CONCERNS that children knew nothing of the outside world has led to the creation of an outdoor learning centre.

And primary school children have been urged to ‘Bring Yer Wellies’ to Ricroft Nurseries in Hoghton to help with their education.

Set up by owners Nigel and Melissa Peters, with the help of ‘technical adviser’ Fergus (their six-year-old son), the centre provides a bespoke learning engagement with nature for children.

Melissa, 48, who set up the business with her husband after being made redundant from a job at Hoghton Tower, said children needed to ‘get out’ more.

She said: “Children are so used to using the iPad or computer to find out about things but we learn about the great outdoors best by getting our hands dirty.

“Many of our six-year-old son’s school friends would insist milk originates from a supermarket.”

Melissa opened the business in June last year with husband and business partner Nigel, a design engineer by trade but also runs the nursery business, AR Peter & Son, set up by his dad in 1952.

Melissa said the aim of the business was to complement classroom-based learning.

She said: “We have large greenhouses which provide the perfect environment to learn alongside their Key Stage education.

“And they are adjacent to open spaces and woodlands so they can do workshops and activities such as pond-dipping and tree identification.

“As well as schools, we work with Beavers and Girl Guides, as well as disabled groups.

“We speak to the teachers or group leaders in advance who come along and look at our facilities, and we can tailor sessions to their needs.

“For example, we had a group that was learning about the Great Fire of London.

“The children built a bridge and then set fire to the houses and the fire brigade came in and talked to them about the changes in fire safety over the years.”

For more information on Bring Yer Wellies, visit www.bringyerwellies.