Cheshire Wildlife Trust's main office, conservation-grazing base and farm education facility.
Bickley Hall Farm is located in south Cheshire around three miles from the village of Malpas and around eight miles from Nantwich between the A49 and A41. The 210acre (85ha) site provides children with a fantastic opportunity to experience both farming and wildlife at first hand.
The farm has a dedicated nature trail leading off the popular Sandstone Trail walking route to the west of the farm, and is also home to Bickley Barn, our education centre opened in summer 2014.
As part of a wildlife-friendly farm management regime supported by Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) programmes, we also produce spring barley, species-rich hay and silage for winter feed.
Our species-rich hay meadows and pastures have ‘wild bird mix margins’, which are great for invertebrates, small mammals and in particular, hundreds of feeding finches in autumn and winter. Other species found on the farm include badgers, brown hares, great crested newts, skylarks and lapwings. Birds of prey include kestrels, buzzards, sparrow hawks, barn owls and hobbies during the summer.
There are seven ponds on site, several of which are suitable for safe pond dipping sessions. We have a specially-designed tractor trailer platform that we can push in and out of the pond as the water level changes. There is a wide variety of pond invertebrates and creatures found in our ponds including water boatman, snails, newts, newt larvae of various stages and dragonfly nymphs.
Swathes of wildflowers, hedges and wild field margins provide excellent habitats for minibeast hunting for school visit. We also have wildlife rich ditches, an orchard and arable fields, which support many wildflowers and arable farmland birds.
The Bickley Barn
Bickley Hall Farm is now home to a purpose-built countryside classroom nestling inside one of our 100-year-old traditional cattle barns at the heart of the farm. This all-weather facility complements the array of outdoor habitats such as ponds, meadows, hedgerows and an orchard, which are just seconds from the classroom door. The barn has two fully equipped teaching rooms, boys' and girls' washrooms (including disabled access), a small kitchen, plenty of bag storage and a patio area with picnic tables to enjoy lunch over looking the farm.
A visit to Bickley Hall is a unique chance to immerse youngsters into the world of the countryside and nature on a true working farm, with our staff able to bring you closer to rare newts, butterflies, dragonflies and a wealth of underwater aquatic wildlife
Our Great crested newts
The farm is home to the endangered Great Crested newt. As we have a special licence to handle them carefully we are able to give the children a unique opportunity to get ‘close up’ with the newts and handle them too.
Education days for your school at Bickley Hall Farm
The countryside offers an invaluable teaching resource. The visit can be used to teach many aspects of the curriculum through learning about farming and the countryside.
Learning opportunities at Bickley Hall Farm include:
- Farmland habitat studies which will involve real life wildlife experiences. These educational sessions will look at farm habitats such as ponds and ditches providing first hand wildlife experiences
- A study of nature’s harvest looking at autumn fruits and seeds and how this can provide food for both wildlife and people.
- Art – art on the farm is an important part of many sessions taught here when we use the world around us to inspire a piece of art which the children can take away.
• Pond dipping
• Minibeast hunting
• Seasonal food on the farm
• Creatures of the night
• Literacy outdoors
• Great crested newt workshop
• Seasonal wildlife on the farm
• Wild maths
• Natural art
• The secret lives of nocturnal animals
• The newt workshop
Full day of activities - £250 for a group of up to 30 children
Half day of activities - £175 for a group of up to 30 children
Larger groups can be accommodated so if you would like to bring more children then please talk to us.