Lovelyland Nature Trail
Shrewsbury based social enterprise Lovelyland organises a beautiful nature trail every year to mark the arrival of spring. We wanted to find out a little more about it, so spoke to organiser Clare Bear. Photographs by Birgitta Zoutman
Lovelyland is the best kind of grass roots action, bringing people together to enjoy and appreciate the natural world – the smiles from children and adults on the nature trail in Castlefields this weekend demonstrates the power of this kind of project.
The not-for-profit Shrewsbury based social enterprise was founded five years ago by Clare Bear, a single mum of two and an ex-teacher and self-confessed ‘obsessive gardener’.
She explains the ethos behind it: “Lovelyland works with schools, families and communities in the Shropshire area to look at how we can create a deeper connection with nature on our doorsteps and make stronger bonds with the people we share these green spaces with. We believe that connections with nature and each other benefit our sense of well-being.”
Clare said the reaction to the nature trail had been ‘overwhelming’: “So many people commented on how beautiful it was, how it brightened up the area and made so many people smile.
“We organise a Lovelyland Nature Trail every year to mark the arrival of spring. We felt that this year was even more important to go ahead and organise this event given that we have all been in lockdown for so long now.”
The Lovelyland ‘Yarn Bombers’ made beautiful woollen creations to decorate the trail, including little frogs and flowers, knitted mushrooms and hedgehogs.
“The Yarn Bomb Crew work on community projects every year and we were blown away by the support,” Claire said.
The Yarn Bombers were also behind the fabulous display of knitted poppies at Shrewsbury Abbey last November and also take part in the Belle Vue Arts Festival.
In restriction free times, they meet regularly and work as a group on specific community projects that are close to their heart and love to hear from new members (see below for how to contact them).
Lovelyland projects include the Little Lovelyland Library which provides good quality children's books for everyone to use. It is a book share scheme which supports families who may not have many opportunities to access books with strong messages of hope, togetherness and community.
Lovelyland also creates seed packs which are available to buy on the website. “For every two packs sold, we send one pack out to families that may not otherwise have the opportunity to access resources like this,” Clare explained.
Lovelyland Nature Project runs every year and involves workshops, events and resources focussed on the changing seasons, wildlife and food growing.
Clare added: “We are looking forward to holding many more outdoor events this year, when restrictions allow us to start gathering safely again.
“Lovelyland was an idea inspired by seeing how much joy and positive learning experiences my children gained from being in the garden with me. I started the social enterprise five years ago and we have grown from strength to strength each year. I couldn't think of a more rewarding and important job to be involved in, as I truly believe that children are the guardians of the future and they all deserve the opportunity to explore, experiment and learn in and about nature.”
To join the Castlefields Yarn Bombing Crew get in touch via Castlefields Yarn Bombing Crew