On Monday 10th June, Overbury played host to a Countryside Learning Estate Day, which was also part of the Open Farm School Days pilot scheme. The mission of Countryside Learning is: ‘to educate, inform and inspire children, parents and teachers, so that they can enjoy and appreciate the countryside while having a greater understanding of the wide range of issues surrounding it.’ We hope that we played some part in that on Monday.
Over 200 school children arrived in the Estate Yard on Monday morning, to spend the day learning from the experts themselves, they were introduced to the daily work of a modern estate, and how what we all do is interwoven with each other and the countryside itself.
Over the course of the day, the children spent time with William Fox from Frontier Agriculture Ltd and Suzanne Marler, learning about what happens next to crops once harvested; with Penelope Bossom and Michelle Boliver, learning about how to enjoy the countryside in a safe, responsible and informed manner; with Martyn Bishop, learning about forestry; with Alan Whitaker, learning about where the wood goes next and his and his son’s joinery work; with Roger Umpelby, learning about flora and fauna and the ‘bug’ kingdom (the squeals of the children were to be heard far and wide!); with Leigh Watts and Steve Marshall, learning about the kitchen garden; with Simon Sweeting, learning about our new herd of Herefords; with Jake Freestone, learning about the machinery and technology we use on the Farms; with Tod Phillips, learning about our flock of sheep (watching sheep being sheared seemed to go down particularly well); and Paul Gillett, learning about the game keeping and vermin control on the Estate. What a full day!
When we asked the children what they enjoyed best about the day, the answers came thick and fast. One child wrote in a thank you letter ‘I’ve had a really good day today and that is because of you and nature.’ If Overbury Estate & Farms has contributed even a tiny bit to the excellent and important work done by Countryside Learning and Open Farm School Days, has given these children on Monday any fresh perspective or knowledge about what it is to live in or near the countryside, and work on modern estates and farms, then we will be very glad. Thank you to everyone who played a part, great or small, it was a big day, and a wonderful day, for several hundred reasons.