Our Background & Ethos

NatureEd was set up in April 2013 to continue and develop the environmental education provision in Rochdale which had previously been delivered through the Countryside Ranger Service. Increasing budgetary and staffing constraints had severely impacted the council-run service. Drawing on their ranger expertise, Judy Alderson and Jude Murray co-founded NatureEd to provide an alternative mechanism of delivery. Initially running as an unincorporated association, NatureEd was able to offer a better service whilst retaining the strong social values of the council.

NatureEd has gone from strength to strength with new members and volunteers who have joined the team. NatureEd Community Interest Company was formally registered in June 2015. As a CIC Limited by Guarantee Schedule 1 Small Membership, we are not-for-profit and have an asset lock. More details can be found in our NatureEd CIC Terms of Operation Summary and last years Annual Review

Meet the Team

Currently, there are 4 Directors and a network of facilitators who deliver activities on behalf of the NatureEd CIC.


Jude Murray (Director & freelance facilitator)

A Zoology graduate and more recently qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner, I began teaching practical conservation skills with BTCV before working as a Ranger at Hollingworth Lake. With over 20 years experience of delivering fun and creative activities to all ages, becoming a freelance facilitator gave me the freedom and scope to develop more opportunities. I continue to work both as a facilitator from NatureEd in Rochdale and also as a sessional tutor in Oldham.
Helping others to enjoy nature and the outdoors is hugely rewarding. It has been really exciting setting up NatureEd CIC and I’m delighted to carry on taking the organisation forward in my role as Director.

Judy Alderson (Director & freelance facilitator)

Co founder and director of NatureEd CIC and working as a Countryside Ranger since 2002.  I qualified as a Forest School Level 3 practitioner in 2009 and since then have been running various prgrammes from Early Years to Year 6.
NatureEd was founded to develop the education programme previously run by the Ranger Service. Having a background in conservation and community engagement,  taking care of the countryside and woodlands is at the heart of my core principles.
I am passionate about making education fun and interesting, for children to learn through nature by providing outdoor experiences and interactive hands on workshops in a relaxing and stress free environment.


Eleanor Sherwin (Director)

I have always had an interest in the outdoors and the countryside, which developed into a degree in Agriculture. Although many years ago, this gave a good basic knowledge of plant and animal life. My career path from then on went towards conservation and environmental education with time spent at the, then, innovative Warrington New Town Parks, The Mersey River Valley in Manchester, and many years at Hollingworth Lake Country Park in Rochdale. At Hollingworth Lake my role was initially with public engagement including guided walks, events, developing the school visit programme and environmental club. I went on to a more senior role and have recently retired but continue my interest and involvement in the local environment through NatureEd.


Murray Chalmers (Director)

Originally from Galloway in wild south west Scotland, I’ve lived, worked and pottered about in the South Pennines for almost 20 years. With a background in Rangering and Town planning, I spent time as a Community Development Officer with both Groundwork and Rochdale Council, where I met and worked with Jude and Judy. I survived a brief stint running a café in Halifax, and found a natural home with the National Trust, as Facilities Coordinator at Hardcastle Crags. Tinkering with hydro electric turbines, biomass boilers and compost toilets has kept me going for almost twelve years, nine of them living at Gibson Mill in the middle of the woods. We – my partner, 17 year old son and the cat now live in Hebden Bridge. Although work is good, I’d much rather be mountain biking, swimming in muddy ponds or wandering about on the moors!

Lianne Lees (Freelance facilitator)

I have had a varied career with many years in child education working within local schools, scout groups and having run my own successful childminding business which was rated “Outstanding” by OFSTED.
I have a passion for the outdoors and the countryside, in 2004 qualifying as a Nursery practitioner. In 2018 I began my training as a Forest School leader and am absolutely passionate about the benefits of Forest School, both for the young people involved and for the future of the woodland environment.
I enjoy all aspects of nature which has inspired me to study, and obtain a national diploma in Horticulture, and now  growing my own fruit and vegetables.

 Laura Vayro (Freelance facilitator)

(Freelance facilitator)I have a varied work background over the last 17 years of working in the outdoor environment. Originally working with young people through the Princes’ Trust team at Groundwork, I then spent ten years in Local Authority countryside land management, public & community liaison, staff and volunteer management & working with schools, before taking the step in 2012 to working independently.
With extensive experience of working with children and young people to engage with and learn about the outdoor environment through a variety of means – orienteering, walking, outdoor learning and Forest School – I am dedicated and passionate about offering a variety of outdoor experiences. Having practiced and led Forest School sessions over the last four years I am committed to exploring its benefits for children and young people of all ages and needs.



Where we work

From our base at Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre near Littleborough, we deliver activities in the Country Park and at other countryside sites and parks across the Borough of Rochdale. Sites include Healey Dell Nature Reserve, Barkers Woods and Queens, Broadfield, Balderstone, Harehill, Milnrow & Jubilee Park to name just a few …

We have developed some activities which are specific to Rochdale Parks including Balderstone, Broadfield, Hare Hill & Queens Park.  These sessions are labelled NatureEd@Parks

Helping you enjoy the environment near you is really important to us so some of the activities  can be brought out to your school or local green space these are labelled NatureEd@School.  We bring all our equipment and expertise to you making the most of your outdoor space and saving on your coach costs too.

How to book

  1. Decide what activities you would like and preferred dates and contact NatureEd CIC by email to info@NatureEd.co.uk. The information you need includes:

  • Your email and telephone contact details

  • School/ group name, address, postcode

  • Age & number of young people

  • Number of adults

  • Arrival / departure times

  • What are the aims of your proposed visit / project and the activities you would like to do

  • Whether you have anyone with special needs we need to be aware of

  1. We will follow up your enquiry either by email or phone and / or send a booking form. Please note, we are often out on site during the day so will aim to respond to email enquiries within 48 hours.

  2. Once the details have been agreed, we will send a confirmation summary together with any other information you may need. NatureEd CIC has full public & employee liability insurance cover and generic risk assessments for all our led activities. Copies are available on request.