Greater Manchester & Cheshire

Forestry sessions provide a breath of fresh air for families in Salford this Summer

Onward has teamed up with the Manchester Bees Forest School to host free forestry school sessions this summer at a local community orchard.

Located at the bottom of Rock Street in Salford, the orchard was formerly a derelict piece of land that Onward re-purposed into a woodland space for the community last year. Since its transformation, the space has been used frequently by local people and organisations for recreation, education, and wellbeing purposes.

Manchester Bees Forest School is hosting the free to access stay-and-play sessions every Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 3pm throughout the summer holidays. The lessons are outdoor and provide the perfect environment for children to learn in a natural setting and develop play, exploration and supported risk taking by learning how to manage fire and use hand tools safely. Activities focus on sensory development through giant bubbles, the mud kitchen and sand pit which are suitable for all ages and developmental needs. Children have also enjoyed bug and scavenger hunts, den building, fire lighting and nature crafts.

Just over a year on from the orchard’s official opening by Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett and local councillor Maria Brabiner, the community space has gone from strength to strength offering an area in the city for local people to spend time in nature. Events like the family forest sessions help to bring the community together and make the most of the orchard.

Sian Millward, Forest School Leader, and Teacher at Manchester Bees Forest School said:

It’s fantastic to see this community orchard being used for forest school sessions, providing plenty of new, outdoor activities for local families to try over the summer.

Outside learning helps children explore taking risks, learn to use tools, connect with nature, and build emotional resilience whilst being in a safe environment. We’ve seen first-hand that the children attending the sessions really enjoy having the opportunity to use their imagination. It’s been my pleasure to see parents connect and create community. I’m grateful to our neighbours for supporting us to become more inclusive; we have now made changes so that we can offer kosher snacks on the fire.”

It’s a wonderful space to learn together, and I would encourage more local families to sign up for the free sessions via Eventbrite and get involved before the end of the holidays.

Chavi has been attending the sessions with his children, he said:

My kids loved it! It’s great for all ages and so nice for them to learn in a natural environment. Siân was great with the children, especially when they made the campfire!”

Matt Saye, Executive Director of Operations at Onward, said:

The sessions have proven very popular with the local community. They have been incredibly happy to have somewhere local to come along to that provides a safe and educational environment for children to learn and play.

It’s been great to see the social cohesion of different members of the community, coming together to enjoy the space and feedback from the families has been lovely to hear. We hope to be able to continue to improve the space and offer these sessions over all holiday periods.”

About Manchester Bees Forest School

Manchester Bees Forest School provides outdoor activities for all the family at Salford orchard site off Rock Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, M7 2DQ. This is an outdoor event with wheelchair and pushchair routes through the main arteries of the garden.

Please note that there are no facilities in the orchard. Sessions are free but attendees must book via Eventbrite –