Oxford pupils enjoy farm visit in the Cotswolds countryside

Photo: @ShortTitle@

Thirty pupils from Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford enjoyed a fun day of learning, out of the classroom and in the Cotswolds countryside, as part of an educational initiative in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Organised by Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, the pupils, aged between nine and ten years of age, visited the Old Farm at Dorn, Moreton-in-Marsh to learn about and experience first-hand, life on a traditional farm and find out where much of their food comes from. As part of their visit, the children saw Charollais cattle, chickens and Gloucester Old Spot pigs; they visited a field of wheat crop, identified trees and wildflowers, plus watched a demonstration of sheep shearing.

Following the farm tour, the children were taken to see the Rollright Stones where they learned about the folkore and history surrounding the stones and spent some time sketching.

The farm visit is part of the successful educational project organised by the Voluntary Wardens, the volunteer arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board. The project aims to encourage understanding and awareness of the countryside among school children as well as providing opportunities to interact and connect with their local environment.

Teacher, Nicola Matthews at Rose Hill Primary School said: "Our children come from a variety of backgrounds and few have often had the opportunity to explore the countryside in this way. We were therefore delighted to be able to take part in this programme to help encourage our pupils to learn about farming and gain a fascinating insight into aspects of the countryside that they would not usually see."

Voluntary Warden and co-ordinator of the visit, Gerry Simper, said: “We are always looking for ways for all to appreciate and enjoy the Cotswolds AONB. This project, encouraging children from an urban area, to explore a working farm and many other aspects of the countryside on their doorstep, fitted the bill.”


Notes to editors:

  • Old Farm at Dorn is a 300 acre tenant farm just to the north of Moreton-in-Marsh and forms part of the Batsford Estate.
  • For many children from Rose Hill, this visit was a rare opportunity to experience the countryside and gave them an appreciation of farming, food production as well as protecting wildlife in its natural habitat.
  • In 2010/11, 387 pupils in 13 schools across the Cotswolds AONB took part in a range of outdoor activities with the Voluntary Wardens including nature walks, map reading and fossil hunting.
  • There are 300 active Cotswold Voluntary Wardens who, in 2010/11, dedicated almost 44,000 hours towards helping the Cotswolds Conservation Board conserve, enhance and increase understanding of the Cotswolds AONB.
  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is one of the family of 46 AONBs in the UK. For further details: www.aonb.org.uk.