My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Montgomery entrepreneur helps families get back to nature

Montgomery entrepreneur Fran Louise has her mum to thank for her passion for nature and the great outdoors. She finds the natural environment keeps her mentally and physically fit and delights in the wonderful landscapes of the Welsh borders.

Fran, 28, always knew she was not destined to work indoors and with her new venture, the Woodland Pack company, she’s found a way to marry her love of nature, her experience as a teaching assistant and her skills as a Montgomery Walking Group walk leader together.

Fran got the idea for developing Woodland Pack through her involvement with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and her work with the Bushcraft company. Both deliver outdoor sessions to students and clients.

After researching woodland creativity opportunities for families and children in the region, she spotted an opportunity to create an outdoor business with a unique, bespoke offering in Montgomeryshire.

She is passionate about sharing the freedom and creativity that the outdoor environment offers. Having trained as a Level 3 Forest School leader with Rooted Forest Schools, Fran enables her students to reconnect with their senses and experience nature through sight, touch, smell, sound and taste. When they step away from their smartphones and games consoles, they discover that being outdoors is great fun too!

“A Woodland Pack adventure allows children of all ages to explore the outdoors freely in a safe environment,” said Fran. “By tapping into the primitive DNA that we all have, they become creative with the natural materials available, discover that the hands and mind are tools to make things happen, make and cook on campfires, build dens, forage for wild foods and work together as a group.

“Everything we do can be adapted and structured to suit adults too. I have had great pleasure in watching adults engage in whittling activities and seeing the therapeutic outcome. Nature is a wonderful teacher, helping to build the self-confidence and sense of wellbeing we all deserve.”

Thanks to initial funding from the Powys Community Endowment Fund, Fran was able to set up her business while still working full-time. Her biggest challenge though is to secure access to suitable woodland.

Powys Estates has kindly agreed for her to use some woodland on an ad hoc basis, but she is seeking a permanent site to run her ‘stay and play’ Forest School sessions.

So far, she’s delivered a bushcraft session to Montgomery Girl Guides, provided childcare fun for a wedding at Walcott Hall and delivered activities to families with disabilities taking Dal-Dy-Dir therapeutic holiday breaks in the Vale of Montgomery, all of which have developed her outdoor delivery skills and her vision for the business.

She’s now planning to launch a half-term holiday club for children aged six to 11 in October.

Fran’s Woodland Pack adventures have plenty of appeal for tribe birthdays, activity days, festivals and even wedding childcare. She can be contacted by email, [email protected], by telephone on 07792 721888 or on Facebook @ woodlandpackcompany