Chatsworth Farmyard is part of the Chatsworth House Estate in Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park. The Farmyard at Chatsworth was set up in 1973 to help visitors understand how and why the land around Chatsworth is used to produce food and timber. The farmyard has a cross-section of livestock including dairy cows and beef cattle, sheep for meat and wool, poultry, pigs, game fish and birds, as well as a shire horse, a Shetland pony and goats.
Over the last six years, the farmyard has placed a particular emphasis on work with schools and now caters for 20,000 pupils each year. The majority are of primary school age, although vocationally-orientated work with secondary school students is increasing. In addition to the animal pens and sheds, facilities include an education room, an adventure playground, a picnic area, and a purpose-built trailer for exploring the wider estate.
School groups can choose to work in a self-guided way or have activities led by the farmyard staff. For the latter, teachers are given the choice of four National Curriculum-linked themes looking at: (i) new life and growth; (ii) caring for animals and the environment; (iii) understanding people and places; or (iv) products and materials.
The main focus for all activities in the farmyard is getting as close as possible to the animals for the younger primary school children and looking at the realities of agriculture and animal rearing with the older secondary school students (see below).
Foundation/Key Stage 1 Pupils
Key Stage 4 Vocational Catering Students
See and handle sheep and chickens and become familiar with their size
Talk about how they are cared for and what they produce e.g. milk, eggs
Sensory trail in nearby woodland or trailer ride around the parkland
Look at different animals and livestock products
Help to milk cows, collect eggs and discuss these processes in more detail
Talk with the butcher and the baker in the farm shop about processing the end product and quality
Staff at the farmyard feel that, regardless of age, visitors can develop an understanding of farming and livestock. Children and young people can gain first-hand insights into the links between healthy living and food production, as well as experiencing the wider rural environment. In addition, students considering a career in rural work can gain some sense of the realities of farming and associated countryside vocations.
In order to maximise the benefits of visits, school staff are strongly encouraged to visit the farmyard prior to their group visit in order to plan their programme and conduct a site risk assessment. Farmyard staff are keen to work with staff to tailor programmes for their pupils’ age, ability and curriculum requirements.
Chatsworth Farmyard & Adventure Playground
T: 01246 583139