Stroud Forest School

“The Sladebank Forest School run by Kesty and Martin was such a big hit! Bella loved her magical time there, spent whittling sticks, chopping wood, making dens and fires, and of course best of all toasting marshmallows.  She can’t wait for the next one. Me too – I loved the fact she was doing such creative and fun things in the outdoors and in the very safe and loving  hands of Kesty and Martin.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.”  Nicky-Mother of Bella 6 years old.

See also, dates and booking information for forthcoming events.

Circle time

Circle time

Children are at the heart of all we do here at Sladebank Woods.

Forest School is a child centered approach, allowing time for children to enjoy the freedom to learn, help each other and share in the fun. We hope the children will develop a deep respect and love of nature that will last a lifetime.

'This is our place'

‘This is our place’

What is Forest School?

‘Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.’



Forest School sessions are now mostly led by our guest Forest School Leaders; Kat Piper is our current leader, of Wild Roots Forest School. 

Kesty Jakes a qualified Forest School Leader- Level 3 and Martin Jakes a qualified Teacher. 

Forest School training includes woodland management, practical skills and learning and development. The Forest School leader is also responsible for ensuring risk assessments and health and safety procedures are up to date and are followed. The qualification also includes a paediatric outdoor first aid certificate.

We like to collaborate with other Forest School Leaders in the area and run a diverse range of Forest School sessions for different ages of children and adults.

Kesty Jakes Forest School Leader

 Kesty Jakes Forest School Leader

Mallet making

Mallet making

Where are we?

Sladebank Wood is a community woodland close to the centre of Stroud, Gloucestershire. It is 5 acres of mixed broadleaved woodland and meadows and is managed for wildlife conservation and education.  It is owned by Martin and Kesty Jakes

Research by the Forest Commission in Wales has shown that children visiting the same place each week for a number of sessions, gives them the opportunity to really connect with nature in a deeper way for the benefit of health and well-being.


Our values

We aim to offer each child:

The inspiration to be curious, fascinated, interested and inventive.


Leaf picture

Leaf picture

The freedom to explore different ways of ‘being’, feeling, behaving and interacting.

The opportunity to:
Experience beauty and wonder in the woodland and become ‘lost in the experience’

Gain confidence through learning new skills

Develop imagination and creativity

Meet challenges and learn to handle risk in safety

Fire at Forest School

Fire at Forest School

Feel relief from stress and anxiety

Develop their spirituality through a sense of awe at the natural environment.

Increase their autonomy and independence

Take responsibility for own learning and building self confidence

Tree gazing

Tree gazing


Experience different models of community living and co-operation

Reach their full potential

Value themselves and respect others

Have fun and play



A guide to Forest School in Wales 2009

Forest School is a woodland based approach to learning and teaching. Sessions are a collaborative process which helps to give children ownership of their learning. Sessions are carefully structured by the leader and children are fully involved in risk assessment and management.

Regular visits to the same site allow children the opportunity to develop more complex skills and consolidate and apply learning.

“Thanks to you for a great couple of days, boys were beaming both days despite the weather.  It was a great opportunity for them to learn new skills and make new friends, hope to see you in the woods soon!” Az

See also, dates and booking information for forthcoming events.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *