Last week, we ran our final edition in our Night Walks series that we've been doing this year with pupils from Dovecote Primary School in Clifton. During the course of this project, the children have been observing how the nature in the park changes from season to season and in this winter walk it was especially clear to see - it was completely and utterly pitch black!
We started off the walk by splitting into different groups to explore different parts of the park - the woodland, the reeds by the lake and the sensory trail. Each group then ventured off to their area using torches to guide themselves, collecting leaves, berries, pine cones and things that interested them and putting them into their boxes along the way. At 6pm, a whistle sounded out across the park, which was the signal for each group to turn off their torches and be silent for three minutes. We listened to the sounds of nature - animals rustling leaves, birds chirping and the wind in the trees. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we began to look at what was around us more closely.
Then all the groups returned to the park's visitors' centre, where the children placed the objects they'd collected onto a giant map of the park. The children were inspired by the sounds they'd heard, the sights they'd seen and the feelings they'd felt to create drawings and poetry.
A cold clear night
The stars shine bright
A 'twit twoo' and a 'wee a wee'.
Is that a fox or a cat shouting back?
It's cold out here.
We can see our breath in the light
Of the torch in the deep dark night.
The trees are so big.
Do they get cold when their leaves fall off?
All this where the bomb factory stood.
Thanks to pupils, teachers and parents from Dovecote Primary School for their engagement and enthusiasm, to Chris, the Rushcliffe Country Park ranger and volunteers for their expertise and guidance, and the Ernest Cook Trust for funding this project.