Paddock to Forest School

Here at Thistly Meadow we truly believe that our school is at the heart of the community and we are always looking for exciting and innovative ways to help improve the health and wellbeing of our children, staff, families and our local community.  

We have the most amazing piece of land on our site  - our paddock, a valuable piece of natural land that is also a great example of ridge and furrow.  When the school was built in 1977 the paddock was home to a couple of donkeys and goats and many of our former pupils have fond memories of this time.  In recent years the land has not been used but due to the energy of our wonderful Eco Club, the children at the school and the vision of our parents and staff we have started work on the paddock to develop a Forest School.

We plan to:

  - Improve access into the paddock for people with mobility difficulties.

 -  Install a pond with pathways around the area and seating.

 - Create a fire pit.

 - Protect the ridge and furrow.

 - Create a bird hide to watch the many different birds that are seen around the area.

 - Track wildlife that comes into the area.

 - Design and install nature and wildlife boards, including blank boards so that people can record what has been seen in the paddock. 

 - Build a story telling circle.

 - Introduce sensory planting.

 - Have materials for den and shelter building.

 - Install a nature trail with rubbing posts.

 - Install seating around the area including log seats, tables, benches and picnic benches.

This will be a long term project for us and one which will make a difference for our pupils now and those that will join Thistly in the years to come.


In March this year,  we had a Family Planting Day where we had support from our school family - parents, grandparents, children and staff came along armed with their spades to plant over 700 trees, shrubs and hedging plants and install a living willow dome.

Family planting RED

Blaby District Council

We were delighted to host two days with volunteers from Blaby District Council building bug hotels in our paddock. 

Blaby DC bug hotel


We had 23 volunteers from Santander working hard in the paddock to create log habitat piles, more bug hotels, clear and mulch an entrance, rake grass paths and set log seats into our story telling circle. 

Santander volunteers 2006172 RED

Both sets of volunteers worked incredibly hard and we are very grateful for their help.

If you would like to get involved in our project by providing materials, funding or just your time, please contact the school office.

Our project has been helped by donations, grants and support from:

-  Tesco Bags for Life

- Thistly Meadow School Association

- JR Corah Foundation

- The Maud Elkington Charitable Trust

- Nurture Landscapes Ltd

- Abbey Lawn Turf Supplies

- Apples to Oaks Tree Care

- EH Smith Builders Merchants

- Blaby District Council

- Santander

We are very grateful for their generosity and support.