Connecting children with food, farming and the countrysideA unique outdoor learning experience for schools and groups at the Hirsel, ColdstreamScottish Land and Estates ‘Helping it Happen’ Education Award winner
Field to Fork at the Hirsel, Coldstream draws on the resources of the estate to offer 'Food and Farming' and 'In the Wild' day visits for schools and groups FREE of charge (because we believe our message is so important). Our aim is to nuture understanding and appreciation of food, farming and the countryside while fostering an enjoyment of being in the great outdoors.
A visit with a 'Food and Farming' focus highlights the importance of our farming industry in producing our food, exploring in a hands-on way the crops grown, how they are produced and how they become the food we eat. The cooking activity further encourages the making of informed choices around food and its impact on health, the environment and on producers as well as developing food preparation and cooking skills.
Meanwhile an 'In the Wild' day may involve both sessions being outdoors, engaging with the natural environment to explore, discover and learn about an aspect of it.
A typical visit involves:
We can accommodate a maximum of 40 children per visit and have disabled facilities.
Through the seasons we will be watching our crops grow, getting lost in the maize, seeing new life burst forth and hunting for mini-beasts and seeds in the woods of the estate. Share these experiences with your children with us!
Spring has sprung once more at Hirsel!
Join Sally exploring the estate to find signs that tell of the changing of the season from the newly born Highland calves to the nectar seeking bees and succession of spring flowers.
Follow the instructions on our latest videos to make these healthy recipes using locally or UK grown produce that is in season. They are quick and easy, nutritious and have low environmental impact as well as involving all the fun and satisfaction of cooking!
Easy Peasy Soup:
Quick and Easy Healthy Pizza:
It may be tempting to stay cosied up indoors this winter weather but if we pick our moment, dress up warm and get out, there is an amazing amount to see and enjoy outdoors in nature. Our latest series of videos take you around the Hirsel noticing what there is to see and then focus on different aspects of the natural environment in this season. We hope they inspire!
Winter at the Hirsel:
Feed the Birds:
Animals in Winter
Take a look at 3 new videos that have joined the Field to Fork collection. This time for Christmas, some decorations to make from what can be foraged and found in and around school grounds.Being made of natural materals they are more sustainable, kinder to the planet than those of glitter and tinsel and cost very little!
A 5 point Stick Star:
A Twig Tree Hanging:
An Evergreen Wreath:
To follow our 'Autumn at the Hirsel' video, we are pleased to share further videos to support outdoor learning and make the most of this glorious autumn season and all its treasures:.
'Make a Story Stick' : https://youtu.be/Bam0wUUkSuA
'Autumn Treasures' : https://youtu.be/dW3viidUlx4
'How trees disperse their seeds' : https://youtu.be/SIqAIL1uM3M
So exciting!! Field to Fork is live on YouTube!
We may not be able to have you visit, or indeed visit you, but follow this link to bring a Field to Fork visit into your classroom and explore 'Autumn at the Hirsel' virtually. This will hopefully be followed soon with a series of lesson ideas to make the most of outdoor learning opportunities in this wonderful season.
In a normal year, we would be busily booking classes in at this time for visits to explore 'Harvest' - a busy and important time on the Hirsel farms as the cereals, oil seed rape, potatoes and beans are gathered in and some of next year's crops are sown. Sadly of course this is unable to happen so we have put together a 'Cereal Harvest Pack' that can be used in school to support crucial learning around where our food comes from, what is produced in our local area and how. To receive this pack please email. You will find some harvest photos in the gallery.
While we are sadly not able to welcome classes to the Hirsel, it's great to see youngsters engaging with our weekly challenges at home. The 'Things to do with Sticks' theme prompted some fantastic creations with stick towers, names written in sticks, some mathsy things, tied picture frames and cheesy sticks to eat. Well done to all, its great to see your imaginative ideas. More photos can be seen in the gallery
As with everyone else our summer term plans have gone by the board - just when bookings were coming in well, Coronavirus put a spanner in the works! However all is not lost as we have plenty ideas for activities which can be done at home, outdoors, in the garden or out on daily walks to explore the world around us. Each week we are emailing out around 5 themed activities suitable for any age and almost anywhere - a recipe is often included. To receive these activities contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope they are useful and enjoyable, helping youngsters to connect to our amazing natural world and appreciate what is on their doorstep.
This autumn we hosted two Estate Days for High School year groups in conjunction with RHET. On the first we welcomed around 60 S2 pupils from Jedburgh Grammar School while the following day 90 S3 pupils from the Berwickshire High School took part. The youngsters explored various aspects of estate life through a forestry workshop provided by Fountain Forestry, a river life session by The Tweed Foundation, farming provided by Alistair Hodge and Lesley Mason of RHET, the Douglas Fold of Highland Cattle by Allan Telford, gamekeeping by Craig Birkett the gamekeeper, in which he showed them how to prepare pheasant for the table, and ourselves at Field to Fork baking bread and cooking and tasting the pheasant gougons! The pupils had a fantastic day, huge thanks to our providers, and took home with them a tree sapling kindly donated by Cheviot Trees.
We are thrilled (as you can see!) to have been announced winners of the Scottish Land and Estates 2018 'Helping it Happen' education award at a ceremony held at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh recently. We have always been very proud of what we offer at Field to Fork but it is fantastic to have the huge commitment of the Estate, who fund this project, acknowledged at a National level. We are grateful to schools for their support and hope we can continue to develop what we do in order to connect more children to what goes on in the countryside and where their food comes from.
Click on the topics to download teaching plans, worksheets and videos?
Our 'Food and Farming' visits are based around the crops grown on the 5 farms of the Hirsel estate and the foods they produce. This supports curriculum topics such as 'Where our food comes from', 'Food from Scotland', 'Food journeys', 'Food and the environment' as well as for example 'Healthy eating', 'Grow your own', 'Plant Lifecycles', 'Sustainable Living', 'Food and Farming in World War 1/2' or otjher periods in history.
On the otherhand an 'In the Wild' day might focus on 'Woodland habitats', 'Food chains', 'Lifecycles', 'Mini-beasts', 'Using our senses outdoors', 'Mindfulness in nature', 'Wild Art', 'Outdoor games' or 'Mapping at the Hirsel'.
We are happy to work with your suggestions, tailoring visits to meet your curriculum and children's needs, and can contribute to Building Resilience, Developing the Young Workforce, School Heallth Week, Fairtrade Fortnight, Eco Schools and John Muir Awards.
During the winter months when a visit can be difficult, In-school Workshops within a 25 mile radius are available. These ususally involve a powerpoint presentation and a practical cooking activity.
Take your visit further and click on the topics to find further resources and activities to do in your own setting.
Signs that tell of spring and some activities focusing on trees, birds and minibeasts
Explore what food is grown and produced from the Hirsel farms in the Scottish Borders
The natural world through your eyes, ears, nose and sense of touch with some fun activities.
Click here to see a selection of images of what we get up to.