Science Days and Woodland Sessions on the Ledston and Otterden Estates



Our 2020 Autumn Term Woodland sessions on the Ledston Estate near Leeds, proved to be very popular. Schools visited in their class bubbles and following COVID-Secure guidance, we were able to use the Education Centre for toilets and hand washing.

“The children were fully engaged throughout each activity. The information, vocabulary and learning activities all related to our Year 4 expectations. The visit was run to a good time scale and followed Covid-19 guidelines; making all children and staff feel safe at all times.”

We believe that the benefits for the children’s mental and physical health and well-being, outweigh the potential risks. As long a schools are open, and following government guidelines, we shall be running sessions at Ledston throughout 2021.

With the help of the Wheler Foundation, Countryside Learning now carry out bespoke Science Days and woodland sessions on the Ledston Estate near Leeds in West Yorkshire and the Otterden Estate near Faversham in Kent.

Letter from Head Teacher who we ran a bespoke day for can be viewed here. Thank you letter from Borden

The site at Ledston also benefits from an Education Centre.


We carry out a range of activities during these sessions and can adapt sessions to fit in with the topics that schools would like to cover.  These sessions are free of charge. Please email Barbara for more details



Quotes from children at Ackworth Howard School

“Thank you for a lovely opportunity. I really enjoyed making dens. I learnt lots about trees and wild animals. You were really fascinating in the classroom.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to come to Ledston Wood. It was even better than I imagined. It was outstanding! You gave us LOTS of information. When we were going back to school I felt disappointed as I felt it was the best time ever.”

“It was a great experience for me. I love all nature. Thank you for everything you did for us, it was a marvellous day. My opinion is that everyone should come to Ledston Wood because it is a great place and we all enjoyed it. I loved the games we played and the scavenger hunt was amazing.”

“The trip was spectacular and I loved every bit of it. I thought the experience was exceptional and no one should miss it. I learnt lots from you and hope to learn a lot more! On the way back I had the biggest smile on my face.”



Woodland sessions at Otterden have increased significantly and we now run sessions in April, June and October. These sessions are free of charge. Our  Education Officer, Guy Ledger, based down in Otterden, also runs his own Forestry Management Company, L M Forestry in Ashford, so can show the children how the wood is processed and can also fell a tree for them, which is always a popular activity. If you were wanting a session at any time other than the above then we may be able to accommodate you. For further details please email Barbara

Some comments from teachers:

” The children had a lovely time. They don’t often get to go outside or have these experiences.  It was very valuable.”

“Another fabulously inspiring session – MANY THANKS Barbara you were wonderful with my class and it was a pleasure to work with you again.”

“Barbara conducted our visit authoritatively and she was an excellent source of answers for the children.”

“The best organised trip I have been on as a teacher. The kids and I loved it.”

“Guy was entertaining and extremely knowledgeable and both adults and children enjoyed the morning.”

“It was a great trip and the children really enjoyed it and took so much from it. Thanks for organising a fun educational trip”.

“Barbara had some really great practical activities that she did with the children that they all really enjoyed. She also had a great rapport with the children and they learnt a lot more about the different types of trees.”

“A fantastic day, lead brilliantly by Barbara. Brilliant activities that were all age appropriate, interactive and informative. Thanks”

“Thank you for a great day, the children really enjoyed it and the staff and parents that also came commented on what a good trip it was.”

“It was a lovely morning. Guy is brilliant with the children.”

“Fabulous session, well planned and very engaging. Great resources and enough of everything. The children (and adults) really enjoyed it and have taken lots away from the morning.”

“An extremely informative session, packed with activities and learning. A dynamic delivery by Mrs Brannigan.”

“I spoke to the Y4 teacher and she was very impressed with Guy. The children had a great time and were full of chatter about it when they got back to school.”

“Thank you for the fantastic workshops that you provided for our Year 1 children. The feedback I got from pupils and teachers alike was excellent.”

“Barbara was fantastic and the experience was tailored to our needs perfectly, would definitely recommend.”

“Very good! Would do it again! Barbara was fantastic with the children.”

“Thanks again Barbara – as ever, professionally delivered. You motivated, encouraged and enthused my group of younger children this time.”

“Excellent educational visit to embed tricky concepts.”

“Very enjoyable session, led by a very good, enthusiastic, knowledgeable practioner.”

“Entertaining and informative.”

“The children loved the interactive elements of the workshop – the scavenger hunt was a particular favourite.”

“All the children really enjoyed the den building. The workshop was very educational and Barbara was great!”

 “The children really enjoyed the opportunity and benefitted from this activity. They have carried their enthusiasm over into the classroom based work which includes art (still life drawing”, science (habitats) and literacy (recount and information writing). “

 “The children had a wonderful experience and particularly enjoyed the shelter building activity. On our return to school, our Head asked a child what mark they would give the visit out of 10 and she said 11. I think that says it all!”

“Just wanted to thank you and Guy for making our visit today so fantastic. The children had a wonderful time and learnt lots about trees, seeds and looking after woodland. Enabling the children to explore and interact with the woodland helped them to better appreciate all that it gives us. It was such a valuable experience.”

 “Thanks for a wonderful session. We all enjoyed it so much. What a wonderful opportunity for the children to run around and enjoy the wood and learn so much at the same time. We have ditched our original lesson plans and spent the rest of the week learning more about trees. You really inspired us! We are going to plant our new trees in the school grounds next Monday and also make a huge collage of a tree on the school field.”

 “The workshop was very educational and Barbara was great!”

“Thanks Barbara, it was just lovely, especially the freedom the children had to explore the woods and fields.  They loved it and many said it was the best trip they have ever been on”

“Guy was brilliant at making the morning interesting and fun for the children. Every child was full of enthusiasm for the activities they had taken part in and said they had a great time . They passed this onto their parents at the end of the school day. Staff too felt the trip was invaluable for the children we had brought and the activities were very appropriate and well pitched.”

“Thank you so much Barbara for a brilliant day. The children really enjoyed it, many saying it was their best trip ever! I thought it was excellent, great knowledge, games and very well organised. You were fantastic with the children and set a great pace to their learning. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to the next one already. “

“Guy was very informative and good with the children. The children all listened well as he captavatied the children’s interest. Barbara was also very good working with the children getting them interested, investigating and doing the activities with them. the children listened and responded well to her. They were both excellent.”

“Just wanted to thank you and Guy for making our visit today so fantastic. The children had a wonderful time and learnt lots about trees, seeds and looking after woodland. Enabling the children to explore and interact with the woodland helped them to better appreciate all that it gives us. It was such a valuable experience.”

“The children enjoyed the morning, although it was early in the school year for bringing out a Reception class, Barbara was very good at being at their level making it interesting and fun, and the children all came back to school happy. Thank you”

“Enthusiasm of session coordinators was great. Very willing to answer children’s questions. Children loved all activities.”


If you would be interested in a bespoke science day or woodland session, please email Barbara Brannigan

Showing the children how the wood is processed to make fencing



 Moving the felled trunks onto the tractor               


Cutting the trunks into logs for the fire


Counting the rings to see the age of the tree      


Disc rolling competition


Leaf Identification

leafID2SMALL    leafIDOtterdenSMALL

Learning is fun in the woods                               


Display at school


 A couple of thank you letters – please click to enlarge

thankyouletter1SMALL    thankyouletter2SMALL

The acorns that will grow into trees                           


Yoga Tree Pose


Tree Measuring


Bone Collection


Den Building                                    Taking a well earned rest

CompletedDenSMALL    TreeStumpSMALL