorstep. The children had the experience of nature directly through woodland art and play and had a thoroughly fantastic time. The Wildlife Leaders were excellent and the children returned to school eager to return back to the forest at the earliest opportunity. Our sincere thanks to Breedon and Hope Cement Works for funding this opportunity and we would love to continue with the project”.





2020 update

Like most of UK life the Forest School programme felt the impact of the Covid pandemic. However,following the implementation of a number of safety measures including a deep clean of the minibus and adjustments of the existing risk assessments to accommodate government and work’s safety advice enabled us to be in a position to start.

Many thanks to Works Manager Ed Cavanagh for recognising the importance of this programme, particularly in these difficult times, to children who have seen the range of their curriculum decimated. We are grateful for the goodwill of Bradwell Pre School and Bamford Primary who agreed to test the procedures in order that we were able to make a cautious start to the Autumn Term.



“Bamford primary school really appreciate the opportunity to come to Hope FS. We were very impressed by the facilities provided to make it Covid-19 safe. The children love going to FS Hope. We are happy with the safe environment that's provided. Hope to get the opportunity to come back in the new year.Anne Gartside FS leader.


“It's been a great opportunity to offer all of the children the opportunity to come to the Hope Forest school site. We have all felt very safe with the Covid measures you have worked hard to put in place and maintain. The children gain so much from being outdoors and especially in times like these, it’s great to see the recognition of the importance of outdoor education. The children love the space, and the bus ride!! & can't wait to come again! Paula Grant Leader Bradwell Pre School



Thankfully all went well, and we were able to invite Bamford Pre School, Litton Primary, Hope Valley Post 16 to the forest. In total we have seen something of the order of 200 children session visits. This has been particularly valued by the participating schools as a host of wider curriculum activities have had to be withdrawn as a result of the pandemic.


“From my point of view, it's been wonderful to have the chance to get the children out of school, learning outdoors with Diane, in a safe way. Pretty much everything else has been cancelled this term, so we have really valued our mornings at forest school”Nicola Parkin Litton HLTA


Diane Gould supported by Sam Spicket and Annousa Parkin (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust ) led most of the sessions and children have enjoyed a wide range of activities accompanied by (mostly) fine weather.

Hope Valley Post 16 College students commented:

Matt – “ I enjoyed watching staff making fires and the food cooked over them. I have also found seeing the inside of the cement works interesting. Its pleasant to work outside the classroom with staff and other students” – HVC Post 16 student

Jonathan “I Enjoyed making and sailing the rafts I n the stream on site. It was good to be able to contribute to the bug hotel. It has been good to meet with a wider circle of students, so I now know more people. The outdoors provides a different atmosphere and the opportunity to try new things” – HVC Post 16 student

Meg - “The forest gave me the opportunity to use my practical skills for example when we made the bug hotel” – HVC Post 16 student

Martin Spencer, Senior Community Learning Mentor - “Forest school at Hope Cement Works provides a unique opportunity for our students to have conversations and build relationships they have never done before. The woodland environment and the calm, flexible way the Wildlife Trust staff work enables all our students to really benefit from the experience. It makes a huge difference to students’ mental wellbeing and confidence, every time we visit someone does something new.”


2021 Forest School update

Special thanks to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Bernie Hunter who have  continued to lead and supervise this years Forest School at Hope Cement Works.

The end of this season finished on a high with everyone looking forward to returning in the autumn, the children from Bishop Purseglove School, Tideswell sent over a lovely message to all those involved;

'Please accept our grateful thanks for all your help and support with transport and activities whilst at Hope Works Forest School. The children have absolutely loved it, have learned such a lot and it has been a wonderful experience for them, particularly in this current year of on/off lockdowns! Have a wonderful Summer'.

© 2024 Breedon Group

Website Design Quiet Storm Solutions Ltd | Manage Cookie Settings