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Our Story

How it all began...

Back in 2016, when our biggest kids were tiny, there was a group of local Hertfordshire parents who were keen to set up an outdoor playgroup.  Rebecca had already had the idea of a children's book-themed playgroup in the woods, but it wasn't until she met Anna at her children's Signing Class, that she was introduced to other parents who were excited to start something new, but needed someone to lead it.  

Before motherhood took over, Rebecca had been teaching English & Drama in schools and was keen to share her love  of stories and nature.  As a mother of three, she knew that her children weren't the only ones who were at their happiest when outdoors, in nature with lots of space and freedom to explore and play.  Happy kids.  Happy parents.  

The first playgroup was held in the spring of 2017 and quickly attracted a regular community of local families, who enjoyed coming together at the end of the week.  An offer of hot drinks, baked goods, a different children's story and plenty of nature play became the usual offering and these simple yet joyous staples have remained ever since. 

As the playgroup grew in popularity, a committee was formed to create Team Books in the Woods: an unincorporated institution led by parent-volunteers, with regular meetings, an AGM and a constitution.  Rebecca became the Chair, Simon the Secretary and Victoria- now Anna- became our Treasurer.

Up until 2020, Books in the Woods continued to meet every Friday, welcoming every family with young children and opened up sessions to older siblings through the school holidays.  When it got too cold, the regular playgroup sessions changed into 'Winter Walks': an informal open invitation to families who might want to come together to wander along the meadow path and end at the play area/cafe.

Like all other groups, we had to take a break through the early Covid days, but still continued to share stories and nature-based activity ideas with our online community, with kind permission from book publishers in advance. 

It was during the summer of 2020, and the inspiring waves of Black Lives Matter protests that we began to audit all our back catalogue of stories and were shocked to discover that none of our books were by authors of BAME identity.  Since then, we have made significant changes to address this imbalance and invested time, energy and money to move towards becoming an Anti-Racist Playgroup.  

By Spring 2021, the NT were happy for us to resume our meetings, ensuring that our risk assessments and Covid-19 Policy were regularly updated and in line with latest Government rules. 

From Spring 2022, we relaunched our playgroup again and are excited to return again in Spring 2023, now in our seventh year!


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