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aims and objectives

Find out about our 'Forest Schools activities here.

Read the 'Small Talk' article Exploring Maths Outside:

Page 1 / Page 2



Link to nest box webcam!

The Wildlife and Learning Garden was begun in 2005. It is a community garden made by playgroup children, staff, parents and other volunteers.

It is situated in a corner of our neighbouring churchyard and is an Environment Wales registered project.

It is an exciting place where there  is something new to see each day and also offers a peaceful spot for the whole community to enjoy.


How we use the garden areas


Our Bog Garden

We set up pitfall traps to see who was visiting our Bog Garden.






Making a stand-alone bog garden

  • Mark out the chosen area with sand or string.
  • Excavate the chosen area to 45cm (18in) and put the soil aside.
  • Line the hole with polythene sheeting or butyl pond liner at least 0.5mm thick. Place bricks or stones on the edge to stop it shifting as you walk on it.
  • Pierce the liner at 1m (3¼ft) intervals with a garden fork.
  • Lay a length of leaky hosepipe or porous pipe in the bottom, and seal the far end. The other end needs to come up and out of the bog garden so that it can be used to apply water for irrigation.
  • Cover the bottom and the leaky hose with a 2.5-5cm (1-2in) layer of coarse grit or gravel to prevent soil blocking the holes in the pipe.
  • Replace the excavated soil, removing any weeds and large stones in the process. If the soil is low in organic matter, incorporate compost, leaf mould or well-rotted manure.
  • The soil level will now be higher than the originally, but it will settle in time. Only flatten the soil lightly, as heavy compaction will result in poor growing conditions. Continue to weed the soil as it settles further.
  • Once the soil has settled back to its natural level, the bog garden is ready for planting.

What to plant in a wetland

  • Marsh marigolds and purple loosestrife love boggy ground. Because the marigolds flower early they’re a great source of food for bees and other insects early in the spring.
  • Snake's head fritillaries like damp ground. Buy them as bulbs – they’re easy to plant.
  • Native irises are popular with many insects and make a really good display. The yellow flag lives up to its name, as does the stinking iris, which gives off a meaty smell when its leaves are bruised! But its bright red berries look fantastic in the autumn and attract wetland wildlife.

In the future we hope to see frogs, toads, and newts visiting our bog garden. We expect to see a wide variety of insects and the animals that feed on them. If we are lucky we might see grass snakes, which like damp, wetland areas. They feed on frogs and toads and need a safe place to sunbathe as they’re cold-blooded, so we will give them some cover where they can hide.


Wildflower Areas

Wildflower Area

The garden has been planted with many wildflowers to increase biodiversity.


Wildflower area


You can spot snowdrops, primroses, wild daffodils, fritillaries etc. in Spring and many other plants such as Welsh poppies and bellflowers in summer.


Wildflower area

Our Wildflower Meadow

In the Spring and Summer months, a section of the Churchyard is kept unmown for us to use as our Meadow Garden

meadow5 meadow2 meadow4

We monitor our Meadow using quadrats


We check how long the grass has grown each time we go out to the meadow


The Planters

The planters

There are three large planters in the garden which contain herbs such as lavender, chives, rosemary, sage and thyme to stimulate all five senses.

They also provide space for the children to plant seeds and bulbs and observe growth cycles. We also have a mini greenhouse where we can raise plants from seed.


The Willow Dome

Willow dome

Our children and parents helped to build the willow dome and each child took home a "magic willow stick" to plant and watch leaves appear.


Willow dome

Willow dome

The willow dome now provides a shady spot in the garden for the children to enjoy.


Vegetable Garden


In order to learn more about where our food comes from we have a small container vegetable garden where we grow potatoes, salad crops and other vegetables. We also have a mini greenhouse where children can grow plants from seed. 


Mini Beasts


The garden is home to many small creatures and we have encouraged them by including a ladybird tower, butterfly box, stone and log piles, and
mini-beast hotel.

We release butterflies each year after watching them develop from egg larvae.

Mini Beasts


We use magnifying jars to help us  look closely at the mini beasts.



We have lots of mature trees in the garden and have planted a young crab apple of our own.

We also harvest apples each year from nearby trees.



Tree-based activities include comparing shapes of leaves.



Bird pudding

We have bird boxes for blue - tits, robins, flycatchers and a woodpecker. We have a bird feeding area with nuts and seeds. We make our own bird cake.

A robin often keeps us company when we are digging.

Click here to see our nest box webcam.


Pond Life

We do not have a pond in the Wildlife Garden but we are able to visit one nearby.


Each year we collect frog spawn and observe the frog life cycle.






Sustainability plays an important part in the Wildlife Garden. It is organic and has been made with locally sourced materials where possible.

We have made a recycling area which includes a bin for plastics and a compost bin where the children recycle their fruit peelings from their break time healthy snack.

The playgroup is also registered with Eco-schools Scheme.


Sharing our Garden with the Community


There are reference books and trail sheets available for everyone to use. These include animal home trails, pattern hunts and mini beast tally sheets.
You will find these inside the church near the font.

The Garden is a special place and we enjoy sharing it with our friends.

Thank you!

Thanks to all the many people who have helped us with our garden project.

 Special thanks to :

  • The clergy and the congregation of Saint James' Church, Wick

  • the students of United World College of the Atlantic, Saint Donats

  • Mr Ron Ayres of Wick Horticultural Society

  • Adrian Sunderland Carpentry

  • Jason Bradley of Twmpath Timbers

  • Clare Revera and Mel Bastier of Out to Learn Willow

  • John Shipton of Shipton Bulbs

  • NPower, Aberthaw

  • Hertel