Ripon families join in FunFest activities at Hell Wath
Last updated Aug 9, 2022
River dipping in the Skell at Hell Wath
Brinley, supervised by a Friends of Hell Wath volunteer, looking for wildlife living in the waters of the Skell

Families flocked to Ripon’s Hell Wath Nature Reserve at the weekend for the start of a programme of free summer activities that continues until August 18.

FunFest, organised by Ripon Together in partnership with Ripon Business Improvement District and with support from sporting and other organisations in the city, has been designed for children of all ages.

On Saturday afternoon, the Friends of Hell Wath (FOHW) staged a number of hands-on forest school activities from a drum and percussion workshop, led by Hayley Watkinson, to supervised river dipping in the Skell, where families could see some of the aquatic creatures that live there.

Drum workshop at Hell Wath

Natural rhythm – children and parents taking part in the drum and percussion workshop held in a forest clearing

Jeremy Dunford, secretary of FOHW, told the Stray Ferret:

“We were able to hold this event thanks to funding from the Skell Valley Project, and It was encouraging to see so many families coming to enjoy the natural resources that Hell Wath has to offer – from woodland to water and wide-open spaces.”

He added:

“Forest schools are growing in popularity at Ripon’s primaries and are helping young children to become more environmentally aware at a time when the world is witnessing the effects of climate change.”

Forest School Ripon toasting marshmallows

Forest school’s Helen Gillespie (centre) teaches Chase (left) Harry (grey top) Taylon and Ellie, how to toast marshmallows safely on an open fire.

The focus is on Ripon Grammar School (RGS) and the city’s library for the next FunFest activities on Saturday, August 13.

With the cancellation of the wheelchair rugby demonstration, there is a change in the RGS programme, which will begin at 1pm.

Ripon Together Board member, David Ingham, said:

“It’s a shame that the wheelchair rugby teams cannot now be at our event.  However, there will still be lots to enjoy.”

This includes a climbing wall, accessible swimming for people with disabilities, kurling, boccia and large board games in addition to more traditional sports such as basketball, netball, volleyball and badminton.

Ripon Library will be the venue for bicycle MOTs, a Lego event, and sports and information roadshow.

On August 15, 16 and 18, Studley Royal Cricket Club, which now incorporates Ripon Spa Croquet Club, will be the setting for a wide range of sporting opportunities for children, including junior cricket, athletics and croquet coaching, an inflatable obstacle course, air rifle shooting and archery.

Though all events are free, booking is needed for some. Further details can be found by clicking here.

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