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Pupils enjoy story trail they inspired

Pupils from a North Cardiff primary school have enjoyed a woodland story trail, which they helped to inspire.

The children from Rhydypennau Primary visited the recently reopened Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs for a journey through the woodland as they heard their ideas come to life, while listening to the story about a young kingfisher Eleri, who must complete an important test to earn her colourful feathers.

Written specifically for the site, Becoming Bright is about a kingfisher, with characters in the story inspired by the pupils who attended workshops with Dr Dylan Adams, of Cardiff Metropolitan University, to learn about the reservoirs' rich biodiversity.

The ideas were then handed over to author Dr Christina Thatcher, from Cardiff University, who transformed them into the final story – which the pupils got to hear before anyone else - read to them by both Christina and Dylan, in the special place that provided the inspiration.

"Listening to the story in the woods at the reservoir I felt really calm but also excited because I wanted to know what happened next!" a Rhydypennau Year 3 pupil said.

Dr Christina Thatcher with children from Rhydypennau Primary School

Christina said: "It was absolutely amazing to see the trail come to life. It has been an incredible experience to see the story where it was meant to be, here in the woodland."

Dylan said: "It has been fantastic to be able to read the story to the local primary school children allowing them to hear and see how their ideas have been brought to life. It is so important to allow children to connect with nature in a creative way."

Forming part of Child Friendly Cardiff Story Trails, the trail involves a series of handcrafted wooden sculptures, that take children and their families through the woodland on a series of 'stop' points linking to the story using the QR codes at each 'stop'.

The Community Woodland scheme has enabled the restoration of an inaccessible woodland into an area for visitors to enjoy and connect with nature in a safe environment.

As well as the story trail, the scheme has enabled the creation of a learning zone that provides an education amenity for local schools, community and visitors.

Annie Smith of Welsh Water, who project managed the delivery of the Community Woodland scheme, said: "It is such a pleasure to see the young people and volunteers enjoying the woodland. The story trail is a great celebration of partnership - and all of the hard work that has gone into regenerating these woodlands. It is so nice to think that visitors are now able to discover, learn about and enjoy spending time at the reservoirs."

Partners include Welsh Water, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Move More Cardiff, Cardiff Council and Rhydypenau Primary School. As well as volunteers from Friends of Cardiff Reservoirs, who have been working hard to create the paths that the story trail follows.

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