Bickley Hall Farm

Cheshire Wildlife Trust's main office 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. We can offer a combination of packages to suit individual needs these include.  

Workshop packages:

Pond dipping - The children will work in small groups collecting pond creatures and recording what they find. We will then study them in more depth on our big screen through a goose necked camera. 1½ hours. CL - KS1 & 2 Science

Dragonfly Workshop (suitable for Yr’s 5 and 6) – This workshop will look closely into the life cycle of Dragon and Damselflies (hopefully we will have seen some during the morning). The children will make a dragonfly on a stick to take home. 1 hour. CL - KS2 Science & Art.

Creatures of the Night Workshop – This workshop will look at which creatures inhabit the habitats at Bickley Hall Farm at night and the children will make a bat hat or a clay hedgehog to take home. 1 hour. KS1 Science & Art

Newt workshop – Seasonal March to June only - An interactive, ‘hands-on’ talk with live animals used to inform the children of the life cycle and lifestyle of our native newts. They are then given a unique opportunity to get ‘close up’ with a great crested newt as they are allowed to handle them carefully. 1 hour. CL - KS1 & 2 Science.

Minibeast Hunting – Using the farmland at Bickley Hall Farm the children will go on a Minibeast Hunt. They will search the grassland, hedges and trees using demonstrated collection techniques. 1 hour. KS1 & 2 Science. CL - KS1 & 2 Science.

Seasonal food on the farm - Looking at how the farm is providing food for both people and wildlife during the four seasons. The children will get a chance to cook something seasonal for their lunch. Half day. CL – Science and Food Technology.

Wild English - Throughout the seasons there are many opportunities to develop literacy skills outdoor. This session can include creating and telling stories and poetry inspired by the outdoor experience. A naturally framed piece of literature will be made to take home. Half day. CL – Literature.

Wild maths - Using the natural environment children will engage in a number of mathematical exercises to find out things like, how old a tree is, how tall a tree is, how we estimate wildlife populations in nature and how we use counting to help us identify species. Half day - CL Maths.

Natural art - Children will create many varied pieces of art using natural materials and the wonderful colours abundant in nature. Half day - CL Art.

Wild weather – The children will learn how to monitor and record weather conditions at Bickley Hall Farm, become a weather forecaster for a day and look at how weather affects people and wildlife. Half day. CL - KS1 & 2 Geography.

Environmental Games – The environmental games session will reinforce the messages of the day and give the children a chance to apply what they have learnt in a fun way.

Green Christmas - This session will be a celebration of Christmas and its place in the natural world. The children will learn about how Christmas can be made more environmentally sustainable. Make green gifts such as nest boxes and bird feeders, turn recycled Christmas cards into gift boxes, new cards and labels and make Christmas decorations from natural materials. Half day. CL - Art and design, Design and technology

Cost:

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.

For more information contact Jan Shone: jshone@cheshirewt.org.uk

Downloads

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bickley_hall_farn_flyer.pdf2.3 MB
activities_program_for_bickley_hall_farm_food_farming_2017.doc255 KB