Useful links

General

Organising a school visit to the countryside is no small undertaking but it has a number of benefits:

  • FACEwww.face-online.org.uk
    Farming and Countryside Education is an independent charity aiming to ‘educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside’. This is a very useful and comprehensive website, which includes resources for teachers, interactives for children and a great deal of information about rural visits, farms and other countryside matters.
  • Growing Schoolswww.teachernet.gov.uk/growingschools
    Part of the official Teachernet site, this extensive mini-site offers ‘to support teachers in using the outdoor classroom as a resource across the curriculum for pupils of all ages’. It focuses in particular on food, farming and the countryside and has an excellent section on places to visit as well as a helpful regional approach – click the map to find out what is available in your area. The resources area includes schemes of work, lesson plans and case studies.
  • The Countryside Foundation for Education
    www.countrysidefoundation.org.uk
    Since 1986, this charity has provided access to outdoor learning opportunities for up to 330,000 school children every year through its Countryside Live events and visits to Farms For Schools Members and estates across the UK. It also provides educational support to teachers, parents, farmers and estate managers so that everybody involved has a safe, fun, hassle-free educational experience. The main audience for the work of the foundation is Key Stage 2 Students, 7–11 year olds.
  • Country Channel TVwww.countrychannel.tv
    Country Channel TV is a free-to-view web broadcast service featuring ‘a wide variety of programmes on Farming, Lifestyle, Wildlife and Animals, Recreation, Equestrian and Country Sports’. There are some useful videos here for teachers.
  • Arkive Educationwww.arkiveeducation.org
    A collection of images, videos and PowerPoint files, aimed at different key stages, all about the natural world. Contains presentations about topics such as habitats, adaptation and life cycles.
  • Countryside Access www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk
    An official site that hosts the Countryside Code and includes free downloadable education packs and resource material with ideas and materials centred around the countryside.
  • Countryside Alliance www.countryside-alliance.org
    The Countryside Alliance champions country life and defends the liberties of the people who live and work there. As the authority on rural issues, the Countryside Alliance won the Channel 4 Political Personality of the Decade Award in 2008. There are good examples of specific rural campaigns on the site while its wide-ranging Rural Jigsaw is worth a read to get a quick grasp of the main issues facing the countryside.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trustwww.scaet.org.uk
    The Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust provides learning resources, organises tailor-made visits to estates and estate days and provides classroom speakers throughout Scotland.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliancewww.scottishcountrysidealliance.org
    The Scottish Countryside Alliance promotes the interests of rural people, including all field sports, wildlife management, and countryside concerns.
  • Scottish Natural Heritagewww.snh.gov.uk
    Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government funded body that looks after all of Scotland's nature and landscapes.
  • Education Scotlandwww.educationscotland.gov.uk
    Education Scotland provides support and resources for learning and teaching and the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Scottish Land and Estateswww.scottishlandandestates.co.uk
    Scottish Land and Estates is the unified voice that represents all those who own land and rural businesses in Scotland.
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Farming

  • The Soil Associationwww.soilassociation.org
    The Soil Association represents the organic food movement. For resources and information click Education then Primary resources.
  • FACEwww.face-online.org.uk/
    The Farming and Countryside Education site contains a wealth of information and teaching about farming including a section of detailed farm profiles giving structured information about several farms across England. There are also interactives, lesson plans and videos – well worth a visit.
  • Farm Trailswww.farmtrails.org.uk
    An attractive site that features virtual visits to 17 organic farms across the UK. There are no videos but users can explore different aspects of the farm through photos. All of the farms featured encourage school visits.
  • UK Agriculturewww.ukagriculture.com
    Not a site aimed at children or teachers but a valuable source of reference material, information, facts, photos, articles and more ‘dedicated to enhancing public understanding about the role of agriculture in the countryside’.
  • The Royal Highland Education Trustwww.rhet.org.uk
    This organisation supports Scottish schools in teaching school children about the issues surrounding food and farming.
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Forests and woodlands

