Tong Garden Centre expands its play offering with Yorkshire Muddings forest school

(Left) Susannah Holroyd, Director and Co-Owner at Yorkshire Muddings, Matt Lowrey, Manager at Grasshoppers, Victoria Filtness, Director and Co-Owner at Yorkshire Muddings

Yorkshire-based retail and play destination, Tong Garden Centre has joined forces with Yorkshire Muddings forest school to offer children and their adults a brand new unique outdoor play session hidden in a secret woodland area on site.

The venture at Grass Hoppers hopes to welcome an additional 2,500 children through the woodland doors in its first year.

Founded in 2021, Yorkshire Muddings which is now open to the public, includes activities like mud kitchens, nature crafts, bug hunting, climbing, large loose parts play to ignite children’s imaginations, hammock swinging and every session ends with a story and a toasted marshmallow on the campfire.

Also operating from a private woodland in Grange Moor, on the Wakefield/Huddersfield border, Yorkshire Muddings provides fully outdoor forest school and woodland play sessions predominantly for pre-school children.

Since launching in November 2021, Yorkshire Muddings has gone from strength to strength and in its first 12 months has tripled its work force – including a new Director, and another Forest School Leader to run its second site at Tong Garden Centre.

Matt Lowrey, Manager at Grass Hoppers said: “We’re thrilled to be able to make use of a woodland space that was previously unloved and a bit forgotten – the vision that Yorkshire Muddings had for the land was inspiring and we’re really excited to be working with them as they continue to promote the benefits of outdoor play.

“We’re always looking for new ways to encourage families to get outside and to build on the success of our own play offering – Yorkshire Muddings has built a strong brand based on celebrating the joy of play and we know this partnership will be a great addition.”

Owner and founder Victoria says: “Yorkshire Muddings has been really well received since the very first session, the aim was always to open multiple sites so that we’re able to encourage and nurture a love of outdoor play in a natural environment to as many children as possible – the positive feedback we’ve had about our play provision has been truly overwhelming.

“This sort of play is what children are born to do; they are masters of our slow paced, investigative and explorative play in a natural setting. The woodland that we have given new life to at Grasshoppers is so beautiful – a huge chestnut tree provides beautiful dappled shade and is the perfect spot for playing in the mud kitchen.”

Susannah Holroyd, Director and co-owner adds: “We’re so proud to have a site at Tong Garden Centre and within the already excellent Grasshoppers – creating a love of the great outdoors starts by giving children the chance to enjoy nature in its purest form, allowing them to play and create happy memories will foster a lifelong love and respect for the world we live in.”

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