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Education

Indoor facilities!
Pierrepont Farm’s new dairy, opened in 2011, incorporates a classroom capable of accommodating 35 children seated at tables. A larger number may be accommodated without tables.

The classroom is equipped with a sink, three electrical sockets for plugging in computers etc. and a first aid kit. There are many interactive displays for children (and adults!) to test their knowledge of food production and the environment.

The dairy block contains one unisex toilet with wash hand basin and hot water, plus one unisex disabled toilet, again with a wash hand basin and hot water.

The dairy has two robotic milking machines, that allow cows to milk themselves 24 hours a day year round, without the need for a human to be present. Because the space in the milking parlour is limited, visitors are usually admitted in groups of 10-15, so that everyone has a clear view of the milking process.

Teachers will find that a visit to the farm can incorporate a variety of areas of the national curriculum, including:

  • nutrition;
  • food production and land use;
  • climate and seasonal changes;
  • life cycles of animals and plants;
  • living things and their habitats:
    • identification and classification;
    • habitats and adaptations;
    • inter- and intra-specific relationships (food chains etc.);
  • rocks and soils.
Young visitors pass through Tankersford Wood in indian file during an activity morning held in August 2014.

Young visitors to Tankersford Wood during an activity morning held in August 2014.

Outdoor facilities
Pierrepont Farm is a working dairy farm, with a prize-winning herd of pedigree Jersey cows. Some beef cattle are also bred. The animals spend most of the year in the fields, grazing on grass. Silage is grown on the farm and may take the form of, for example, maize or alfalfa (lucerne).

The south branch of the River Wey runs through the farm and there is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the farm’s Wey Meadow.

The Wey Meadow SSSI and the south branch of the River Wey in winter. The meadow is home to the southern marsh orchid, devil's bit scabious and the fen raft spider, amongst others.

The Wey Meadow SSSI (to the left of the water) and the south branch of the River Wey in winter. The meadow is home to the southern marsh orchid, devil’s bit scabious and the fen raft spider, amongst others.

There is an area of woodland (Tankersford Wood) behind and to one side of the dairy block that is suitable for explorative and practical activities such as den-building, mini-beast hunting, natural art, wildlife tracking and “Earthwalk” sensory activities, to name a few.

Access
The classroom and toilets are on one level, with stepless access from the concrete hardstand surrounding the dairy. The corridors and classroom doors permit wheelchair access.

Between the classroom/toilet area and the milking parlour there are two doors with two single steps between them. It is possible to bridge the space between them for pedestrian access. The first door is 75cm (29.5 inches) wide and the door of the parlour is 85cm (33.5 inches) wide.

It is possible to circumvent the first door by bringing wheelchairs through a wide metal gate at the front of the dairy building and gaining access to the pedestrian bridge by means of a ramp. Even if a wheelchair cannot pass through the 85cm-wide door to the milking parlour, it is possible to see into the parlour and hear what is being said.

The dairy connects via a metalled road (though with a slope that can be steep for helpers for non-powered wheelchairs) with the former farmyard and buildings — though there are two cattle grids to be negotiated (doable but bumpy).

The area immediately around the dairy is hardstand, allowing the animals in the front and rear pens to be visited and permitting entry to the interior space. However, for reasons of animal welfare and hygiene, the pens for the youngest calves are sometimes located off the hardstand.

Parking
The access road between The Reeds Road and the farm’s dairy is metalled and can be used by coaches (feed lorries use the road regularly and a milk tanker visits the farm every two days).

There is hardstand parking around the dairy — allowing passengers to alight onto firm ground — and elswhere on the farm. There is uncovered parking space for approximately eight cars on the grass to one side of the slope leading to the dairy block.

Contact
To arrange a visit, in the first instance please contact the farm’s education officer, Annika Rees, who works two days a week throughout the year. Annika is DBS checked and is first aid trained. Her email address is : annikar@countrysiderestorationtrust.com

A coach carrying staff from the CRT's Cambridgeshire headquarters arrives for the formal opening of the new dairy on 12th April 2011, having successfully negotiated the farm's link to The Reeds Road.

A coach carrying staff from the CRT’s Cambridgeshire headquarters arrives for the formal opening of the new dairy on 12th April 2011, having successfully negotiated the farm’s link to The Reeds Road.