Home Education

Nurturing Nature Skills and Belonging

home education west yorkshire

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.


Join our experienced Forest School leaders, Leonie and Sofie every Tuesday during the school term from 9.30am -3pm. 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:

home education west yorkshire

. Fire making

· 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 Director and Facilitator- Foraging, Questing With Fire, Calder Valley Woodland School, Nature Mentoring, Wildlings Holiday Club & Whittling
Leonie is one of Live Wild’s founders and directors, and works with people of all ages to encourage confidence, competence and a sense of belonging in the outdoors. She is a qualified Bushcraft Instructor & Wild Food Teacher, with many years of experience teaching a range of programmes, including regular seasonal foraging courses in locations across the north of England. She is also a qualified Forest School Leader, and 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 known amongst her colleagues for her particular skills in creating fire whatever the weather using traditional methods, her sharp and seemingly extra-sensory ‘mushroom vision’, and her ability to help people of all ages see the world in a completely new way through sharing her extensive knowledge and nature-based wisdom.  
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. 


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: £40 per session

Full price place/place with childcare support: £45 per session

Taster day price £40/45

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