Two Rivers pupils walk and wheel for cleaner air

PUPILS and families from Two Rivers Church of England Primary School have joined forces with sustainable travel groups and Waitrose supermarket to support the journey toward net zero and ease traffic congestion in the Keynsham area. 

The children from Keynsham’s newest primary school recently took part in a national scheme run by charity group Sustrans, which works with communities to promote walking, wheeling and cycling to create healthier places and happier lives.

The Big Walk and Wheel campaign has seen families form a partnership with their local Waitrose store in order to complete their journeys to school on foot or by cycling and scooting. 

Store manager Daniel Knibb was keen to contribute, saying: “We want to be a good neighbour and support our local school as well as the residents of Keynsham.”

Headteacher Matt Filer has been thrilled with the outcome.

“Our pupils are passionate about the environment, and sustainability is a key focus for us as a school. We were able to double the number of active journeys to school as a result of this campaign, which is a terrific achievement.” 

The pupil-led initiative is welcome news for resident of the new Hygge Park development, which has the school at its heart. 

A spokesperson for the residents’ association said:“It’s inspiring to see the Hygge Park community coming together to support yet another travel initiative.

“The school have previously provided a venue for our travel plan coordinator to host sustainable and active travel events, and we look forward to further partnerships.

“Hopefully we can secure support in future from local government and agencies to make sustainable travel even easier and safer for everyone.”

Local campaigners Keynsham Active Travel Group hope this will be the start of a successful drive to sustain active travel in the area, and plans are under way for a joint campaign with residents and school leaders for improved road crossings and pedestrian and cycle links around the Broadmead roundabout. 

Maya Stratton-Brook, parent and Keynsham Active Travel member, said: “It’s been wonderful seeing the bike shed fill up with not only the usual bikes and scooters but skateboards and roller skates too.

“Travelling actively to school is a great way to start your day, having positive benefits on mental and physical health as well as contributing to a reduction in air pollution around the school site.”

Pupils at Two Rivers are certainly keen to maintain their active travel aspirations.

Esme and Darcy, two Year 3 eco-warriors, were clear about their views.

“We all need to reduce pollution from cars – I walk or scoot all the way to school,” enthused Darcy.

“It’s great exercise too, which makes us fit and healthy, and we feel ready for the school day when we arrive,” added Esme.

Year 3 pupil Evelyn summed up the determination of the young activists at Two Rivers: “No more excuses! Clean air is important to us all, as well as other species such as pollinators.”