I was invited to attend a nature walk at Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park with Llanelli Multicultural Network (LMCN), which was one of their ‘Connecting to Nature’ series of walks funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
LMCN was founded in 2007 with the objective to ‘build a more coherent community’.
The objective of ‘Connecting to Nature’ is to experience nature, gain woodland skills of vegetation and wildlife observation and cooking in the great outdoors. The walk was conducted by Ashley Davies of Woodland Explorers and supported by Dan of Carmarthenshire County Council.
Ash informed me that she is a qualified and insured “Forest School practitioner” with more than five-years’ experience delivering ‘Forest School’ to both Welsh and English medium schools and members of the public. She continued by explaining that the benefits to the participants’ can be “huge”, for example, connection to nature, developing social skills, improving health, well-being, and happiness.
Ash commenced the forest walk by meeting all the participants from LMCN and memorising everyone’s name (fig #1), a skill I envy.
Ash introduced a set of cards for each of the participants to select (fig #4); the cards then determined what type of woodland life they would be tasked to identify. It was interesting to observe that everyone was enjoying the environment and each other’s company, and just happy to chat.
Using only a Survival Fire Flint and steel implement (fig #8), Ash demonstrated how to produce a spark to ignite some cotton wool (fig #9) to set alight some wood shavings and the kindling wood to heat the water in the Kelly Kettle. Ash then handed the flint and steel firelighter to the LMCN participants and encouraged them to generate their own spark. Meanwhile, Dan was doing his best to fan-the-flames (fig #15) to encourage the kindling wood to burn to boil the water for our much-needed cup of tea.
It was a great day out with Llanelli Multicultural Network, Ashley, and Dan, (and my dog Ella) in Mynydd Mawr; a place I’ve always enjoyed with all my dogs.