Ford Fun Outdoors

The Benefits of outdoor study!

There is sometimes a misconception that school trips are far too much paperwork and not enough fun, but we want to prove these negative nellies wrong.

Now, here’s a few facts and figures, but  don’t worry, we won’t bore you; they’re here to prove that the grumblers are incorrect.

A survey by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) found that 87% of teachers said LOtC made lessons memorable and 77% agreed that it motivated and enthused young people towards learning.*

So, how does this link in with our fabulous Ford Castle? Well listen up. If you’re thinking of an exciting and memorable way of teaching Geography, History, Biology or Geology we have the solution for you.

On offer at Ford is a range of packages that bring these subjects to life. For instance; ever wondered how to make the miserable medieval period fun?If the answer is yes, then let us take weight off your shoulders and give your pupils the chance to make medieval crafts, eat historical food and visit medieval sites. However, if it’s the Romans, Vikings, Saxons, Tudors or 21st Century Conflicts that you’re studying, fear not. We have it covered with our Time Travellers and Historical Study packages.

Our YounExplorers package will take your Human Geography students to coastal sites Bamburgh, Lindisfarne and Heatherslaw Mill, Northumberland’s only working watermill.

River_Studies

It doesn’t stop there. Explore marine life in the name of Biology and become conservationists for the day at Ford Moss. Students can search for the Puffins, Red Squirrels and moles at the nature reserve.

We can even design a specific plan for your curriculum, incorporating fun outdoor activities and educational excursions.

Let’s all work together and show the 87% of teachers in the survey that they are correct: LOtC is a memorable experience. Here at Ford Castle we’re working towards 100%

*Facts and figures provided from http://www.teachsecondary.com/outdoor-learning/view/school-trips-effective-learning-outside-the-classroom

Greenhaugh – We hope you brought your walking boots!

The Greenhaugh Cluster arrived in convoy, chose their beds in the Castle dorms and set straight off to Ford Moss, the unique nature reserve a brisk walk from our grounds.

At various stops along the way the pupils  learn about the geological quirks in the area that let us trace the history of the ground, animals and plants. Exploring unearthed small pieces of pottery from an old village and a collapsed mine shaft. Before a tour of the woodland, a quick study of the soil showed that the students were standing on the site of an ancient ice-age river!

Back at the Castle, Greenhaugh worked up an appetite by crossing the ravine, taking a deep breath, and zooming across on the zip wire. Nervous laughter gave way to moral support as the group cheered each other on to take the leap, and everyone faced their fear.

Ford Moss Chimney

Ford Moss

Dinner, evening quizzes and a hot chocolate treat made sure the students were out for the count, ready to rise early for a day trip to Lindisfarne on Holy Island and to the Anglo-Saxon town of Berwick.

Heritage and history was all around as the sun shone; a walk across the Island revealed more about the Pilgrims and their castle, along with the fascinating geography of the area.

Later, the ramparts park in Berwick was the perfect destination for the students to rest their weary feet and ponder the day’s discoveries over a mix up from the old-fashion sweet shop. They deserved it after all that walking!

The following day was packed with adventure activities in the sprawling Castle grounds. The pupils took the opportunity to ride the zip wire again, and did Greenhaugh proud by working together as a team on the Initiative course.

Too soon, it was time to have one last delicious Castle meal and head home.

See the  pictures from Ford Moss and the zip wire on our Facebook page!

 

Amble First School

by Rosy Graham

Amble + Castle
My allotted welcome to the enthusiastic 8 and 9 year olds from Amble First School, was to harness them to a wire and encourage them to zip across the wooded ravine situated next to Ford Castle. Fortunately for me, the group was very much up to the challenge.It was a good job there was an anchor rope at the landing site; it was a tad slippery due to recent heavy snowfall. The group loved it of course; they are safely attached to the anchor rope, positively gliding to the Finish area, whilst I found myself repeatedly face down in the mud until I resembled some sort of mud monster, much to the amusement of all onlookers.

Ambling by the Lady Waterford Hall

Ambling by the Lady Waterford Hall

The next day we took a walk – well (naturally) more of an amble really – to Ford Moss, which afforded stunning views of the snow-dusted Cheviot Hills on the way, though I fear my photographic skills have not done them justice.
Cheviots with Snow
Once at the Moss there was much to see, from ice patterns in puddles to the mine shaft entrance. For some reason though, the young group were far more interested in some fox poo and then some rabbit fur close by (no prizes for guessing the connection there).

Ice (rather than mud) puddle

Ice (rather than mud) puddle

Back at the Castle and time to relax. What am I saying, that’s no way to keep year 5 children entertained. A much better idea was Nightline (especially as the teachers could participate too: dropping leaves and twigs on their young charges – no encouragement from me, of course), followed by Archery and the Castle Tour.It was the turn of we instructors to be entertained, after a delicious and filling dinner, at the Talent Show, followed by a disco where everyone let their hair down.The final morning dawned, but there was still time for some Crate Stacking, Potions and Initiative Exercises, which the Amble pupils attacked with skill, humour and aplomb.

Waving off Amble School, I considered two things: what great fun the children from Amble are; and, if I don’t stop waving soon, my arm’s going to fall off.

 Amble + Staff1