Volunteers from 9 different organisations (The National Gamekeepers' Organisation, Ryevitalise, the Howardian Hills AONB, NFU, Mount St John Sporting, Bragg Farm, Wandles Farm and the National Birds of Prey Centre) came together at Duncombe Park over two days, to educate over 300 children from 7 primary schools about aspects of the countryside.

The children took part in a carousel of activities including learning about dairy farming, sheep husbandry and welfare, the countryside code, the natural world on our doorstep, British food and farming and the invertebrates in the River Rye. The NGO stand focused on working dogs, with our representative teaching children about the countryside code and predation (hence the ferret!). 

The day was generously hosted by the Hon. Jake Duncombe and organised by Countryside Learning, a national charity who facilitate visits like this one all over the country.
Anna Hare, Education Officer from Countryside Learning, remarked that, “Demand for visits like this has never been higher, teachers always tell us that children are just not exposed to the countryside anymore, and days like this are invaluable’. Anna went on to say that, “The days would not be possible without the generosity of the land owners and the volunteers who give up their time to run the activities, and as a charity with limited funding, their contribution is essential to what we do.”

Duncombe Park, in conjunction with Countryside Learning, have been hosting days like this since 2017 and days are always fully booked. This year the aim was to make the days more about the Estate and the children were taught about the importance of farming on a country estate and also about how Duncombe Park is managed sustainably for conservation and wildlife. James, the Estate Manager, explained how the Estate felt it was part of their social responsibility to educate young people and perhaps the next generation of countryside workers will be inspired.

Sally Potter, a local dairy farmer explained how whilst she and her husband Andrew were nervous about the prospect of being faced with 300 children they thoroughly enjoyed the days and found it immensely rewarding and the rain held off!

 

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