More than a thousand children will swap their classroom for the countryside to learn a range of outdoor skills as the Englefield Estate hosts the 25th anniversary of a very special, two-day event.
Sustainability is at the heart of the ever-popular School Days event, where lessons in farming, forestry and conservation will be on offer - part of the Estate’s commitment to community engagement and encouraging greater connectivity with nature and the environment.
Inspired by Sir William Benyon - the father of current estate owner Richard Benyon - the first Countryside Days for Schools in 1997 was attended by 315 children from five Berkshire schools.
Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and this year, the Estate is delighted to be welcoming more than 1,500 youngsters from 34 primary schools across the county on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June.
Over the two days, there will be a range of informative displays and interactive demonstrations led by Estate staff and local organisations – and it’s all free of charge!
The Englefield Estate has been a key supporter of the community for hundreds of years and recognises the importance of collaborating with the individuals and organisations within it. Dr Liz Mattison, Education and Environment Officer, said the School Days event is a key element of that ongoing engagement process.
“Sir William had a vision of giving young people the chance to share in his passion for the countryside and discover why it is such a great place to live, work and enjoy, and we’re pleased to be continuing his legacy 25 years on.
“It’s important for us to help children learn about the Estate, its history and activities, as well as the rural skills required to make it tick. It is also about stressing how important it is for everyone to play their part in protecting the future of our planet.
“In the way mighty oaks from little acorns grow, the School Days event has continued to flourish over the past quarter of a century, and we hope this year’s young visitors will have both a thoroughly informative and enjoyable time.”
Covering key topics including farming, habitats and wildlife, community, health and wellbeing, renewable energy, water quality and history, the grounds of Englefield House, the deer park and the village will become an outdoor classroom designed to engage and inform the children.
Estate staff are joined by organisations and volunteers such as Action for the River Kennet, Butterfly Conservation, Thames Water, and the National Gamekeepers Organisation Educational Trust, providing children with a huge range of expertise in one location.