Junior Rangers at Tredegar House

Children playing in the woods
National Trust Images / John Millar

Tredegar House is an ideal place for kids to enjoy the great outdoors. The sprawling estate of parkland is full of wild spaces to explore and plenty of wildlife to discover. 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 last year. Over the summer holidays we ran three 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.

In autumn and winter, we are running two-hour sessions every other weekend. We’re going to be stargazing, running conker championships, building mini rafts on the lake, making crowns with leaves.

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 Junior Rangers?

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 the kids enjoy Junior Rangers?

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?

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

I loved den building as a child, and 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.