Lambourne End Centre in Essex boasts a big classroom, full to the edges with tools for countryside education. Their latest venture is Dusk till Dawn, exploring the wonders of the dark hours and the re-emergence of the sun. Experience bat detecting, camp fires, a starlight sleepover and waking to the avian chorus at dawn.
For daytime activities the site includes a working farm, with cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, ponies and a range of poultry, and gardens both beautiful and bountiful, with lots of flowers, fruit, and vegetables - more than enough for your 5-a-day. The fields have an abundance of different grasses and wildflowers - aromatic lady’s bedstraw and the insects’ favourite knapweed to name a couple. Two acres of trees make a '100-acre wood' for Winnie the Pooh fans with ancient ash and oak pollards, along with younger trees of different flavours. Not forgetting the cordwood building and a large, parachute-covered bushcraft area. Old hedgerows and newer ones divide the site and create more habitats and opportunities for visitors and the wee beasties, with a great autumn crop of blackberries, rosehips, sloes elderberries and a few hazel nuts the squirrels have kindly left.
The pond is a bit sad at the moment. With dry winters and hot summers over the last few years it has lost about a meter of its depth, providing a climate-change lesson. But it’s still full of life, with platforms to dip for water scorpions, empire dragonfly larvae and more.
Developers Bodgit, Flogit and Legit want to build on the wildlife area as they say nothing lives there. The children have to help find all the creatures to stop the development.
Lambourne End Centre works with thousands of children and young people every year spending time in nature reclaiming some of the “Lost Words” on day visits here, or as a residential experience. As a registered alternative education provider they take small groups for a re-engagement programme helping them to get back into mainstream education. City and Guilds qualifications are an option for some groups who may be more comfortable in an outdoor 54-acre classroom. For more information about school visits or a bespoke programme visit the website.