"Forest gardens" will be created in Norfolk schools to help students learn about woodland ecology and biodiversity - while also growing sustainable food.

The new initiative has been developed by the Gressenhall Environment Hub, the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Trust, horticultural expert Nik Thomson and the Food and Farming Discovery Trust.

It aims to enable schools to utilise their available land to create "a more sustainable, biodiverse space, which can also yield food."

Children will be taught how to create canopies of fruit and nut trees as well as climbing plants, shrubs, herbs and perennial vegetables.

The first sessions took place at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse using the Food and Farming Discovery Trust’s mobile classroom.

Students learned about the composition of forest gardens and woodland ecology, and about the types of invertebrates found in different habitats.

Follow up sessions will be conducted in schools, helping students and teachers to survey their school grounds for existing plants, create school herbariums, and to select a space to design and create their own forest garden.

Dr Shannon Woodhouse, manager of the Food and Farming Discovery Trust, said: "Spaces like these are extremely important, both for the environmental benefits and for promoting the wellbeing of our children and young people.

"As climate anxiety amongst children and young people is on the rise, we hope that that this project will equip students with some of the knowledge and tools they need to make a positive impact in their local area.”

The Forest Gardens for Schools project is part of Norfolk’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and has been funded by the John Innes Foundation.

In this pilot year, Swanton Morley Primary School and St Mary’s Community Primary School in Beetley are taking part.

Dr Jenni Rant, from the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Trust, said: “Working with nature to improve outdoor spaces can provide excellent learning opportunities for young people and helps them connect with their environment.

"We are delighted to be working on this project and hope that schools will see a positive and sustainable transformation of their green spaces that the children will be keen to nurture."