Yorkshire primary school wins national waterway charity competition

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Grewelthorpe C of E Primary School in Ripon has been selected from hundreds of entries to become the winner of the Canal & River Trust’s inaugural national ‘Corridor for Nature’ competition.

Waterway charity, the Canal & River Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, launched their ’Corridor for Nature’ competition in September 2016. The competition received an overwhelming response from primary schools in England and Wales who were invited to design a new canal inspired habitat garden for their school grounds. The designs were required to be themed around six key canal habitats – hedgerows and trees; grassland or towpaths; open water; wet fringe; offside and buildings.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the school will now have their winning design for a new canal habitat transformed into a reality. The Canal & River Trust’s in-house landscape architect team have been working with Grewelthorpe C of E Primary School to transfer the school’s winning design into a working blueprint for a garden landscaping company to create. It is anticipated that the new £10,000 garden will be open by the end of the year.

Key features include a wildflower meadow, to include bluebells, poppies and yellow rattle to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, fruit trees and hedgerows to attract birds and small mammals and a designated area of fallow land, to provide natural shelter for animals such as hedgehogs and rodents. The garden’s low-maintenance design will help to attract more wildlife into the area and ensure that ongoing maintenance is manageable.

Annette Simpson, education & interpretation manager from the Canal & River Trust’s education team said: “Our huge congratulations to Grewelthorpe Primary School. We were really impressed by the creativity and diversity of this entry lead by pupils Ned Hasson and Molly Ord, which managed to fit all six habitats into their design. The detailed knowledge of how each habitat could attract the most wildlife made this the winning design.”

She added: “We launched this competition to help connect children to nature within their own schools and inspire them about the habitats you can find along a canal and is part of a whole host of initiatives the Trust offers to schools free of charge. Last year our charity reached 90,000 children with free, accessible and curriculum linked educational resources. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who support us and would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.”

Andrew Breckon, Year 5 & 6 teacher from Grewelthorpe Primary School said: “We’re thrilled to have won this competition. It was a real team effort with everyone from pupils to parents involved. With the help of the Canal & River Trust and People’s Postcode Lottery we have been able to secure a wonderful resource, an ‘outdoor classroom’ on our doorstep, that will be really useful to help share our conservation message in school.”

Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We’re delighted that players are able to support the Canal & River Trust with this fantastic competition and help to turn this winning design into a reality. We continue to be overwhelmed by the incredible support of our players and thank them for their funding in making projects like this a happen in so many communities across the country.”

The entries were judged by representatives from the Canal & River Trust and guest judge Janet Roberts, the author of the ‘Chico Chugg’, a popular series of children’s books that are broadcast on YouTube, Sky Kids and Now TV.

Bird boxes and Canal & River Trust educational resources are being awarded to the five runners-up across England and Wales.