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School and Group Educational Visits

Shabden Park Farm hosts educational visits for schools, youth groups and social groups; young and not-so-young!

Visits are tailored to your group's age, particular interests or curriculum subject and information is pitched appropriately at the age range and experience of each group. We always provide a chance to 'ask the farmer' any questions about what you have seen or learnt.

Farm staff are trained in health & safety issues and Kirstie is CEVAS-trained in co-ordinating an enjoyable, safe and educational farm visit.
We offer a free pre-visit for the teacher or group leader(s) to discuss requirements for your group's visit, to plan the day's activities, and so you can familiarise yourself with the farm's facilities beforehand. If a pre-visit is not practicable, Kirstie will conduct this discussion by phone. Shabden Park Farm holds full public liability insurance, and we conduct risk assessments and other farm safety policy documentation.

We encourage children to hold or feel the animals, where safe and appropriate, and under supervision. This could mean bottle-feeding a lamb, or feeling the bristly hairs on a pig's back. The children are educated about germs on farms and after visiting the animals, we take them to wash their hands.

Kirstie has a library of resources for activities, both animal-related and environment/fieldwork, which you are welcome to use and during your pre-visit we can create a programme for the day.

Adult groups and older students are welcome and we can provide field study sites for art, geography and other parts of the curriculum, or interests of the group.

We encourage children to touch or hold the animals, under supervision.


Local cub group learn how to make sausages

Typical visit for Primary school-children

A typical all-day visit for KS1 and 2 will begin with your group being greeted by Farmers Mark and Kirstie in the farmyard and given a welcome talk, including safety and hygiene information. During the morning, activities centre on meeting the farm animals, in the barns and adjacent field, with a chance to feed and hold young when they are around. We discuss how and why we keep the animals, what they eat, breeds, etc. and the children can feel and look closely at the animals features.

Before lunch the children are taken to wash their hands. Lunch is taken in an area of the barn when cold or wet, or if it's fine, we can picnic in the field, with views across the valley, or on the front lawn.

In the afternoon, the group could opt to do a farm walk, where we meet the sheep and cattle in the fields, and look at the wildlife around the farm. We will often include a working sheep dog demonstration and children enjoy learning the basic commands of a sheep dog. For city schools, where the children do not routinely experience open spaces, we often set up a race across a valley field and back.

You could also choose to do the walk using maps or wildlife ID guide from our resources, or a specific field activity such as counting the different plant species in a hoop on the ground. Other activities can be arranged of specific relevance to the term's topics, and we can dicuss these and plan the day at your pre-visit.

At the end of the day, we return to the barn for an "Ask the Farmer" session, which gives your group an opportunity to ask us any questions about what they have seen, heard and learnt during the day.


Mark encourages children to feel the shorn sheep


Jim loves making new friends!

Activities we can offer on your farm visit;
  • Meet the animals: a chance to get close to, and learn about, the farm animals, hands on where appropriate;
    • Sheep: lambing during April to May/June, shearing during May/June, sheep husbandry, chance of bottle-feeding lambs.
    • Cows: calving during Apr/May/June, cattle husbandry.
    • Pigs: farrowing any time during the year, pig husbandry.
    • Poultry: goslings and turkey poults May-Sept, grown geese and turkeys Sept-Dec, poultry-keeping.
  • Working sheep dogs: demonstrations and role of working dogs on farm - often combined with farm walk.
  • Food production: butchers cutting room and farm shop, meat cutting demonstration (older children). Often combined with a 'meet the animals' session and general discussion of livestock farming.
  • Sausage-making: hands on session, take home your own sausages (over 10 years old and max.12 at a time.)
  • Managing wildlife habitats: farm nature walk, field studies, species studies.
  • Woodland and hedgerows: studies and activities, can be combined with looking at features of the countryside.
  • Farm machines: how they work, history of farming and development of technology (older children).
  • Areas for art, outdoor drama or role play.
  • Ecosystem and enactment games e.g. camouflage in nature.
  • Problem solving and team work.
  • Outdoor play space for letting off steam/eating lunch.
  • Please do enquire about any activity not on this list - we are usually able to accommodate specific interests.

To enquire about bringing your group for an educational visit, please email Kirstie or   

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