Saturday, 28 May 2016

West Tisted Countryside Day

On Wednesday Year 3 and Year 4 had a fantastic trip to the beautiful West Tisted Manor Estate to learn about farming and forestry. 

During the day six different aspects of farming and countryside life were on display for the children to learn about and explore. Each activity was led by an expert in their field so the children were able to learn in great detail about the different areas and ask lots of questions.

The first activity for Year 3 was to see the big machinery used on the farm. We learnt the there are many different machines which play a part in cultivating the land, sewing the seeds, fertilising the crops and harvesting them when they are ready. We were all amazed by the size of the machines and by how much technology is involved in making sure everything happens at the right time and in exactly the right place!

An old fashioned tractor compared to a modern tractor

Preparing the land

This machine has to be able to sew seeds of many different shapes and sizes.

The crops have to be looked after with tonnes of fertiliser.

Each crop requires it's own special mix and amount of fertiliser. 

The crops also need protection from pests and diseases.
This machine helps spray them with medicines. 

When they are ready the crops can be harvested.
This machine can harvest a big field in about 30 minutes!

The machine is quickly able to sort the grain from the other parts of the crop.

Apparently the cows like to play pushing games with the hay bales!

Next we learnt about the different crops grown at West Tisted and what they are used for. We had a chance to look at the differences when they are seeds and when they are crops.

We then had a selection of everyday items which we tried to sort into the correct grains.

Linseed was once used just for it's oil but it is now becoming a popular health food.

The children were also invited to try grinding some wheat to make flour.

The final activity of the morning was to find out about the impact deer have on our forests.

All the trees in this picture are 25 years old.
The trees at front have had their growth stunted by deer eating the
main shoot when they were trying to grow.
We played a game where all the children had to collect the four things trees need to grow - sun, water, soil and air. This was easy until some children became deers. If they touched you it meant you were out and could not grow to be a tree.

The antlers of deer become brown from where the deer hit them against the trees.
This can also damage trees and plants.
The damage to these antlers shows some of the dangers to deer in the wild.
They include rubbish, string and electric wiring.

We also looked at the skulls of deers to learn more about what they eat.

 After lunch we met one of the gamekeepers at West Tisted and learnt about how he helps look after some of the animals on the estate. They have lots of pheasants and part of his job to protect them from other animals.

He works very closely with his dog and we were impressed at
how well trained she was.

When the pheasants are young they are protected from predators
such as foxes, by a large fence.
 We then got the chance to have a close up look at some sheep. They were a little nervous about having so many visitors so we had to be really quiet and calm around them.
We learnt about how their wool protects them from the cold and rain.

We used this chart to help identify what types of sheep we thought were at the estate today.

Finally, we got to find out more about owls. We learnt about the different types of owl you might see and how they use their sense of hearing to help them hunt their prey.

This is an owl nesting box. We were very surprised to find out
what the base was covered with!
 Owls eat their food by swallowing it whole. They cannot digest bones and hair, however, so they throw these back up! This is what covers the base of their nests and they are known as owl pellets.

We could see various bones and skulls in the nesting box.

The children had a fantastic day and were talking about the things they had seen and learnt all the way back to school! They all behaved really well and did a great job of representing Kings Copse Primary School.

Thank you to the parents who were able to help on the day and a special thank you to the organisers, staff and volunteers at West Tisted Manor Estate and The Country Trust for hosting such an interesting and engaging day.

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