Rectory Farm

Education in the Countryside

Suggested Activities

Walks & trails

Many different walks can be done round the farm and Mr Eaton will be very happy to help. They can  be tailored to different groups.

Sketching, painting & photography

Many different walks can be done round the farm and Mr Eaton will be very happy to help. They can  be tailored to different groups.


The farm provides opportunities for mapping exercises on a large or small scale. For example, farm maps of the whole site showing all the different things of interest or a simple plan showing the layout  of the old buildings, where the animals were kept and feed was stored.

Taking time to simply ‘be’

It is not easy in this modem life and with large groups or classes, to simple ‘be’. It is easy to forget that as adults we are more likely to have experienced many moments of wonder. The first time we saw the intricate and colourful design of a dragonfly or butterfly, the speed of running muntjac, the brightness of rosehips in a hedge, a lamb being born or simply the vastness of space looking across the valley.

We hope the farm can provide some of these experiences for your students.


There are many opportunities for close contact with animals, particularly cows and sheep. Lambs being born, lambs feeding, seeing how animals grow as some obvious studies about life and death processes.


Please feel free to use both sets of buildings for studying materials, structures, design etc. There may  be a chance for some students to help with hedge planting or a similar activity.


There are opportunities to take a closer look at agricultural machinery, as a basis for design or as an introduction to levers and hydraulics. The sheep weigh crate and the mobile drafting race would be useful tools for putting across the importance of safety.

The River

There are over 2.5km of the River Great Ouse running through the farm. These upper reaches are fast flowing and not very deep. There are fast runs over stone, more like an upland river. Flanked by water meadows and touching the railway at one point where there is a newly planted Osier bed (very fast growing). There are also good examples of obstacles restricting the river’s flow (fallen trees, branches etc).

Just after the railway is a fenced off area of bank with a newly planted spinney and an artificial otter holt. There is also a good example of a large unpollarded willow tree. In the next section of the water meadow, the nature of the river begins to change. The flow becomes slower (because of Tingewick Mill further downstream) and more sluggish, more typical of a lowland river. There is a great deal of aquatic plant growth in this stretch, including water lilies.

There are wonderful chances to study plant and insect 1ife such as damsellflies, dragonflies, and at times a good mayfly hatch. There are fish in the river and also crayfish (traps could be set prior to the visit). Signs of Otters are regular.

Ideas & possible projects

1. Quiz.

2. General questions to prompt younger children.

3. Design a poster to advertise Rectory Farm for education visits.

4. Plan a nature trail through the farm (especially along the disused railway line), possibly with numbered stops

    at interesting points. This could be backed up by notes in a leaflet form.

5. Bird boxes could be numbered/named and school or individuals could keep box records.

Over to you (the teacher) and I hope the farm can help you.

 ‘In the end we will conserve only what we love,

 We love only what we understand.

 We understand only what we are taught.’

Mr George Eaton, Rectory Farm, Tingewick.

Website by Andy Hack. All photography (except where credited) by Sara & Andy Hack Copyright 2010