YOUNG explorers who go down to the woods of Gourock have been uncovering big surprises as part of a fun educational outdoor project run by Binnie Street Children’s Centre.

As autumn transforms the landscape and trees shed their leaves the youngsters are busy plotting their way around Darroch Park.

They are learning about its colourful history and taking time to appreciate the changing of the seasons.

Fiona Bain of the children’s centre said: “While in the park the children are developing an appreciation of nature and the outdoor environment, with many of them highlighting the amount of litter on the street and in the park, and this introduces them to the topics of recycling and sustainability.”

The youngsters have also learned the legend of 18th century local historical figure Duncan Darroch who, as the story goes, was chased from the garden of Gourock House for pinching apples as a boy and vowed at the time to return and buy the estate.

He went on to make his fortune in the West Indies before returning to his beloved home town and acquiring the Barony of Gourock in 1874.

Fiona said: “The woodland programme grew from the children’s interest in their local outdoor environment.

“We felt it provided an excellent opportunity to develop their knowledge of the local community and environment, so the woodland programme was born.”

Fiona says local councillors Ronnie Ahlfeld and Lynne Quinn, as well as the Gourock Heritage Centre, have provided ‘invaluable help’ in developing the outdoor initiative.

She said: “The staff in the park have been so welcoming and have taken time to engage with the children, chatting to them about the animals and what is happening in the park.”