Southampton pupils have been smiling from ear to ear following the opening of a forest school.

Bevois Town Primary in Cedar Road has opened a new play area where students can explore nature and learn more about the environment.

Children will have opportunities to try gardening, interact with hedgehogs and birds, and sit around a fireplace where they can narrate or listen to stories. 

Daily Echo: Noah Bocock (right) with his friends Noah Bocock (right) with his friends (Image: Newsquest)

Year 5 pupil, Noah Bocock, was thrilled to see the new play area. 

The 10-year-old told the Echo: "This is a little area in our school where people can do gardening and have fun.

"Sometimes people dig, and sometimes people build fences.

"Today, me and my friends are planting sunflowers and cutting wood to make wood cookies.

"It's nice to have a place like this because before this was completely off-limits and you could see no-one going in or out.

"My favourite part about this place probably has to be about how everything and everyone come together to have fun." 

Daily Echo: Bevois Town Primary school students Bevois Town Primary school students (Image: Newsquest)

Five-year-old Sophie added: "We have lots of fun things to do here now. 

"We can now walk around divine sticks and make fairy things for the fairies.

"I am so excited to make s'mores with my friends here and eat it." 

The forest school was redeveloped by school governor Matt Bottley. 

Daily Echo: Matt Bottley (Left) with Jack Ryan (Right)Matt Bottley (Left) with Jack Ryan (Right) (Image: Newsquest)

Matt, whose daughter is also a student at the school, said: "I own a landscaping company, and we generally design and build gardens. 

"But we decided to redevelop this site of the school for free, and it's quite nice to do something like this.

"We've been talking about doing it for quite a long time because before there only used to be an old pond, so all of this site was flooded. 

"A lot of work was put in to create this space. We put up hedgehog houses, and bird boxes, trying to turn them into a wildlife space as well as something that the kids can use as an outside classroom." 

Daily Echo: Hannah Boussot with children Hannah Boussot with children (Image: Newsquest)

The session at the new play area is led by Hannah Boussot.

She said: "By embracing the forest school approach here at Bevois Town, we recognise more than ever that children need nature. 

"Time spent outdoors is good for our physical health and mental and emotional well-being too, especially for our children who have come through lockdowns and live in the middle of the city. 

"Although we recognise that our space is limited, we are trying to offer our children the chance to learn from nature and build their resilience and self-esteem through supported risk-taking by using wood-working tools and cooking on the campfire." 

Daily Echo: Lord Mayor, Cllr Jacqui RaymentLord Mayor, Cllr Jacqui Rayment (Image: Newsquest)

The Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Jacqui Rayment, cut the ribbon on Friday.

She said: "We live in a city where we are very proud of our green space.

"For a school to create a forest area where young people can experience what nature is really about is a really special moment.

"I'm delighted to have been invited today to open this space."