Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to officially open new outdoor classroom at Carsington Water

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust contractors have completed construction work on an outdoor classroom at Carsington Water which will help visitors engage with nature in new ways.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 20th May 2021, 1:18 pm

The classroom will officially open for its first visitors on Sunday, May 23, as the Matlock Wildlife Watch group hosting a Covid-safe private event with campfire cooking and exploration activities.

In the afternoon, the Carsington junior rangers will gather beneath its roof for their first face to face session since before lockdown.

Long-term, the trust expects the classroom to help more groups – particularly schools and other youth organisations – learn to enjoy the great outdoors, come rain or shine.

The new outdoor classroom can be used for school visits.

Trust engagement officer Diane Gould said: “Our Severn Trent partnership education classroom is dedicated to getting children outdoors and engaged with nature to provide a wilder future for everyone. It means we can run activities whatever the weather.”

The roundhouse was built by Welsh company Bear Woodcraft with craftsman Dan Holland living on site during the first lockdown to draw up the plans.

The traditional design is based on a frame constructed Carmarthenshire larch wood, striking rafters made from Norwegian fir grown in the Forest of Dean, panelling made of Lebanese cedar trees from Brecon, and a turf roof from Lincolnshire.

A second outdoor area with posts carved by Derbyshire wood sculptor Andy Frost will allow a large tarpaulin shelter to be added in the meadow so there is additional cover for poor weather or shade in hot weather.

The traditional timber frame of the roundhouse during construction.

The classroom area has also been adorned with two pairs of giant butterfly wings created by Liverpudlian artist Catt ‘Soulart’ Kyriacou.

The whole project has been funded via a generous donation from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund through the Derbyshire Environmental Trust.

Andrew Caile, quarry manager at Tarmac's Ballidon site, said: "We are pleased to have been able to support this project, and hope the outdoor classroom is enjoyed by many for years to come.”

For more information on how to book a visit to the classroom and the trust’s other education opportunities, see

The roof is covered with turf to soak up any rain.

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The classroom area is signposted by these huge butterfly wings which make for great photo opportunities.