This summer term, we have welcomed three of our local primary schools to the farm for a series of four to six visits to our various enterprises.

They have visited the herb garden to make balms with Alexandra, our soap maker, toured the fields to check with sheep with Jake, our grazier, and met the chicks, the bees and observed the abundant blossom turn to apples in the orchard.

This year, we are growing three fields of heritage barley, sown by Harry from nearby Haye Farm. Our school groups have each adopted three barley plants each, and have been measuring them each week to see how fast they grow. It has been an exercise in patience and understanding the long timescales that farmers work to throughout the year, so easily lost when children visit a farm for a single, one-off session.

We have also spent time enjoying the woods; using all our senses to explore, making dens for ourselves and nests for the birds. This is arguably the most valuable part of the experience for many children; an opportunity to use their imaginations, get their hands dirty, and be free of the structure of the classroom. For some children, it is a practice in spatial awareness and balance; despite growing up in rural East Devon, some of these children only used to walking over tarmac or playing fields, and regularly trip over when first taken to the natural uneven surfaces of the farm and the woods.

We are fortunate that our Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England offers us funding to be able to deliver educational access visits to the farm free of charge. Widening access to nature, learning about where our food comes from and understanding the benefits of the outdoors for our health and wellbeing is at the core of what we do here at Trill Farm, and the energy we invest into it is returned to us a hundred-fold when we hear the happy feedback from smiling faces around the campfire at the end of the last session. Long may it continue!

Mariel runs the farm office and co-ordinates educational visits. With a background in conservation and environmental education, she is passionate about encouraging everyone to connect with nature. 

To enquire about educational visits to Trill Farm, email mariel@trillfarm.co.uk