Creativity is second nature for pupils at Bridgehead’s ‘outdoor classroom’

Pupils have unveiled their latest creations forming part of a unique “outdoor classroom” at environment-friendly Bridgehead business park.

The beautiful and natural art installations add to the appeal of a woodland trail circling the 50-acre Bridgehead development at Hessle, East Yorkshire, which is one of the UK’s greenest and most sustainable business parks and home to over 8,000 shrubs and hedgerows, 4,500 herbs and bulbs and more than 200 trees.

Pupils from nearby All Saints Junior and Hessle High Schools visited Bridgehead to apply the finishing touches to the two latest art installations they have created, which animate the forest trail and provide unique and natural homes for birds, insects and small mammals.

The 1km wildlife trail was planned and delivered by Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group, developer of Bridgehead, working with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which manages the woodland pathway on behalf of Wykeland and preserves the existing habitat to encourage further wildlife and maintain flora and fauna.

With help from local artist Liz Dorton, a long-time collaborator with Wykeland on the Bridgehead woodland trail, All Saints pupils have woven willow dens, designed to echo natural shapes, while Hessle High students have created quirky bird feeders with metal “branches’” to form a sculptural tree.

The activities are supported by Wykeland as part of an extensive and ongoing commitment by the company to involve the community and invest in the futures of local school pupils.

Elaine Burke, Wykeland’s Arts Consultant, said: “The pupils use the Bridgehead woods as an outdoor classroom and continue to develop the theme of artworks that are inspired by nature.

“We are seeing such positive impacts on creative thinking, teamwork and confidence from the young people involved in the art projects, and it’s an absolute joy to be involved.

“We work closely with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the woodland, to ensure our projects are suitable for the wide range of wildlife in the Bridgehead woods. The result is a unique nature and art trail that benefits everyone in the local area and supports a thriving wildlife habitat.”

Dominic Gibbons, Wykeland Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to continue to work with Elaine, Liz and the two schools on these fantastic arts projects on the nature trail.

“The young people put such a lot of hard work and commitment into their creations and it’s wonderful to see their confidence in contributing to these projects increase, which in turn leads to them being more confident in the classroom. 

“These projects connect the children and young people to the natural environment and they also learn so much from working together as part of a team.

“Their brilliant creations are also really enjoyed by the hundreds of people who use the Bridgehead woodland trail for recreation and exercise. Their work makes an already beautiful area a fantastic place to experience and discover.”

Donna Morris, Year 5 teacher at All Saints School, said: “The children love to be out and working in the countryside on the art projects. Their confidence has grown so much and it has a huge impact on their enthusiasm back in the classroom.”   

Previous projects at Bridgehead include bird boxes with wings; a colourful insect hotel; and a giant dead-hedge nest sculpture with mosaic eggs. Last year All Saints pupils designed and decorated a giant moth sculpture and Hessle High resistant materials pupils created mini-moth sculptures, using found and recycled materials, as part of the “A Moth for Amy” project marking the 75th anniversary of the death of Hull-born aviatrix Amy Johnson.

The woodland trail is well used by workers at Bridgehead and by visitors to the site, offering a scenic escape from the office or a convenient route for a spot of exercise during breaks.

The sought-after business location close to the Humber Bridge is home to Beal Homes; bathroom retailer Victoria Plum; the John Good Group of companies; laser firm Rofin-Sinar; office technology company IT@Spectrum; IT services and telecoms company The One Point; and design-to-print graphic services company SGS International.

Work is soon to complete on new headquarters at Bridgehead for Centrica Storage, the UK’s leading gas storage business. The new offices will offer state-of-the-art accommodation for up to 200 people and take the total employed at Bridgehead to almost 800, with the development continuing to grow as a major hub of economic activity.