William Barnes and Wessex Rivers Trust collaborate on a new Heritage and Nature Trail in Sturminster Newton

Amy Ellis, the education officer for Wessex Rivers Trust, contacted William Barnes primary back in September 2020 with an exciting idea of creating a River Stour Trail with the children.

Amy Ellis, the education officer for Wessex Rivers Trust, creating a large interactive 3d model of a river from its source as a natural spring to its mouth as an estuary at the sea


The plan was for Year 5 to create the art work for a nature trail looping from the school, into the recreation ground and then along the banks of the river to Sturminster Newton Mill and back along the river to the school. Rather than using information boards, Amy envisaged posts with QR codes, linking to Wessex River’s website. The children would provide the artwork for the website and Wessex Rivers would provide the scientific and historical information for the trail.
“Covid restrictions meant the project kept getting delayed, until we had just three days before the end of Summer term last year,” explained deputy head Richard Hull.
The trail-making day itself was a great success. Amy began in the school hall, creating a large interactive 3d model of a river from its source as a natural spring to its mouth as an estuary at the sea.
Afterwards, the children headed out to the banks of the Stour for some pond dipping and then returned to school to produce some breathtaking artwork using acrylics, oil pastels and charcoal. Full of ideas, Amy also had the children in hysterics playing various games as they learned about how animals adapt to their environments.

The trail is open
After considerable hard work from Amy and the education team at Wessex Rivers, the project is now completed. Posts with QR codes are in place along the river, the artwork has been uploaded and a downloadable trail leaflet has been designed and shared with the local community. The children were delighted to see their paintings and drawings online as part of the trail, and were excited to see that the project has come to completion.
Amy said: “It was a pleasure to work with William Barnes Primary. There is nothing like the sound of excited school children discovering what wildlife is hidden beneath the surface of their local river! The children produced some incredible art work to support the Wildlife and Heritage Trail which you can see by clicking here.”

The Wessex Rivers Trust offers subsidised education sessions to schools, uniformed groups and home education groups. If you are interested in getting involved in a similar project with your school or group then please contact Amy via – https://www.wessexrt.org.uk/

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