Students at Bishop Wordsworth’s School (BWS) in Salisbury have spent the spring and summer embarking on various fun adventures, which have successfully raised a fantastic total of £510 for Horatio’s Garden!
James Oldham, Head of Outdoor Education at BWS, got in touch with us last year to tell us all about his plans for the BWS Adventure scheme. Since then, he’s been continually developing the programme, coming up with numerous ideas as to how it could also make a charitable contribution.
BWS Adventure is all about educating students about their local environment, both in the broad sense of re-wilding and enjoying the outdoors, but also specifically in terms of what goes on across the Longford Estate. This includes introducing students to agricultural practice, livestock management and elements of conservation, along with much more.
“The walk was a great way to appreciate the outdoors and learn more about the landscape and estate. At the start of the walk David Canty, the estate manager, gave us lots of information about how big it is and the sorts of day to day happenings that keep the estate going. Some of this information was astonishing, especially how much money it costs to feed the pigs! It was also a great way to get away from the stress of class and a great way to get us off screens. We had a great time socialising and having a laugh with friends, but it also taught us resilience that if our legs got tired while walking we should persevere and keep going.”
SR Year 8 Bishop Wordsworth’s School
Whilst James and the students had intended to begin their trips earlier this year, new Coronavirus restrictions sadly put their plans on hold. However, since these have eased, five groups of Year 8 students have each successfully completed a 12km hike of the Longford Estate!
“I had a very good experience on the Year 8 hike for a number of reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed the range of scenery – farmland, forest and fields and thought that it was just good to be outdoors. Another thing I found was that I had lots of time to socialise with my friends and get to know them a bit better. I think it was good for our form to get to know each other, especially because of our missed camping trip.
One of my favourite parts of the hike was learning about the history and nature of the yew tree. Learning of its link with witchcraft and the age that some of the trees have reached. We got very close to nature, we saw multiple deer and ducks. We were also quite lucky with the weather and it was sunny all day. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience.”
SS Year 8 Bishop Wordsworth’s School
Fortunately, all the trips took place on weekends blessed with wonderful weather, making it easy for students to talk to various members of the Longford Estate team, who shared their expertise of the landscape and developed the students’ understanding of what happens right on their doorstep. Members of staff with knowledge of Geography, Geology, Biology and History also joined the group to lend their insights, meaning each trip has been full of entertaining, informal learning.
“During the hike I found it very interesting to find out about all of the wildlife and nature around the Longford Estate. I also enjoyed walking around as a bit of exercise as well as a bit of a break from being cooped up in a classroom all day. My favourite part about the hike was being able to learn about so much. Previously I didn’t know about a lot of things like the yew trees and beetle banks. I didn’t actually know that some things existed before that day. I found it very fun to walk with my friends and talk about all of the wildlife.”
AJ Year 8 Bishop Wordsworth’s School
Ultimately too, each walk has been primarily about enjoying the benefits of a short hike and feeling in touch with the great outdoors. The excursions have prompted discussions around mindfulness and the benefits nature has to both people’s physical and mental health, engaging students in how this has been important in light of recent events and highlighting the disparity in national access to green spaces.
It is this that motivated James and BWS students to support Horatio’s Garden.
Consequently, all payments made by parents towards each trip have been generously donated to Horatio’s Garden, therefore the cost to the student is zero and the BWS community are simultaneously making a brilliant contribution to the physical health and psychological wellbeing of others too.
We are very much looking forward to making the most of our blossoming relationship with Bishop Wordsworth’s School over coming academic years and are enormously grateful to the students, staff and parents for all their support so far.
“We walked through Longford Estate, an area which is only accessible through a few public paths and bridleways but we were given extra access for this memorable experience of seeing the beautiful landscape. Even though we missed our camping experience at Great Yews this gave us a taste of the adventures that BWS has to offer. It was amazing to see the green space there is in some parts of the country. It was also a great bonding experience in which I got to know the rest of my form much better. It was an experience I will never forget.”
EH Year 8 Bishop Wordsworth’s School