Home Education

Nurturing Nature Skills and Belonging

home education hebden bridge

We’re Back from 9th March 2021! See you in the woods…

Calder Valley Woodland School is a year-round programme for home educated and flexi schooled young people between the ages of 8-14, based near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. It runs every Tuesday & Thursday from 9.30am -3pm during the school term. At our cosy camp in Knott Wood, children develop skills in areas such as fire making and foraging, woodcraft and ecology, weaving and whittling. They also build a relationship with the natural world that can last a lifetime. Each topic theme is explored over several sessions to enable the development of skills, understanding and confidence in that area. Play and exploration are interwoven through nature-connection games and practices.

As well as providing a unique learning experience and time in nature for young people, our Woodland School is a weekly childcare option that offers parents a day to themselves whilst their children learn and explore with our qualified leaders. The Woodland School has passed its Ofsted inspection, which means that parents on Universal Credit & working tax credit are eligible to receive childcare support money towards the cost.


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Why attend our Woodland School?

Over the course of the programme children develop a unique skillset that enables them to feel safe, competent and confident in the outdoors. As their relationship with the natural world builds they are reconnected to a sense of belonging that runs deep into human history, in which their creativity and confidence can really flourish.  There is so much research, like this from the Woodland Trust, demonstrating that children’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing increases over time through connecting with nature. In an age of screens, urban living, and endless information we believe that spending time outdoors has never been of greater value to young people. For home educated children, this is also an opportunity to make friends and feel part of a community.


What do we do at The Woodland School?

Learn… Each half-term block has a theme and skills are developed week by week. Block themes include:

· Fire makinghome ed hebden bridge

· Foraging

· Woodcraft

· Wildlife

· Weaving

· Whittling

· Bark craft

· Exploring and adventure walks

· Animal tracking

· Shelter building

· Natural arts and crafts


We also learn about the complex network of natural life and how to take our place respectfully within it. In the broadest sense, we are learning how to be good ancestors for those yet to come.

Play… our groups embark on team challenges, sensory immersion activities, nature based games, problem solving, singing, hiding & sneaking, fire-side story telling and child-led play amongst the trees, streams, nooks & crannies of our wonderful Woodland School site.

Connect…because this is a regular, small group there is a real opportunity to make friends. We focus on connection and working together rather than competition, and nurture skills of cooperation, communication and self- confidence. Space is also made for young people to connect more deeply with themselves as they take time out to dream and imagine, tune into the senses and just be themselves. It is wonderful to witness the gifts and passions that naturally emerge when children are
given the chance.

See what we’ve been up to recently on our Facebook Page

Our Leaders

forest school leader west yorkshire
Leonie Morris
Founder and Facilitator- Foraging, Calder Valley Woodland School, Nature Mentoring, Wildlings Holiday Club & Whittling
Leonie is a qualified Bushcraft Instructor, Forest School Leader and Wild Food Teacher.  She runs Calder Valley Woodland School home education days in Hebden Bridge after many years working with Manchester Forest School and The Wood School in Manchester, which provides a nature-based learning experience for urban children. Leonie is an experienced wild food teacher and tutors on Live Wild's seasonal foraging courses for adults. She also teaches adult bushcraft courses including whittling.   After finishing a degree in Anthropology and Sociology and a Masters in Visual Anthropology, Leonie realised that it was being in nature that made her feel most alive.  She began on the path of immersing herself in greenwood craft, foraging and fire-making. Over ten years later she is keen to share all her learning with others.
forest school hebden bridge
Hayley Spann
Facilitator- Calder Valley Woodland School
Hayley is a qualified Level 3 Forest School practitioner and a qualified Early Years Teacher. She has experience in difference settings across Manchester, including The Wood School and her own project, Mud Pie Academy. After completing a degree in philosophy and living abroad for three years, Hayley returned with a determination to pursue her passion of helping people to form deeper connections with each other and the natural world and she has since been involved in lots of community projects. She enjoys acquiring new songs and stories to share and believes strongly in the value of nature connection for healthy minds and bodies.


Visiting practitioners who are experts in their field, such as ecologists and craftspeople, also share their skills in sessions throughout the year. 

Miranda Cowan Ecologist
Miranda Cowan
Facilitator- Foraging, Whittling & Ecology
Miranda is an ecologist, environmental tutor and foraging teacher with over 15 years experience. She has broad knowledge of different flora and fauna communities, and reads landscapes on a macro and micro scale. Miranda teaches on Live Wild's seasonal foraging courses as well as whittling courses for adults. She is also a visiting expert to our Calder Valley Woodland School, where she shares her deep knowledge about ecology and wildlife.


Where is our Woodland School?

Our base-camp is at Knott Wood, 1 mile outside of Hebden Bridge. At our camp we have a firepit and seating, compost toilet and covered geodome with wood-burning stove. We also have a community of beautiful trees, birds, mammals and plants that make this area feel like a wild getaway despite its safety and proximity to town. The cycles of nature can be observed and enjoyed away from roads and buildings and it is a joy to be able to hear the wind in the trees, the birds tweeting and the streams chuckling through ginnels and rocks.

Term Dates

The Woodland School follows the Calderdale school term dates, with the exception of the final week of the summer term when we will finish on Tuesday 20th July rather than 27th July.


Low waged/unwaged place: £35 per session

Full price place/place with childcare support: £40 per session

Taster day price £35/£40

To find out more and book email valleywoodlandschool@gmail.com