One of the easiest and lowest cost projects we can do right now is to define a short-grass pathway through an area of longer grass in your school. Over the summer, the grasses on either side will grow up and look fantastic with their various seed heads and billowing blousy-ness. The longer grasses are a haven for mini-beasts and bugs, and your class can venture on a mini beast safari to find the most extraordinary creatures.
Start with a patch of short grass, somewhere out of the way of football and other busier areas. The patch can be as small as 50 square metres with no upward limit on size. If you have a long boundary then you can make a grass avenue along the whole length.
Laying out the path
We like to use bamboo canes to define the edges of the path, but any sticks/pegs will do. If you want, you can use a ball of string to wrap around each stick at a suitable height, to make the path edge a continuous line. This is something that any children can help with.
The only thing to really decide is the width of your path. If you want a narrow, single file rambling track, then you could just go out with your class and walk it every day or two. Within a short time, the trodden down grasses will become tougher and stronger and remain short while the grasses on either side grow taller.
On the other hand, if you want a wider more ‘structured’ path, then it’s a good idea to ask your (mowing) contractor the width of their mower – so they can easily keep the path short while the grass grows long on either side. Bear in mind that their mowers can vary their width from wide (3m) to narrow (around 1m).
Wider paths for walking along together
If you want a path that 2 children can walk along together then the width needs to be minimum 1.5 metres, but anything up to 3 metres will give lots of possibilities. Experiment – next year do it a different way.
Once September/October come around, the longer grasses will need cutting down again, otherwise the area will become tufty and uneven. However, this tufty and uneven space can become the venue for a tree planting project this coming winter. If you want to think about this, then take a look at our recent blog Effective Tree Planting 1.
The possibilities are endless!