  • Forest Education Initiativewww.foresteducation.org
    The Forest Education Initiative provides learning resources about trees, forests and forest products. The site has a well-organised range of free worksheets covering a wide range of subjects and age groups.
  • Forestry Commissionwww.forestry.gov.uk
    Although limited in scope, the learning area of the Forestry Commission site does have some good features including wildlife webcams, videos and a picture library, plus details of forest visitor centres across the country.
  • Nature Detectiveswww.naturedetectives.org.uk
    A superb website from The Woodland Trust, with an excellent range of free online learning materials plus downloads and activities. This is an excellent portal for children to learn about forest habitats and the plants and animals that are found in them.
  • Forest Schoolswww.forestschools.com
    A unique organisation whose philosophy is ‘to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences’. Forest schools aim to organise regular visits for children to woodland where they complete various fulfilling tasks and challenges.
  • The Forestry Commission Scotland www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
    The Commission serves as the forestry directorate of the Scottish Government.
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Vets

  • Blue Crosswww.bluecross.org.uk
    This site features an interview with a vet. Although this is about a small animal vet rather than a farm vet it does give useful information about how to become a vet.
  • Life as a farm vet www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/jun/07/farm.vet
    This page from The Guardian is useful as a background reference for teachers. It features an interview with farm vet Jonathan Harwood and gives a truthful picture of the everyday life of a working large animal vet.
  • CBBCwww.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/wild/working/vet
    A useful series of pages for younger children about the work of a real vet. The vet featured works with pets rather than farm animals.
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Gamekeeping

  • Gamekeepers’ Trustgamekeeperstrust.org.uk
    This is probably the most accessible source of information on gamekeeping suitable for children on the web. There is a profile of a gamekeeper, facts and a teachers’ page, along with a few photos.
  • National Gamekeepers Organisationwww.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk
    The National Gamekeepers Organisation has some useful background information for teachers but not for children. However, the site which is mainly for gamekeepers offers a useful insight into the profession.
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trustwww.gct.org.uk
    Useful source of reference information for teachers. Under ‘Conservation’, then ‘Education’, you can find some worksheets for your pupils.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust www.scaet.org.uk
    The Trust provides learning resources, organises tailor-made visits to estates and estate days and provides classroom speakers through-out Scotland.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliancewww.scottishcountrysidealliance.org
    The Alliance promotes the interests of rural people, including all field sports, wildlife management, and countryside concerns.
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Village shops

  • VIRSAwww.virsa.org
    The Village Retail Services Association website may not sound very exciting but it has a directory of community-run village shops with the story behind many of them, which will be of interest to children working on the Countryside Investigators shopkeeper activities.
  • Ascott Village Storewww.ascott-under-wychwood.org.uk/shop.html
    This is the website for one of England’s most successful village shops run by volunteers. The site features a video about the shop which is suitable for showing to children. The website also gives plenty of information about what a typical village shop can offer.
  • Patterdale Village Storewww.patterdalevillagestore.co.uk
    The website of a well-known village shop in the Lake District that sells a lot of gifts and local produce.
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Thatching

  • Master Thatcher UK - Stephen Bowen www.uk-thatcher.co.uk
    Find out more about thatching on Steve’s, the thatcher’s, website. There are also lots of useful pictures of thatched houses here.
  • Thatchthatch.org
    Not the best looking site but written by an experienced thatcher and containing a wealth of fascinating background information to act as a reference point. It includes photos of thatchers at work as well as various thatched roofs under construction, plus detailed information on tools and materials and a wonderful glossary full of little-known thatching terms.
  • Thatchingwww.britainexpress.com/History/thatching.htm
    An introductory article about thatching in Britain with a link to an interview with a thatcher, which is interesting.
  • Thatching materialswww.exmoorthatchers.co.uk/materials.html
    A short page with information about the different materials used to make thatched roofs. This will be useful for upper KS2 children.
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Beekeeping

  • British Beekeepers' Associationwww.britishbee.org.uk
    This is the website of the British Beekeepers' Association and you can access the section for children and teachers by clicking ‘bees4kids’ then exploring the grey links underneath the main menu. There are pages of facts and activities for children plus details of the BBA’s schools pack for KS1 and KS2, relating bees to the curriculum – well worth a look.
  • Bee-Craftwww.bee-craft.com
    This is the journal of the British Beekeepers' Association and the website does have some useful background information on honeybees, written for adults, along with photos. Click ‘Beekeeping information’ then explore the menu on the left.
  • Bees Onlinewww.bees-online.com
    Another ‘home-made’ site but one which has a comprehensive set of pages and lots of information about both bees and beekeeping, with diagrams, photos and links to videos among other things.
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Estate management

