Year 5 at Greatworth Hall

Year 5 Forest School Visit to Greatworth Hall – Our Partner Farm
4th October 2016

On this bright October morning, Year 5 Forest School pupils visited our Partner Farm Greatworth Hall for the first of four trips that will watch how a farm changes over the seasons. Greatworth Hall is a 500 acre mixed farm that has diversified into other activities. It is home to and run by Stephen and Jane Adkins, Stephen's father Ross, and Nathan and Rosie Jeffries. We are delighted to be partnering with them for a year of exciting adventures offering our pupils the chance to experience a new environment in which they can learn and  thrive. Greatworth Hall state:

‘Our aim on the farm is not to teach children how to be farmers but rather to enthuse their learning and help them to recognise the value and place of their curriculum subjects in real life...’

Arriving at the farm, the children were amazed by the open space – fields, rolling hills and trees. We met Rosie and Jane who made us feel instantly welcome. With the children raring to go but before we started on our day of exploring, the children walked around the farm observing and discussing hazards. They placed a red cone down to mark each of them out – a reminder that the farm was a super place to explore but to stay mindful of any potential dangers. We then walked to the field where the sheep were roaming and Rosie chose a shepherd. The children were then put in charge of herding the sheep – a ‘first’ for them all!

Y5 Greatworth Hall herding sheep

They thrived on this responsibility and were delighted when their herding was a success!

Rosie and Jane demonstrated how they care for their flock. The children learned about the cycle of a sheep’s teeth (two teeth each year) before the children separated the different breeds and counted some sheep back in to the field before herding the other breeds to another field. Excitingly for the pupil, they also met our very own Dashwood Sheep (number 2149), marked with a ‘D’ and aptly named ‘Daisy Dashwood’!

Y5 Greatworth Hall dipping feetDipping our boots to minimise the spread of any disease.

After this, the children walked up to another field used for growing oil seed rape. Their task was to investigate through field work – measuring the perimeter, taking temperatures using a thermometer, sketching the field and navigating it using compass directions. They discussed their findings including soil type and other observations they had made. They learned that the field was a direct-drilled/minimum tillage field as opposed to a ploughed field – this was because findings had proved that seeds grow just as well in non-ploughed fields. Alex (Year 5 pupil) found a worm in the soil and we discussed that these were great for soil as they create a canal system. 

Y5 GH Soil Samples

Pupils also familiarised themselves with our Dashwood Tree. 

y5 GH Dashwood Tree

They observed that at the beginning of autumn the tree was still fully in leaf and that the leaves were green.

Y5 GH Chickens

Just before lunch, after a fun-packed morning of learning using our maths, geography and science skills, we walked back through the chicken area and the vegetable garden. The children dug up potatoes, pulled carrots, saw herbs, leeks, runner beans, pumpkins and aubergines all growing from the ground.

Y5 GH Vegetables

Picking pumpkins, children learned that after lunch they would make their own pumpkin soup – from field to mouth!

Y5 GH PumpkinsFresh from the ground to make a soup perfect for eating!

In the kitchen, the children loved the responsibility of making their own soup from the crops that they hand-picked. They learned to peel, de-seed and chop and the importance of a hygienic and clean working area. We discussed the crop to kitchen idea and reflected back to the oil seed rape field we had investigated earlier as we used the oil to cook our pumpkin.

Y5 GH Oil Seed Rape

Y5 GH Traffic light food labelling

As we prepared our soup, we also discussed the ingredients we were using – the flavours, the nutritional value and the traffic light food labelling system on packaging. 

Y5 GH Evaluation

A truly memorable day was had by all – a day of firsts, exploration and adventure. We used our maths, geography, science and cooking skills and learned so many new things through investigation and discussion. We are all very excited for out next trip to Greatworth Hall in the Winter/Spring to see how the environment has changed with the seasons, to observe our Dashwood tree and to meet ‘Daisy Dashwood’ once again – who knows she may even be getting ready to lamb!

On our return to Dashwood, we discussed the use of crops for fuel v’s crops for food. These were our thoughts on the matter…

Y5 GH Crops for fuel v’s crops for food