Introduction and Guidance for Teachers

Why bring children to the Clara Vale Nature Reserve?

There are many reasons for visiting a nature reserve with children.  If they learn about the natural environment from an early age children may begin to appreciate the countryside and understand that we need to care for the natural world.  This is the foundation for children growing into adults who care about the environment and contribute to looking after it.

We believe it is important that all children have opportunities to become familiar with their natural environment and experience the outdoors through all of their senses, for example sitting in the long grass in a summer meadow or listening to the wind blowing through the tress as leaves float down and around them on an autumn day.  As they become more aware of the natural environment they are likely to become interested in the animal and plant life around them and understand the effect of seasonal changes on an environment.

The Clara Vale Nature Reserve is designated as a Local Nature Reserve.  The habitat is managed by a group of local volunteers who form the Clara Vale Conservation Group (CVCG).  It is a small reserve with a range of habitats including woodland, meadow, scrub and ponds and provides an ideal introduction for children and young people to the natural environment and how it is cared for.  

The nature reserve has a special significance for our local area.  It was established on the site of the Clara Vale pit after the mine was closed.  Elements of this industrial past are evident to visitors to the reserve.  Local children have connections with this past heritage through their immediate families and the wider community.  Visiting the nature reserve can help them think about the past and the lives of the miners and their families who worked and lived here. Go to our Heritage section for the history of the nature reserve.

Flowers in the Vale

In November 2015, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) approved a grant to CVCG to embark on a project to recreate a traditional hay meadow within the nature reserve.  Using traditional tools and techniques the project aims to return part of the site to how it would have looked prior to the pit shafts being sunk in the late 19th Century when the site was a series of meadows next to an old watermill. The project is led by Gateshead Council with funding to update an earlier education pack.  Hence this education resource has been created with the purpose of encouraging more schools to bring children to the nature reserve and benefit from all that it has to offer.  

Next: Planning your visit