Forest classroom to be built at Wensleydale school thanks to money raised at gundog event

Participants at the HectorKirk Moorland Challenge Cup.

A new classroom is to be built for use by children at three Richmondshire schools thanks to a donation following a gundog event.

The forest classroom will be opened at Askrigg Primary School for use by pupils at the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton federation of schools.

Local community groups, including scouts and brownies, will also be able to use the facility.

The forest classroom project is run by the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group as part of its aim to support primary schools in the Dales and to help educate pupils about the countryside and the benefits of moorland life.

Gamekeepers and members of the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group (YDMG) raised over £3,330 at their annual working gundog event and charity auction, the HectorKirk Moorland Challenge Cup.

This year, the event was held at Garsdale Training Ground and took place on Saturday, March 14, prior to restrictions being imposed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The money raised from this event, along with a donation from BASC, will enable the construction of this outdoor learning facility.

Sonya Wiggins, coordinator of the YDMG, said: “Thank you to all the people who kindly gave their time to help make our annual gundog trial event the success that it was, not to mention all the competitors and their dogs.

“Congratulations to Team Vetspec, Team Niccaroz and Team Miles per Gallon who lifted gold, silver and bronze respectively and a special shout out to top scoring dog of the day, FTCH Think Twice Zero to Hero, handled by Nathan Laffey.

“Education is at the heart of all our efforts and without such support and enthusiasm amongst our members within the group and local businesses in our community, valuable education initiatives like our forest classroom simply could not go ahead.

“Once complete, this will be our second outdoor learning facility in the Dales which we are extremely proud of.

“Our first forest classroom at Kettlewell Primary School opened its doors in September of 2018 and has proved a real hit with so many pupils and community groups learning about our precious moorland and the wide array of plants and animals living on their doorstep.”

Sponsors of the HectorKirk Moorland Challenge Cup were Dog & Field, local gundog training equipment and working dog food suppliers and manufacturer CAB Animal Transit Boxes.

Moorland owners and gamekeepers of the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group look after more than 226,000 acres of precious heather moorland across the area.