Local Students Design Duck-Inspired Exploration Trail

Date Released - 12/07/2022

LOCAL students at Greenside Primary School have been getting all hands on duck in a new, unusual project combining creativity, physical activity and the great outdoors.


As part of a new local pilot programme to increase physical activity across Greater Manchester, the School has received funding from Tameside Council and Action Together to turn a beloved duck-inspired art project into a walking trail.


Tameside Council topped up £500 of funding secured by the School through Action Together as part of the Sport England: Use Your Energy fund, giving the School £780 to deliver the project.


The Friends of Sunnybank Vale also secured additional funding from the Tameside Community Recovery fund to improve the walking paths and increase accessibility on the paths for those using prams, mobility scooters and wheelchairs.


The School has worked with Volunteers from the Friends of Sunny Bank Vale to create a duck-inspired walking trail on a Tameside Council and Landcare Manchester Ltd owned site using students’ designs as guide points. Local children and families are encouraged to head out on self-led walking trails to spot their creations and enjoy the outdoors.


Student Health Visitors have also supported in the project by gathering feedback from local families with young children and working to promote the trail and encourage local families to increase physical activity outdoors. They also consulted with parents with young families to ensure that the trail is accessible for prams.


Ducks are a symbol of good behaviour at the local school. The Head Teacher, Judith Reynolds’, motto is: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck – it must be a duck!”, meaning that if the children’s behaviour and work ethic is good – it makes the whole school good.


In an art project inspired by the motto, every student designed their own duck and were asked to be as creative and as unique as possible, showing that while they are all good, they are also all different and unique in their own way.


Using the funding, the School decided to take their duck project to the next level and create a more permanent installation for the designs.


The duck designs form checkpoints on posts as part of an orienteering map, with each duck having a unique QR code that walkers can scan to learn about the designs, local flora and fauna and access orienteering guidance videos. The organisers also intend to create family friendly events using the duck trail.


Michael Ellis, P.E Lead at Greenside Primary said: “This has been a fantastic project combining creativity with physical activity. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting active, and this project has been a great way to bring us all together and get active in a new way”.


Howard Boots, Chair of The Friends of Sunny Bank Vale said:  "It has been wonderful to see this project flourish from an arts project to a trail on the Vale which will be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.


“It has been a fantastic team effort, encouraged by Tameside Population Health, from the children who created the designs, to Ian Gilliver, a member of Manchester & District Orienteering Club who mapped the trail, members of the Friends Group, in particular Roy Blick who worked with Tameside Engineers Jordon Cavanagh and Ryan Jaffrey to source and install the posts.  All concerned have contributed so much to create something the whole community can enjoy."


Councillor Eleanor Wills, Executive Member for Population Health and Wellbeing said: “This project has been a wonderful collaborative effort from the Council, Action Together, Greenside Primary and the Friends of Sunny Bank Vale. This really shows how working in partnership helps us to create positive outcomes that promote wellness in our community.”


Councillor Leanne Feeley, Executive Member for Education, Achievement and Equalities said: "The project has been a great opportunity for the children to learn, explore their creativity and get active. It is fantastic that the trail will also benefit the wider community for years to come".


The project launched on Tuesday 12 July at an opening event attended by the Mayor who led the walk alongside staff, students and volunteers involved in the project.


If you have an idea for a local project and want to enquire about setting up your own trail, contact Annette on annette.turner@tameside.gov.uk