  • Englefield Estatewww.englefieldestate.co.uk
    This is the website of a typical large country estate, situated near Reading in Berkshire. There are pages about the commercial activities of the estate, with photos, plus brief details of recreational activities that take place there including wolf walks!
  • Castle Howardwww.castlehoward.co.uk
    A large estate in North Yorkshire which attracts many visitors each year. Click on ‘About Castle Howard’, then ‘The Wider Estate’ to bring up more menus about the activities that are run by the estate manager.
  • The National Trustwww.nationaltrust.org.uk
    This website includes a large number of places to visit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can find out about estates near you and events run by the Trust.
  • A year in the life of a country estate www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/nature/elveden_estate/
    A short page from the BBC about a Suffolk estate, but well set out for children to get an idea of what goes on through the year on a typical large rural estate.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust www.scaet.org.uk
    SCAET provides learning resources, organises tailor-made visits to estates and estate days, and provides classroom speakers throughout Scotland.
  • The Heather Trust www.heathertrust.co.uk
    This organisation promotes the active management of moorland to achieve objectives that take into account the need for effective management and the sensitive nature of many moorland areas.
  • Scotland’s Moorland Forum www.moorlandforum.org.uk
    This Forum provides up to date news on moorland management.
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Riverkeeping

  • Environment Agencywww.environment-agency.gov.uk
    The website offers a large range of river-related information about conservation, fishing, floods and water quality.
  • Salmon and Trout Associationwww.salmon-trout.org
    Longstanding charity concerned with the aquatic environment. The website includes information about conservation, fishing and learning how and where to fish.
  • Jet Set Trout In The Classroomwww.jetsettroutintheclassroomuk.org
    Eco initiative that gets schools to rear and release trout into their local rivers.
  • The Atlantic Salmon Trust www.atlanticsalmontrust.org
    The Atlantic Salmon Trust is a UK based charity with Atlantic wide interests which champions the wild salmon and sea trout.
  • The Scottish Countryside Alliancewww.scottishcountrysidealliance.org
    The Alliance promotes the interests of rural people, including all field sports, wildlife management, and countryside concerns.
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Falconry

  • CJ's Birds of Preywww.cjsbirdsofprey.com
    John and Charlotte Hill offer a unique experience for children with their falconer school visits. During their special ‘experience days’ they show off an impressive range of birds of prey. All booking and contact details are on the website.
  • British Falconer’s Clubwww.britishfalconersclub.co.uk
    Older KS2 pupils will find the ‘Beginners’ section and page on Hawks valuable. There is also a gallery (click the arrow) which opens up a new window with some excellent photos of birds of prey.
  • Ben Long Falconrywww.benlongfalconry.com
    This website sells falconry equipment but it is very useful for showing what is needed for the sport. The ‘beginners’ page is worth seeing as it outlines the basic equipment for a falconer and also gives information about using it.
  • Arkivewww.arkive.org
    This excellent site features a collection of images and videos of wildlife. To see film of birds of prey in flight click ‘British species’ then ‘birds’. Search for the bird you are interested in using the alphabetical list.
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Visits to the countryside

  • The Countryside Foundation for Education
    www.countrysidefoundation.org.uk
    Since 1986, this charity has provided access to outdoor learning opportunities for up to 330,000 school children every year through its Countryside Live events and visits to Farms For Schools Members and estates across the UK. It also provides educational support to teachers, parents, farmers and estate managers so that everybody involved has a safe, fun, hassle-free educational experience. The main audience for the work of the foundation is Key Stage 2 students, 7-11 year olds.
  • Forest Schoolswww.forestschools.com
    A unique organisation whose philosophy is ‘to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences’. Forest schools aims to organise regular visits for children to woodland where they complete various fulfilling tasks and challenges.
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