Learning in Local Greenspace

Have you discovered the learning potential in your local greenspace?


Learning in a local greenspace just a short walk from your school opens up so many learning opportunities and gives pupils and teachers fresh air and space in these days of social distancing.

We have developed two resources to help you identify, access and use nearby greenspace for learning.

The Greenspace Map for Outdoor Learning is an interactive web mapping tool to help you find local greenspaces that may provide outdoor learning opportunities.

Beyond your boundary: easy steps to learning in local greenspace will help you identify, access and use nearby greenspace for learning.  It is for educators in all schools working in all subjects and with pupils at all stages.   

It will help you to use and improve your local greenspaces and embed outdoor learning in your school curriculum. It also contains links to research highlighting the benefits of learning in local greenspace.

The online resource includes a Learning in local greenspace questionnaire and template to help you develop your action plan. There is also a greenspace audit to help you assess a site's potential for outdoor learning.

Children running over wooden walkway in forest. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Why is learning in a local greenspace so important?

To find out why Scotland’s education policy recognises the value of engaging with greenspace and what research says about learning in local greenspace see the ‘More Information’ section of Beyond your Boundary.

Here are some quotes from teachers, parents and pupils that have participated in the Learning in Local Greenspace project:

“The depth of learning outdoors was much greater as it was delivered in context and became a much richer learning opportunity, with natural, familiar objects.”
Teacher, South Lanarkshire.

“I felt calm and relaxed in nature, listening to the birds.”
Pupil, Warout Primary.

“I love these outdoor adventures and learning about all the plants and animals, It’s our job to look after them.”
Pupil, Warout Primary.

“…concentration levels better in class immediately following woods, as if she was able to use all her energy at Forest School and then return to class and concentrate on her lessons.”
Teacher, Beckford Primary.

“The children all (at one time or another) began to ask more questions – they had a heightened sense of wonder, asking and wanting to know more about the names of flowers, bugs, trees etc. They tried to match leaves to trees, and considered shapes, colour and so on. They were all fascinated when they saw thousands of fern spores floating through the air, wondering what kind of magic it could be.”
Teacher, South Lanarkshire.

“He sleeps much better after he’s been outside…..and so do I!”
Parent of pupil, Highland.

School children on a ranger led nature walk near Carmunnock cemetery, Glasgow as part of biodiversity week.
The Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund (Click for a full description)

Funding awarded to 23 projects with the aim of supporting young people to have regular, frequent, structured and progressive outdoor learning experiences.

The Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund has now closed.

The Learning in Local Greenspace project

Learning in Local Greenspace was a priority project in the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Route Map that ended in December 2020. We are currently evaluating the project and will report on it in the spring. The aim of the project was to get pupils learning in the outdoors on a regular basis. It involved 115 schools serving some of the most disadvantaged areas in Scotland across 12 local authorities.

Whilst NatureScot managed the project, we worked with environmental organisations and local authorities across Scotland to deliver it. The key to its success has been the collaboration between partners to provide sustained support tailored to the needs of the individual schools. By supporting schools over a period of time to help build confidence in teachers to take learning out into a local greenspace, we hoped to embed outdoor learning at the schools well beyond the life of the project.

Project legacy

It is anticipated that the project will encourage lasting change in the schools that have taken part. However, it is also anticipated that the key resources produced to support the project will also be useful and inspiring for other schools well beyond the end of the project:

Other resources to support outdoor learning

The Outdoor Learning Directory offers lots of inspiration for learning in your local greenspace.

Citizen science also offers many opportunities to help support and enhance outdoor learning.

Camera traps are a great tool for engaging children in learning about nature and can provide a huge range of learning opportunities. See our schools camera trapping project page for further inspiration.


Please contact the project team at NatureScot for more information on this project:

Sue Munro, Project Manager for LiLG Project (Policy and advice, Greenspace)
Email: sue.munro@nature.scot

Sharon Cunningham (Policy and advice, Outdoor learning)
Email: sharon.cunningham@nature.scot

Penny Martin (Policy and advice, Outdoor learning)
Email: penny.martin@nature.scot

Find out more

Learning in Local Greenspace project downloads

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