Year 3 are studying land use in the UK as part of their Humanities topic this term. The children have been looking at the features of rural and urban areas,  specifically how land is used in different ways on a farm. As part of this topic they recently travelled to Notgrove Farm on the outskirts of Cheltenham.

On arrival the children were greeted by a peacock cawing on a low, flat roof.  He then gave the most beautiful display opening his tail for everyone to see. The famer, Harry, kindly gave the children two feathers he had sharpened into a quill for them to try writing with. The children then explored the farm, walking from one field to the next feeding a variety of animals including; lambs, sheep, horses, alpacas, pigs, goats and donkeys. For many this was the first time they had been up close to these animals.

Pupil Lilou Reaux said,  “The alpacas were nervous but once they had eaten some food from my hand they kind of kissed me on the cheek.” 

One of the highlights of the day was a tractor trailer ride across the fields with the famer who, whilst bumping along, explaining what they grow (wheat and barley) and how these crops are used once they leave the farm. The children then learnt a little about the history of the farm, that it has stayed the same size since 1066, where it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Each field is named and when everyone arrived at ‘Clay Field’ there was the opportunity to stop and look for fossils. It was very stony and as the children turned over stones they found fossilised shells, crustaceans, coral and even, what was believed to be, a genuine dinosaur bone!

“The fossil hunt was amazing and Harry told us that what we had found were a billion years old, which was so cool!” explained pupil, Ying-Tai Yilmaz.

In one of the outbuildings the farm had a wood-chipping machine which was attached to the back of the tractor. Harry explained how they heat all the houses on the estate using wood chips, which come from the trees that are grown at Notgrove.  Everyone watched as the chipper chomped through large trees, spitting out wood chips onto a huge pile.

Teacher, Louise Hunt said, “The whole day was spent outside and the children had a fabulous time. They were able to see, first-hand, a wide range of jobs that need to be done on a large mixed farm and Harry encouraged them to think about sustainability and caring for the environment.”  

Notgrove Farm is owned by a former DCS family whose three children boarded at the Prep School. The farm is not open to the public, so this was a really special opportunity for both children and the staff, for which everyone was really grateful. A very big thank you to the Aclands.