As the weather starts to turn and autumn sets in, many people think that their beach days are over for another year.  Too often we assume that it must be sunny and warm in order for us to pack our bags and head to the sea.  But the seashore provides so much more than sunbathing and sunny swims.  As the tide comes in and then recedes again, we are left with a blank canvas on which to be creative and a wealth of materials from which to choose to decorate it with.  Read More

River run

We are very lucky in Barna woods to have various streams running through the woods, although not all of them are running at all times.  With the amount of rain that fell in August and continued into September, there has been an abundance of mud and running water, two things that fill any child’s heart with joy upon encountering them.  If you are lucky enough to have water in your forest, or field, or any other green space that you have access to, make sure to take advantage of all the possibilities of endless fun that water holds. Read More

Miniature Playgrounds

With schools having opened their doors again this week many will be feeling the strain of returning to the structures and routines associated with back to school.  Those who were lucky enough to have a summer of roaming the great outdoors, barefoot and carefree, sitting in a classroom again will be a challenge. Read More

Sink and Fade

As we come to the end of the summer holidays, hopefully this does not signal the end of your trips to the woods.  The woods truly are a magical place to spend time all year round, and each season brings new treasures with it.  The woods will soon begin to brighten as the canopy loses its leaves and allows sunlight to fall on the woodland floor.  streams that may have dried up during the summer months may reappear and fallen leaves provide many opportunities for some serious fun.  But all that’s for another post, when autumn has been with us longer and those changes are much more evident. Read More


During my forest school training I always wore my purple waterproof jacket.  It wasn’t something I thought about, I just naturally donned my waterproof gear each morning as I set off for the magical woodlands of Hollywood, Co. Wicklow.  Maybe I should have given it some consideration, because one day we were told that we needed to disappear.  My brown and green hat was perfect for camouflaging in amongst the autumnal leaves and wooded areas.  However, purple, no matter how much I tried to obscure it, refused to be tamed!  So needless to say I was the first person spotted, but I had great fun in the mean time trying to work magic on my appearance and disappear into the backdrop of the woods. Read More

Tracking Wildlife

As the summer stretches on I often hear parents say that they have run out of places to take the kids.  However, I don’t think that there is any limit on how many visits you can make to the woods.  I work with children throughout the school year on a weekly basis, meaning that we visit the exact same patch of woodland over 30 times in a school year.  And yet they never tire of going there, and we never seem to run out of things to do while we are there.  Read More

We’re going on a bug hunt…

I’ve been in the woods all week and true to west of Ireland form in July the weather has been erratic.  We’ve had downpours followed by sun, days where I wore all my winter layers, and days where we watched the steam rise from the ground as the sun broke through the canopy.  But with the rain came a lot of fun, as streams ran freely again and the children cleared pathways to help speed up the flow, ran through the water and followed the stream all the way to the source.  The weather brings so many changes to the woods and keeps if fresh and exciting on every trip. Read More

The “How to …” Guide, Part 2

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to head to the woods and try out another fun activity with all the family.  Happy wondering wild. Read More

The “How to…” Guide, Part 1

It’s the summer holidays and many families have more time to spend together away from the structure of school days and rigid timetables.  Be it the weekend or a week’s holidays away from home, finding ways of getting out of the house and keeping everyone happy can, for some, be difficult to manage. How often have I heard an adult announce to a group of children “okay, we’re off for a walk” only to hear the children groan in response.  “It’s boring”, “it’s too far” or “I’m tired” are the usual reasons that kids give for not wanting to go out for a walk.  However, offer to take them to the woods and play some games, they’ll be clambering to get out the door and on their way.  Read More

Why You Should Go Down to the Woods Today

Recently during an interview I was asked how lucky I was and why?  My answer: “I am incredibly lucky because I make my living out of how I best like to live my life: outdoors, immersed in nature and in the good company of children who are eager to explore it all with me.”   Read More