By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk

STICK AT IT Children build a den at Holly Hill

PRIMARY school children enjoyed A Day In The Woods at Holly Hill near Birling thanks to a joint educational project run by the Kent Woodland Employment Scheme (KWES) and Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.

The scheme is the result of a £10,000 grant from the Postcode Local Lottery to fund repairs to footpaths, install waymarking, create glades, provide working days for volunteers and events for schoolchildren.

The children learned how to build a woodland den, cook sweet chestnuts and make pine cone bird feeders.

The council’s Ranger team helped the children to learn more about the plants and creatures that live at Holly Hill.

KWES foresters demonstrated how trees are coppiced and created a glade to let light in to improve the woodland habitat.

Cllr Maria Heslop, the Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Community Services says: “The beautiful woodland at Holly Hill will benefit hugely from the work KWES will do by coppicing to let light and air to the forest floor. This will allow trees to continue to grow and provide excellent habitats for plants and wildlife.

KWES Chair Allison Wainman says: “Preserving our woodlands is so important. We want to encourage more people to help look after our forests for future generations.”

She adds: “We are helping to look after Holly Hill to bring it back into proper sustainability so it will last forever.”

There is a shortage of woodland workers, especially in Kent. Jay Needham, an -apprentice at Holly Hill, says: “Unfortunately, to come into this industry without KWES would probably be impossible.

“It gives young people a chance. It gets them up on their feet and gives them a livable wage, which is very hard in this industry.”