The first installment of our Night Walks project took place on Wednesday 29th March as dusk fell over Rushcliffe Country Park!
We had an overwhelming uptake, with over 50 pupils and parents from Dovecote Primary as well as 8 volunteers from across the two Universities.
We started by having a reading of the opening lines of Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood'; 'It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black...', which settled the pupils down and encouraged them to listen to the sounds of the park.
The pupils then split into two groups; one went with artist Chrys Allen into the 'Memorial Trail' woodland, where rooks were nesting and spring shoots were budding, to explore their senses. After choosing a theme to focus on (textures, lines, shapes...), pupils were encouraged to interpret their senses through a series of drawings.
The other group was joined by volunteer scientists and the park ranger Chris in a section of woodland usually closed off to the public. Guided by their curiosity, pupils were able to freely explore the area, looking under logs, inspecting trees and collecting objects they were intrigued by. Some pupils were lucky enough to find a toad, others were surprised by the range of colours they saw and lots of them collected leaves, bubs and flowers.
It was a really successful first installment of the Night Walks project, which is funded by the Ernest Cook Trust. Everyone was impressed by the curiosity and engagement of the children, who were keen to get stuck into exploring the park and drawing their experience. We're looking forward to planning the Summer walk, where hopefully there will be lots more bugs, flowers and even bats!