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Willow Den - Inspiring Scotland

Willow Den

About Willow Den

Willow Den is a trading subsidiary of Inspiring Scotland established in 2020. 

Willow Den Scotland is a fully outdoor, nature-based early learning and childcare (ELC) organisation with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland through access to fully outdoor Early Learning and Childcare. 

Willow Den will create outdoor nurseries across Scotland for children aged 3 years to school age.  In 2021 the first outdoor nursery opened at Edinburgh Spartans Community Football Academy with the second site at the Falkirk Wheel.  

Inspiring Scotland's Role

Since 2009 Inspiring Scotland has been driving forward a cultural change and raising awareness of why outdoor play and learning is vital for children’s health, wellbeing and development. 

We identified there was a gap in the availability of high-quality outdoor nursery provision in Scotland and were ambitious to create a bold and sustainable business model to progress this and at scale.

Willow Den was founded so that more children in Scotland can play and learn outdoors to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland.

Inspiring Scotland is a founding signatory of the National Position Statement on Outdoor Play and Learning which is a bold commitment to working together to embed playing and learning outdoors as an everyday activity and a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland. 

Thrive Outdoors role

In addition to Willow Den, Inspiring Scotland continues to support communities, charities, schools, outdoor organisations and public bodies to support collaboration, innovation and development in outdoor play and learning, sharing best practice and supporting research to promote better understanding of the importance of outdoor play. 

Outdoor play is a life-enhancing experience and together we want all of Scotland’s children to thrive outdoors. 

Learn more about Thrive Outdoors

Growing a movement

Willow Den creates opportunities for more children in Scotland to attend an outdoor nursery so that children can play and learn near to where they live, developing a real sense of ‘place.’

There are 31 outdoor settings in Scotland compared 2,500 nurseries in total (1.2%).

Willow Den aims to expand to eight nurseries by 2026, delivering services for up to 200 children and creating 30 new jobs.

Find out what children themselves think about outdoor nurseries below. 

Watch our video

Contact us

Keep up to date with all Willow Den updates via their blog or follow them on Twitter @WillowDenScot.

For all enquiries about Willow Den please email

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We work with experts from the voluntary, public, private and academic sectors. Get in touch if you want to help us build a better Scotland.

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