Last month, the Duke of Westminster, in his role as President of The Country Trust, welcomed a group of primary-school children to his family’s Eaton Estate in Cheshire. The Duke spent the day with Year 4 children from Brynteg CP School in Wrexham, giving many of them their first opportunity to experience the countryside, helping them learn about natural habitats and conservation, and explore their class topic - the magic and mystery of the forest.
During the visit, which was designed to support their school curriculum, the children discovered forestry and its value to wildlife under the guidance of the Eaton Forestry and Conservation Team. As a group they learned how people can interact sustainably with the environment, how to measure a tree’s age and height (pictured), the importance of new planting sites and the ecology and biology of woodland. The Eaton Estate foresters are responsible for the ongoing care and management of around 485 hectares of woodland. All of the forestry on the Eaton estate is managed sustainably with more than 100,000 trees planted last year.
The Duke of Westminster said, 'Hands on activities, and contact with the countryside, can bring rich experiences to children, which are vital to their self-esteem and wellbeing. Through my work with the Country Trust I want to help give children the opportunity to transform their understanding of the countryside and learn how to care about their own and the wider environment. Crucially the aim is for the children to have fun and build happy memories, which is what I hope we have enabled during this visit to Eaton.'
The Country Trust brings food, farming and the countryside to life for thousands of children each year. As President, the Duke works closely with the organisation in supporting its vision to develop an understanding of the countryside through quality learning experiences for every child experiencing disadvantage or disability. Just under a third of the pupils from Brynteg School are eligible for free school meals.
The Duke has a keen interest in addressing poverty of opportunities for children, and providing life experiences that will help build their confidence as they grow. Through the leadership of his family foundation - the Westminster Foundation - he is looking forward to helping create many other opportunities for children and young people that will allow them to navigate the challenges of life in both urban and rural environments.
The Duke’s family has been welcoming children on Country Trust visits, which have included visits to Grosvenor Farms (a major dairy farm) and Abbeystead in Lancashire, for more than 25 years. The charity has also benefitted from long standing support from the Westminster Foundation, which represents the philanthropic activities of the Grosvenor family.