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Estate transformed into classroom

Around 2000 schoolchildren from primary schools across Berkshire gathered for the 20th annual Countryside Days for Schools at the Englefield Estate.

Pupils from 44 schools visited the giant outdoor classroom for a two day, hands-on learning experience, designed to help them understand more about the countryside.

Chairman of Englefield Estates, Richard Benyon, whose family introduced the event 20 years ago said: “In 1997, the first event attracted around 300 children from five schools. This year we hosted almost seven times that number.

It’s been fascinating to see how the event has grown and evolved over the years but it still remains true to the original aim which is to give young people a chance to explore how the countryside works and how it’s managed.   

Countryside Days for Schools, otherwise known as Schools Days, is managed by Tina Haynes and supported by staff from the Englefield Estate and other volunteers and partners.  A range of activities and resources help the pupils learn about agriculture, forestry, the environment, history and communities.

Tina said:

Year on year, the visit really enthuses the children, who get to see a working estate in action and learn directly from those involved. The visit provides many memorable experiences for the children, and enhances many aspects of what they learn in the classroom back at school.

The children found the event both enjoyable and educational, and now have a better understanding about the countryside that surrounds them, so can feel more closely connected with it. They loved the day, and went home exhausted!