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Urban Forest School


Venture out to your local greenspace or just into your back yard, and try the amazing array of outdoor activities – from building a hidden sheet den to creating watering stations for bees.

While you are there, scavenge and forage for raw materials and then extend the fun with creative makes and recipes to do back at home such as leaf printing, stick boats and stinging nettle crisps. Get to know the wild parts of your city or town with handy bug, plant and tree ID sections, plus a scavenger hunt and cloud-spotting game that can be done when out and about. Games to play with organized groups or with your family and friends adds another dimension to this book that is bursting with ideas for urban outdoor adventures.



About the authors

Dan Westall and Naomi Walmsley run Outback2Basics from their patch of woodland in Shropshire, UK. Specializing in bush craft and Stone Age skills, they provide unique experiences for school children and teachers to connect to nature. Dan has been a bushcraft teacher for many years and has also acted as a medic and survival consultant on various TV shows. Naomi is a qualified bushcraft instructor and Forest School Leader and believes that every child should be able to safely light a fire and have at least ten uses for a stick by the age of ten. She has also written about bushcraft and parenting for many magazines.


“The new book from Naomi Walmsley and Dan Westall will inspire children with a love of nature and a sense of adventure. Urban Forest School aims to change that by giving kids the chance to develop their creativity, confidence and resilience. Crucially, the book emphasises that children can access nature even if they live in a city or town, there is no need to have a woodland, park or garden – nature can be found anywhere if you just look hard enough! The activities and projects are suitable for children of all ages, and for adults too, of course! A sense of responsibility and respect for the environment is encouraged throughout the book. Whether it’s knot tying, den making or leaf printing, there’s bound to be something in Urban Forest School to entertain your family.”

-Woodworking Crafts

An ideal and instructive guide for family nature craft projects with children, “Urban Forest School Adventure” is unique, profusely illustrated and thoroughly ‘user friendly’ in organization and presentation. While especially recommended for family and community library instructional craft collections for children.

-Mid-West Book Review

“Having previously read and very much enjoyed Walmsley and Westall’s best-selling first book Forest School Adventures, I was looking forward to reading this much anticipated second book. Urban Forest School begins with an explanation of the Forest School ethos and how this may be applied to an urban setting. The book is instructional and informative and will serve as a useful reference for outdoor educational practitioners and parents living in cities and suburbs, particularly at this challenging time, as we recover from the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. In this introduction, they also importantly address the need to teach children about climate change from a young age. There are some useful child-friendly explanations of climate change and activity ideas to promote being environmentally aware. They complete this introductory section with an overview of some basic knots, which is a useful reference.

In summary Urban Forest School is a great introductory book for city children and parents, who would like to get outside more. Walmsley and Westall have pitched it just right: their book is suitable for novice adventurers yet also offers some great tips and ideas for more experienced nature explorers. The personal recollections, ‘Garden Memories’, ‘Dinner at the Allotment’ and ‘City Camping Adventure’, are reminders of the beautiful simplicities of a happy and wholesome childhood. They remind us that childhood should be full of wonderful memories and experiences outdoors in a natural environment, not necessarily a time filled with materials objects. This book will serve as a great support and inspiration for parents up and down the country.”

-Living Woods Magazine

A great non-fiction text resource for teachers and school staff as well as parents, especially during this difficult time when we are all doing our best to home school and keep little ones entertained. The book explores the benefits that come with spending time outdoors and provides lots of useful information and ideas on things to do when venturing out to any local green space… The pages full of ideas are written in a way that is easily accessible to both children and adults alike. The pages could be photocopied and provided to children in class to read and understand for themselves, teaching them how to follow instructions and gain a better understanding of non-fiction text types. There are also valuable resources for teachers to photocopy and print out such as track templates and scavenger hunt checklists for city walks. Something for everyone, a bumper book of learning and fun!

-The Reading Zone