Englefield Estate once again opened its gates to 3000 primary school children from 51 schools in Berkshire for the annual Countryside Days for Schools.
The two-day event offered local schoolchildren lessons in farming, horticulture and forestry, and a variety of stands provided topical based learning, informative displays and interactive demonstrations.
The event aims to engage young minds in areas such as arable, meat and dairy farming, horticulture, building and construction, and forestry management, as well as demonstrating best practice in caring for natural and built environments.
Englefield Estate manages a diverse range of land and property and is committed to doing so sustainably, caring for buildings, woodlands and local environment with a long-term view in mind. A key focus is to enhance wildlife habitats and support sustainable food production, and The Estate believes it is important this ethos is passed onto the next generation.
Richard Benyon, Chairman of Englefield Estates, explained: “At the heart of Schools Days is giving children chance to explore how the countryside works and how it is managed, something which has enduring importance. We want to complement what they are doing in the classroom and inspire a passion and care for the natural world.
“The Schools Days began over 20 years ago and year-on-year we have remained true to its original aim, whilst expanding the variety of activities on offer. We welcomed more students than ever before this year and it was fantastic to see them so enthusiastic and engaged.”
The first Schools Days in 1997 hosted 315 children from five schools in Berkshire; the number of attendees has increased almost tenfold since the first event.
Estate staff past and present, as well as local volunteers, became the teachers, leading activities that took students across the Estate, from the Estate Yard, to the woodland, to Englefield House.
This year’s event took place on Wednesday, June 12th and Thursday, June 13th, managed by Tina Haynes, a teacher currently teaching at a Newbury secondary school for the deaf.
Tina said: “The Englefield Estate is an ideal base for children to learn about the great outdoors and to gain a real insight into what a country estate is and how it fits into life today. Each year, Schools Days brings a new challenge and opens new windows of interest which we hope will continue to fascinate and inspire teachers and pupils alike.
“Apart from the obvious educational benefits of the days, we also want the children to see the benefit in helping one another, and building and cooperating within a team.”