Ex-dumping ground now nature trail

Pashley Downs Infanct School pupils at the story area
Pashley Downs Infanct School pupils at the story area

A FORMER dumping ground has been transformed into an enchanting nature trail for schoolchildren after a £7,000 makeover.

The acre plot of derelict land has metamorphosised into a place of natural beauty, with wild meadow flowers, a bog garden and an area for book-reading for pupils at Pashley Down Infant School.

Part-time teaching assistant Rachel Hutchinson oversaw the month-long project, with help from British Trust For Conservation Volunteers and funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

She said, “Children are naturally curious about wildlife and close contact with nature can be truly inspirational for them, all you have to do is provide the opportunity.

“The Wild Wood is a magical place for the children to explore and learn outside the classroom.”

Residents are also welcome to use the newly-formed nature trail.

Head teacher Jennifer Cruse said, “The wood is an active learning environment where story time will come alive in the outdoor literacy area, which is sheltered by a living willow, while the study of insects will make science more accessible and enjoyable for young children.”

The small piece of land, now tended by the school after securing a three-year lease for the plot, had been an eyesore for the community.

The overgrown area was a popular site for fly-tipping in days gone by and the school had to carry out extensive clearance work before work on the nature trail could get under way.

Eastbourne mayor Carolyn Heaps will officially open the wood by cutting a branch of willow on Saturday (May 21). Friends of the school are invited to join in the celebrations and Mrs Cruse hopes residents from Beechy Avenue and around will take to the transformed wasteland.