Christian would love this...
Once upon a time, parish councils found money to spend on creating green spaces for their children; somewhere for them to frolic safely and freely, as children used to do - without parents hovering in the background. One such council was Danehill Parish Council, East Sussex, who, in 2012, bought some private land in Chelwood Gate and turned it into 'Jubilee Green' - a magical place which I have only just discovered on my doorstep.
Part field, part woodland, Jubilee Green (possibly some connection to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee?), is a village asset which backs onto Ashdown Forest. Five years ago, the council brought in a team of specialists, mainly locals, to create what is still maintained beautifully today by Cllr Rodri Lewis (nordiclife.co.uk). The original team cleared the invasive rhododendron, laid paths and built wooden play structures. Some of the work was done by prisoners on day release.
Today, the Green is mainly used by the local community, especially the nursery (as part of their learning experience - lucky them!) and the Parish Council have just granted use of the site to a newly-created forest school. I only found the place when it was suggested to me on Facebook... I took the children and Duffy along to explore and we stepped straight into a fairy tale.
I was lucky enough to grow up with my brother, Christian Velten, on a farm where fields and woods were our playground. I remember digging holes, making mud pies (and getting stuck in the mud), watching kingfishers, paddling in the streams and making dens, without adult supervision. I'm trying to give my children similar experiences - it would be wonderful if every child had the same access to the wonders of Nature. Re-connection may be difficult against a background of helicopter/shadow parenting and screen infatuation, but being able to explore in Nature (emotionally, physically, creatively and spiritually) will create the next generation of Nature Messengers, whatever walk of life they end up in: scientists, naturalists, artists, film-makers, teachers, researchers...
Let's do it for the kids and connect them - like the creators of Jubilee Green have - to the magical fairyland which is Mother Nature.
Nurtured by Nature: Connect / Explore / Flourish / Disperse.