Junior Rangers at Tredegar House

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Tredegar House, once home to the flamboyant Morgan family, is surrounded by 90 acres of parkland, along with the great lake, three walled gardens, an orangery and outbuildings. With so much outdoor space to explore, Community Engagement Officer, Philip Wilson, told us how their Junior Rangers Club is helping local children reconnect with nature.

We established the Junior Rangers Club in spring this year. Over the summer holidays we ran two free sessions a week, which were attended by more than 500 kids.

Run in partnership with some of our family volunteers, Junior Rangers Club provides a variety of activities for kids. The summer programme included den building, bird spotting, outdoor music workshops and discovering pond life.

Now, heading into autumn and winter, we are running two-hour sessions every other weekend. Of course, with a change in season comes a change in the programme. We’re going to be running conker championships, building mini rafts on the lake, making tiaras and crowns with leaves and even stargazing.

Every time the kids come to a session they receive a stamp and six stamps gets them a prize and a free entry ticket to the house.

Why do you run the activity?

There’s a big housing estate nearby, which we wanted to find a way to connect with by encouraging the families who live there to use this fantastic park.

It used to be that any children that actually visited Tredegar would only play football or play on the swings rather than exploring the nature the park has to offer. By showing the kids what you can do at the park, in a fun and engaging way, we hope that they’ll find a connection with Tredegar and start to explore what’s on offer.

Do you think the kids enjoy doing it?

At the end of every session we ask the kids to fill out evaluation forms. Almost 100 percent of these have come back positive, which is a great testament to how much they enjoy it.

On top of that, even with 500 children taking part in our classes, we have never had any problems or even an argument, which, with that many kids, is just fantastic.

Seven-year-old, Seren Lewis, a family volunteer for Junior Rangers, told us what she thinks: 'I love being outdoors and exploring nature and history. At Junior Rangers we have lots of fun and learn different things. I enjoy volunteering because I like helping people and I have made lots of new friends.'

As a child, what got you into nature and the outdoors?

For me it was just being out and about with my friends exploring and playing.

I loved den building as a child, and certainly running the den building session reminded me of why that was. I just used to do stuff that should be part of everyone’s childhood; it’s the simplicity of outside play which really grew my love for nature and the outdoors.