Pupils said goodbye to their concrete school yard as tree planting began in earnest to create natural places to play, learn and help combat climate change.

Last week students at Goddard Park Community Primary school donned wellies to help plant the first of 1,000 trees that will create woodland areas in place of two playgrounds at the school.

Concrete from the whole of the early years playground as well as a large area of the Years 5 and 6 one had already been removed to make way for the saplings.

Ruth Parsons, who designed the ecological project and co-ordinates the woodland learning programme at the school said: “The children have all loved it.

“I am so chuffed to see this take shape after all the planning. I’m so proud of the children too, they’ve all worked so hard.”

The idea for the project came from the park north school’s Eco Warrior club wishing to increase the number of trees on site.

Ruth said: “We wanted to give the children an opportunity to do something about saving their world, which is obviously very important, and also to have the chance to connect with nature.

“We want them to understand the world around them and learn how to look after it."

Ruth added: “We want the children to love the place they come to school and to be able to play in a natural environment.”

The trees have been donated by the Woodland Trust as part of their Great Climate Fight-back, and the Great Western Community forest.

Species being planted included hazel, field maple, oak will and hawthorn, among others.

Additional soil was provided by Hills, and the concrete removed by Tiger Plant.

Deputy head for early years and safeguarding, Carmen Franklin said: “There was just old 1960s concrete here before and it had to go.

“We’ve done studies about how children play in our existing woodland area and have seen how beneficial it is over concrete in terms of developing their skills, such as using imagination and turn taking.”

When finished, the woodland will comprise a den building and climbing area for play, a small orchard with fruit trees, an area of plants chosen to attract bees and butterflies, a picnic area and also a section given over to long grass and wildflowers.

Every year group will have access to the woodland at break times and as an additional teaching resources.

“Everything we do outside goes all the way through the curriculum throughout the school,” said Ruth.

“This will go on for years,” she added. “We’ll add more habitats and wildlife will move in. It will be something that will continue to grow.”