MY DAY OUT WITH THE COUNTRY TRUST
by LAURA NOBLE
Recently I had the pleasure of spending the day with The Country Trust, and what an amazing and enlightening experience.
The children were on a residential trip from their school in inner city Bradford, ranging from ages 7-10. It is no exaggeration to say that some of these children had never visited the countryside before, some had never been on a train, some had never stayed away from home, never been on a walk in the countryside, seen sheep in fields, encountered a horse, or even a dog.
I am a huge champion of our local area and I have to say, the children really couldn’t have seen more dramatic and entirely beautiful North Yorkshire landscapes than they did.
I met them at Linton to walk along the river to Burnsall. As we approached the surging river at Linton Falls the roar of the water was deafening. The children were fascinated and thrilled. The noise, the foam, the speed of the water – it was an impressive demonstration of the impact of the changing weather at this time of year.
We crossed the bridge, where we met some sheep which was of great amusement and excitement. We set off downstream, as we went along, the guides took every opportunity to engage the children with their surroundings, pointing out rabbit burrows, the difference between limestone and gritstone and so on. I am told the children were to be challenged with a quiz later on that day, so an added incentive to listen to all this great information.
The dogs that were with us were also a great source of fascination and amusement, some of the children were so unaware of man’s best friend – that they were actually very scared at first but by the end of the walk with them they were a lot more confident with the animals and curious about them.
We walked a good few miles and considering a hike is something they are unlikely to partake in, I thought they did very well to complete it with limited moaning!
We heard more about the variety of smells of different plants we saw – the changing leaves as we head into autumn and the added excitement of conker hunting, which I have to say is one of my favourite pastimes! We saw burdock and then dandelion, something that, of course, many had heard of offered in tin form! There were things to note at every turn.
After the walk, the children visited Kilnsey Trout Farm for lunch under the majestic crag overlooking the fishing lake – a beautiful sight.
In addition to their experience, on this particular day, the children got to witness the world cycling championship going past, something again that they will likely, never forget.
They then went up to the pony trekking centre for ride out. Again, some were already thrilled at the prospect, but some were understandably quite terrified of these huge animals that they had never come into contact with before. I saw one little boy very bravely overcome his fear, to thoroughly enjoy the experience and feel that pride of achieving something new.
Spending the time with the children and witnessing their joy, fascination and eagerness to learn was just heart-warming and I am so glad I went.
I am sorry to say that before I started learning about what The Country Trust do, I had no idea the limitations these children face. To think that there are children down our road, living in our county, that have not visited these places before or been given the opportunities to understand where their food comes from, or understand the benefits of enjoying the natural environment was a real shock. And ultimately, if it wasn’t for The Country Trust and the willing volunteers, farmers and estates that welcome them, they may never have that experience.
I am thrilled that we have chosen The Country Trust as our charity, I can’t wait to raise money for them and support them any way we can.
In addition, I believe Rural Solutions may be able to grow further awareness of The Trust and help them appeal for new sites. They are always looking for new locations to send the children to. Any farms or estates that are a member of Natural England or willing to become members and have public access would be playing a part in providing a child with a lifelong memory, to do something they may never get to do otherwise. Dairy farms, lambing experiences, meeting animals, demonstrating the links between farming and food are all great examples.
These things you that might be used to encountering every day are a completely different world for these children, and to see them learn and know you are doing something to enable that is unbelievably rewarding.
Please contact email@example.com for more information on becoming a visitor site.