There's nothing quite like getting outside and enjoying the first signs of spring, as youngsters from Brooklands Community Special School found out, with some help from some very special animals. Lesley Tate reports.

YOUNGSTERS at Brooklands Community Special School in Skipton enjoyed finding out about animals and the outdoors at a Springwatch event.

Sheep, a goat, and some dogs from the HART therapy sanctuary in Hawkswick came along for the day, and there was also help from the Woodland Trust and the national park.

The school, which has 58 children on its roll with a range of needs, from profound and multiple learning difficulties, to autistic spectrum disorder, wanted to show its pupils how to look out for signs of spring.

And rather than staying in the classrooms, they went outside to see how the environment changed from winter to spring.

Activities included making clay casts of sticks, making scarecrows and weaving with twigs. They also rolled eggs through tubes, and collected wild flowers, twigs and leaves.

And one of the most popular of all, they were able to toast delicious marshmallows at a fire pit.

Headteacher, Fran Cracknell, said: "Spring Watch was a fantastic success. Our staff worked really hard to ensure our children and young people had a range of meaningful activities to explore and experience whilst having fun. We are grateful to HART Animal Therapy for bringing the smallest sheep in the world, a goat and their lovely dogs along. We would also like to thank Woodland Trust and National Parks for sharing their fire pit, and allowing us to toast marshmallows and heat our drinks using Kelly Kettles. Brooklands School’s outdoor space is outstanding, and it was great to see it being used to its full potential."