Counting rabbits, navigating a maze and building a den were all part of a day of fun, fresh air and adventure enjoyed by a group of pupils from North Yorkshire.
School: St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
Subjects: History, Science & English
Number of pupils: 28
It was the fourth time St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School had organised a trip to Studfold Walks and Trails which is situated in Nidderdale’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire. The land has been looked after by the same family for more than 16 generations and today it offers a unique setting for educational trips.
Studfold’s Adventure Nature Trail has been designed specifically for primary and pre-school aged children who can learn and discover while meandering safely through beautiful Nidderdale countryside and then explore a magical woodland environment - after first discovering the code to enter the wood!
Explaining why St Cuthbert’s returns to the attraction with groups ranging from Year 1 to 6, higher level teachers’ assistant Julia Hardcastle said: “Studfold offers the option of full or half-day trips which is really useful depending on the age of the children. Anne Challis and Ian Walker who co-run the attraction are very flexible to work with. We can arrange arrival and departure times to suit and because they are both former teachers they understand what’s required and how the children can make the most of their time at Studfold. They are also great at communicating with us during the planning part of the trip.”
The adventure trail encourages children to become successful learners through a diverse range of interactive activities, for both groups and individuals. There are three clue sheets for different age groups; pre-school, five to eight, and eight to 11, plus a general activity exploring sheet.
Julia said the breadth of experiences available covered a wide range of curricular learning including local history and archeology, science, English reading and comprehension, personal development, challenge and teamwork.
“Our most recent trip included an element of archaeology with the pupils splitting into two groups. Whilst one group went outside to see what finds they could discover, the other group took part in table-based activities in the play barn, such as investigating what could be discovered from finding a piece of pottery. Although the weather was damp and misty the children were fully engaged in both sessions and learned a great deal.
“Following a packed lunch, which had kindly been transported to the play barn, we returned to the camping shelter to receive the nature trail leaflet and quiz from Ian. We split into four groups and made it into a team challenge. The winning team was the one to have answered the most questions correctly as well as having discovered and counted the correct number of rabbits! The competitive element certainly focused the groups as they worked together to solve the puzzles. The children read the information boards to extract the information they needed to answer the quiz questions which was a great comprehension exercise.”
Speaking about the benefits of Studfold from an educational perspective Julia said: “The children have the opportunity to learn independently through discovery, rather than the learning being teacher led. The teamwork and practical elements such as the den building allowed the different strengths of the children to shine through.”
She said the children particularly loved the fresh air and feeling the freedom of being outdoors, with the opportunity to run on to the next challenge.
“Throughout the trail the children were able to move through the activities at their own speed. They particularly enjoyed the maze in the wild flower meadow, activities in the bird hide and a couple of groups challenged each other to see who could build the best den.”
Summing up the success of the day Julia said: “Studfold is a great trip for any age of primary children particularly as there are differentiated clue sheets according to age. It’s educational, enjoyable for staff and children alike, and safe. It’s also stress free, particularly if you are the only group on the trail. You leave with tired happy children glowing from a day in the fresh air.”
Back in the classroom
The visit inspired a wide range of activities once the children were back at school.
“They wrote thank you letters and chronological reports about their visit and there was also a presentation of photos for the parents in the sharing assembly which we held at the end of the week,” said Julia.
Studfold Walks and Trails: