Hade Edge School

Hade Edge School

The extensive improvements made at Hade Edge are a great example of pupils, staff, governors and the wider community working together with Wildbanks Conservation to make things happen.

Situated in a hill-top hamlet in the Pennines, the school plays a vital role as a central resource for local families in a place with limited community facilities. With a large amount of unused playing field, the school saw great potential for fulfilling and expanding the needs of their afterschool and lunchtime clubs as well as facilitating community days, activities in the school holidays and providing engaging outdoor space in a place with few public parks and gardens.

The 72 pupils were asked for their opinions and produced their own designs of what they would like in their field which included trim-trail play areas, a pond, and mini-beast and woodland zones.  As well as recording themselves interviewing each other about why they needed these facilities, they made a 3D model of the field showing the proposed timber pavilion along with a wildlife pond, orchard, raised beds and greenhouse. 

Once the plans had been finalised, Wildbanks Conservation helped secure £9,653.75 for Hade Edge through the Awards for All scheme, which when combined with the fundraising efforts of the school and local community paid for extensive developments to be made.

The final project was themed around a trail that takes pupils through a variety of learning zones, with additional features spaced out along it. 

The Woodland Zone included climbing poles, a selection of bird and bat boxes, a bird feeding station and viewing screen and native plants and shrubs for additional cover. The pupils helped with planting and made bird fat-ball feeders to attract birds.

Climbing poles in the Woodland Zone.
Climbing  poles in the Woodland Zone.

The Mini-beast Zone featured a Log Crawl Twister to improve the children’s balance and co-ordination skills, a Bug Hotel and bug trapdoor, invertebrate identification charts and observational equipment to allow the children to inspect the creatures living within the zone.

The Bug Hotel within the Mini-beast Zone.

Teamwalk Station.

The Weather Zone had a wooden 'Teamwalk Station' demanding good team work skills from two children to navigate across the beams. A mini weather station was installed to teach pupils about observing wind speed and direction, cloud formations and other key landscape features. The finishing touches were wooden landscape frames with a view of the village wind turbines.

Framing the landscape.

 A wildlife pond was installed in a locked garden complete with outdoor seating area to create the Eco -Zone. An orchard of local heritage varieties of fruit trees was also planted by the children with help from a local resident who has taught pupils about fruit tree maintenance and passed on vegetable growing advice to the school gardening club.

Arguably the most impressive part of the project was the construction of a large timber pavilion with tiered seating and a performance area that the children nicknamed Emerald City. The structure was so successful that the audience capacity was increased in phase two of the project, with the addition of 21 metres of seating.

The pavilion complete with seating and performance area.
The wooden train designed and built for the nursery was another striking feature.

The Hade Edge project opened up many more opportunities for outdoor extra-curricular activities, outdoor learning and creative play for the children at the school. Pupils now have somewhere to learn and play safely, experience food growing and watch the local wildlife within their school grounds. Inter-generational links have even been created through the invitation of grandparents to teach skills such as bird identification, jam making and preserving fruit and vegetables to the children.

Overall, the project was hugely successful at making the pupils more in touch with the natural world through their involvement in the project as a process and their continued use of the improvements into the future.