Wild Days Lodge – Mapperley’s Forest School

The magnificent former gate-keepers lodge on the Wells Road is to reopen as a Forest School in the summer.

We have posted several times about this building, that was disused for many years. In February, the modernisation work was starting to show what a beautiful building it is.

The Lodge was built around 1880 and was the original gatehouse for the Nottingham Borough Lunatic Asylum. The hospital was extended in 1889 and when the National Health Service was created in 1948, it was named as Mapperley Hospital.

Mapperley Hospital originally had its own farm, where produce was made by and for the patients of the hospital.

It was reported that in the 1960s and 70s, Frank Stafford and his family lived here. Frank was the Mapperley Hospital farms and Gardens manager. His wide also worked in the Occupational Therapy Department.

We can now reveal that the building will keep its connection to nature and the open air. It will be a Forest School named Wild Days Lodge, with the aim:

‘To help children become healthy, resilient, creative, independent, and respectful of our environment’

Local residents Abi and Chris Reddish, expect to open in June and the pre-school will be open 50 weeks of the year.

Both Abi and Chris grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and benefitted from an outdoor and active childhood.

Abi told Mapperley People

I’m really, really excited about this project. I had a wonderful childhood, rarely indoors and can’t wait to pass this love of nature on to the next generation.”

 Parents planning on sending their children to the Wild Days Lodge can expect their children to take part in den building, working with natural materials and exploring and learning about our natural environment.   Children will learn to be responsible citizens of our local community and the wider world through eco-projects such as planting flowers and trees, providing habitats for bees, birds and butterflies and recycling and up-cycling.  Over time they will learn to use tools safely and responsibly giving them useful skills and building confidence.

Abi Reddish

What is a typical Forest School session?

Sessions are designed to encourage children to feel comfortable playing outdoors and exploring the natural environment. This allows children opportunities to be creative in an outdoor setting and have the space to explore activities that interest them.

Staff may provide some structure through planned activities but the children’s interests will dictate what each session looks like. They will always include a group gathering when food and drink are shared amongst the children.

With regard to the restoration of the building, Chris Reddish told Mapperley People:

They say it’s been a thrill but a challenge to restore the lodge to be fit for purpose.  My father and I have been Nottingham residents and builders all of our  working lives, so working together on Wild Days Lodge has been a real passion of ours and ultimately very rewarding.

Chris Reddish

Mapperley People wishes them well and Wild Days should be a great addition to the activities at the nearby St Ann’s Allotments. For further information visit www.wilddayslodge.co.uk

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