‘UNIQUE’ woodland has been restored as a place where youngsters can learn about the environment and where dementia sufferers can relax.
Painting’s Plantation at Campion School in Leamington has been a ‘labour of love’ for many volunteers, including those from Age UK Warwickshire and local businesses.
Throughout winter teams armed with shovels and wheelbarrows cleared overgrown areas, put down new paths and created a new pond – which took 10,000 litres of water to fill.
The Painting’s Plantation woodland was planted in 2000 in honour of the late Leamington actor Norman Painting OBE, who played Phil Archer in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers for more than fifty years.
He was passionate about trees and finding ways to encourage young people to take an interest with them. He was also Vice-President of the Tree Council, a national organisation which promotes trees in the UK. The Council, together with Age UK Warwickshire and Campion school were partners from the beginning of the scheme.
The newly-revamped woodland has now been officially opened by BBC presenter Liz Kershaw, who is patron of Age UK Warwickshire.
She said: “It will be of great benefit in evoking memories amongst older people with dementia. I know the team at Age UK can’t wait to show people the plantation. It will be such a treat.
“Now Campion School have another resource to help children love trees. We are so grateful for all of the time and commitment of local volunteers and companies who have made this happen.”
The 1.5 acre woodland contains a mixture of trees and bushes, together with walkways, sheltered seating areas, a sensory garden and pond.
The woodland has also been planted with wildlife in mind, offering a habitat for many species including birds.
Campion School head teacher Jassa Panesar said: “We are very grateful for this refurbished woodland area in the grounds of our school. It will continue to be a living resource for teaching, especially in the areas of the environment and science.
“We are especially delighted that now, people with dementia with their carers will have access to this haven. We would like to thank all those involved for their hard work in all weathers which has enabled this woodland to have a new lease of life.”