A talented illustrator from North Tyneside, who acts as custodian of an ancient woodland in Northumberland, has created a new children’s book, What The Oak Tree Sees, to help share her experiences in helping children connect with nature and their environment, thanks to help from the North Tyneside Business Factory.
Abbey Scott and Richard Brink, from Whitley Bay, purchased the small woodland in Northumberland in 2019 with a goal to conserve the land and allow their two children space to enjoy and appreciate the untouched, natural environment.
After many years of neglect, the ancient woodland was put up for sale with a view to finding a custodian with a responsibility to protect the delicate balance of plant life and wildlife. The family have now joined a growing number of individuals purchasing small woodlands for conservation purposes to help protect the natural environment.
Enthused by their children’s love of the woodland, Abbey and Richard developed What The Oak Tree Sees as a poetic introduction to the most loved woodland wildlife in what will be the first in a series of Hiddel Brock Wood books. Set within a woodland glade, which was directly inspired by their own woodland, readers are led by an old oak tree to follow animal tracks and discover what animals do when people are not around.
With Abbey’s classic hand-drawn illustrations, the book is full of treasures to discover and offers perfect material for younger children as well as early readers to enjoy.
Abbey comments: “What The Oak Tree Sees is a story that helps to subtly reinforce the importance of respecting our natural environment. It encourages readers to leave no trace other than their footprints, whilst also teaching children to recognise classic woodland animal tracks.
“Nothing is more wondrous than nature and we purchased our own ancient woodland to not only protect a piece of woodland but give our children the opportunity to enrich their lives with nature in a space that we, as a family, are responsible for. As well as regular visits to gently manage the woodland for conservation and wildlife protection, we teach our children that the woodland is very sensitive to footfall and try to show the impact that people have on the land.”
Abbey’s mission is to share with children a love of books and a love of nature; things she considers key to a life of wonder. As well as working on the next book in The World of Hiddel Brock Wood series, and continuing her work as an artist, Abbey has developed a range of sustainable and unique nature education and play resources with a wider application in forest school settings or classroom teaching.
Abbey continues: “Protecting our woodlands and the wider natural environment for future generations of wildlife and people is at the heart of Hiddel Brock Wood. A percentage of our revenues will be donated to British Wildlife charities and we work with Family Gateway, a local charity whose aim is to improve life chances for children and families, to help get more books in the hands of disadvantaged children.
“What The Oak Tree Sees is available to purchase online but also stocked in local outlets, including Forum Books in Corbridge and the bound in Whitley Bay. Our hope is that readers will enjoy their foray into the woods as much as I enjoyed creating it as we continue to share our love of nature with a growing audience.”
Abbey worked with the team at the North Tyneside Business Factory, the business support programme from North Tyneside Council which is supported by the ERDF and delivered by TEDCO Business Support. Thanks to the assistance from her personal business advisor, Paul Brown, Abbey was able to access the enterprise support she needed from the Business Factory to run through every aspect of creating a successful business.
Paul Brown, business advisor with the North Tyneside Business Factory comments: “Abbey was clear from the outset on the type of business she wanted to create and how she wanted to reach her market. Where I was able to offer support was in the business aspects. For example, how HMRC works for self-employed individuals, marketing and promotional ideas and developing contacts in the education and library networks to help support the business. The world that Abbey has created is just wonderful and I can’t wait to see where she will take the business into the future.”
For more information on the services available through the North Tyneside Business Factory, please contact (0191) 605 3110 or visit www.businessfactorynt.co.uk