Shirley Pocket Adventures

Artist Sally Todd worked with old and new artscapers from Shirley Community Primary School to create pocket adventures cards for families.  A group of nursery, reception and year five children shared sessions of wonderful adventuring in the early spring of 2022, visiting the local nature reserve just a few minutes walk away. They spent time there in all weathers, exploring the woodland, pathways and wildlife in Bramblefields, slowing down to listen and discover and imagine as they respond to the ever-changing space of nature…from an icy pond to the first snowdrops to slumbering slugs in the rain.

'The children described it as the forest, bramblefields, hairy fields, strawberry fields, tweety fields, bramble bush….brambleforest ! It has 1000 trees, a jungle swing, the boot eater tree, the unicorn boat house tree, heart shaped leaves, furry leaves, spiky leaves, stripy leaves, a secret tunnel…and a bear cave.

And noticed how they heard a seagull, woodpecker, bees, flies, goats, a werewolf, bear, reindeer, the wind….and ice breaking

And saw green sticks, bramblesticks, porridge sticks, sticky sticks, black earth, snowdrops, pearly worms and purple flowers.

And noticed how they had climbed trees, collected nature colours, made maps, drew brambleforest, looked for bears, broke ice, dug for treasureand found stories in the woods.'

Inspired by their findings and experiences, Sally worked with the children’s ideas and artist Hilary Cox Condron to design this pocket sized set of five adventures. Despite the very heavy rain at the celebratory launch in late March, the woods were filled with families eager to explore this inspiring and beautiful ‘pocket of nature’ in the city.

Thanks to the educators at Shirley Community Primary School and wonderful CCI volunteers Amanda Morris-Drake and Nomisha Kurian for their support on our journey.

The project was funded by the Talking Together team at Cambridgeshire County Council. These cards are part of the 50 things to do before you’ve five app, a free resource to help parents develop their home learning environment. It shares a wide range of low-cost and no-cost local activities.

We received a Magic Little Grant through the partnership between Localgiving and Postcode Places Trust. Postcode Places Trust is a grant-giving charity funded by players of the People's Postcode Lottery. Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for local charities and community groups. Our project received funds to support us to share this resource with more groups and families across the city and beyond.

Shirley Pocket Adventures