UNIQUE outdoor play sessions will now run in a popular Bradford garden centre. 

Tong Garden Centre has joined forces with Yorkshire Muddings forest school for the new play sessions, which will be hidden in a secret woodland area on site. 

It's hoped the venture at Grasshoppers will welcome an additional 2,500 children through the woodland doors in its first year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: New outdoor play area at Tong Garden Centre. Image: Tong Garden CentreNew outdoor play area at Tong Garden Centre. Image: Tong Garden Centre (Image: Tong Garden Centre)

Founded in 2021, Yorkshire Muddings includes activities like mud kitchens, nature crafts, bug hunting, climbing and hammock swinging and more. 

Every session ends with a story and a toasted marshmallow on the campfire. 

Since launching, Yorkshire Muddings has gone from strength to strength and in its first 12 months has tripled its workforce.

This includes a new director and another forest school leader to run its second site at Tong Garden Centre.

Matt Lowrey, manager at Grass Hoppers said: “We’re thrilled to be able to make use of a woodland space that was previously unloved and a bit forgotten - the vision that Yorkshire Muddings had for the land was inspiring and we’re really excited to be working with them as they continue to promote the benefits of outdoor play.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tong Garden Centre, new site for Yorkshire Muddings. Image: Tong Garden Centre Tong Garden Centre, new site for Yorkshire Muddings. Image: Tong Garden Centre (Image: Tong Garden Centre)

“We’re always looking for new ways to encourage families to get outside and to build on the success of our own play offering - Yorkshire Muddings has built a strong brand based on celebrating the joy of play and we know this partnership will be a great addition.”

Owner and founder Victoria Filtness added: “Yorkshire Muddings has been really well received since the very first session, the aim was always to open multiple sites so that we’re able to encourage and nurture a love of outdoor play in a natural environment to as many children as possible - the positive feedback we’ve had about our play provision has been truly overwhelming. 

“This sort of play is what children are born to do; they are masters of our slow-paced, investigative and explorative play in a natural setting. 

"The woodland that we have given new life to at Grasshoppers is so beautiful - a huge chestnut tree provides beautiful dappled shade and is the perfect spot for playing in the mud kitchen.”

Susannah Holroyd, director and co-owner, said: “We’re so proud to have a site at Tong Garden Centre and within the already excellent Grasshoppers - creating a love of the great outdoors starts by giving children the chance to enjoy nature in its purest form, allowing them to play and create happy memories will foster a lifelong love and respect for the world we live in.”

Sessions run at Grasshoppers on Wednesdays and Fridays and are suitable for confidently walking children up to the age of seven within term time and children up to the age of 11 in school holidays.