Ringsfield Hall EcoActivity Centre
We have 14.5 acres of woodland and meadow, with loads of space for kids to have freedom to roam. Our animals are always very popular (pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, guinea pigs and peacocks), as are our sports pitches, art barn, music studio, tree house, but simply exploring the woods, climbing trees, and having 'freedom' outside is what children always say they love.
The Hall itself is a 14 bedroom Victorian house offering warm hospitality and locally sourced home-cooked food. Built in 1893, it was bought out of private ownership in 1975 to provide a place for children and schools to have a place away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday.
As for our Education Programmes, we’re one of only a few Centres in the UK running adapted residential ‘Earth Education’ programmes, and we draw on eco-therapeutic and child-led approaches to craft imaginative programmes. Each are tailored and differentiated according to the needs of a wide range of cohorts, and to suit curriculum goals.
The space we create for learning is certainly physical: the grounds, resources, hospitality, food and homely place to stay etc. But it’s also an emotional and psychological space: a way of being with children that is respectful, child led, and looks to educate the whole child.
Why book Ringsfield Hall EcoActivity Centre for Residential School Trips and Educational Visits?
The physical ‘space’ here is certainly quite unique and feels pretty magical. But what makes Ringsfield special is the emotional and psychological ‘space’ we create for students and teachers alike: respectful and child-led; educating the whole child; providing the freedom to explore and be creative; to build character; and to reconnect with ourselves, each other and the wider world.
Our approach has a unique blend of 4 key elements:
1. Earth & Nature Skills
2. Child-focused (Child-led and Child-centred)
3. Imaginative Participation (including drama, story, song, and social / emotional engagement)
4. Informed by Therapeutic Practice: influencing a 'way of being' with children.
Any good educational visit should combine these elements of physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s so important to create a space to disconnect from screens and reconnect with each other, with nature, and with ourselves; to encourage creativity, questions and character building.
We, like you, want to 'Plant Seeds of the Future', and do the deeper work of developing children and young people for a sustainable future: to reconnect them with themselves, others, and the wider world.
What activities are available during group visits?
Here are just a couple of examples of our current programmes, see our website for a full list:
Once Upon A Time (half day)
A mix of story-telling, drama and woodland immersion based around stories of your choice. Recent stories have included Peter Pan and well-loved traditional tales such as Red Riding Hood.
Autumn Changes (half day)
Meet the Squirrel and the Hedgehog in the Autumn season, preparing for hibernation and investigating the changes around them.
Stanley’s Stick (half day)
All aboard, line up on the platform for the train to Stockport! A programme based on the book, read back at school, the children follow the adventure of Stanley, discovering the many uses of a stick.
Journey into the Forest (half day)
Meet Molly the mushroom who is packed for her first holiday, but needs help to find her woodland friends. Using the map, the children discover the land of the Lilliputs, but not before visiting Carol the Squirrel, and Jenny the Owl the master of all hunters… Will you find the land of the Lilliputs...?
Focus: Geography, Science, Emotional Literacy, PHSE Citizenship, Art and English
Earth Walks & Earth Art (half or full day)
Discovering using our senses, allowing the space to explore the magic of the woodland. Activities could include Symphony of Sounds, Bug Hunting in the Basements, or creating Smelly Cocktails. Creating seasonal natural arts using paints, body art, clay work and more…
Focus: Art, PHSE and Science
Creature Comforts (3 day residential)
Exploring 3 different plant and animal habitats - enjoy pond dipping with Lily, woodland exploration with Robin the birdwatcher, and Flora the plant expert in the meadow. Use investigation and activities to discover how animals and plants have adapted to survive.
Focus: Geography, Literacy, Communication
Time and the Soil Cycle (full day)
A visit to Mother Nature's kitchen to discover how soil is made and investigation into the organisms that create it. Followed by a time capsule hunt to discover how humans have affected the soil cycle, students will investigate the soil cycle and how ecosystems change over time.
Focus: Geography, Science, Emotional Literacy, PSHE, Citizenship, Art, English
Bushcraft and Survival (full day)
Tinder selection, Fire making with a spark, cordage making, natural dyes, cooking on the fire, shelter building using forked poles, and if time grass basket making. Students will use natural resources and identify useful materials.
Focus: Science, Emotional literacy, PSHE Citizenship, Art, English
Earth Treks & Natural Media (half or full day)
Based on seasonal skills, sensory walks and foraging for natural materials. Creating 2D and 3D sculptures, weaving baskets, clay pots, and charcoal making with optional tool work.
Focus: Science, Emotional Literacy, PHSE Citizenship, Art and English.
Woodland Team Building & Communication (2 day residential)
Day 1 - Shipwrecked: Young person centred and Young Person led activities. The group find themselves shipwrecked and only a few items have washed up on the shore line. What now? Who makes the decisions? The children decide using different decision-making models on what they would need to survive and then put ideas into action. Shelter building, water purifying, cooking on the fire, fire lighting, tinder collection, nettle string making, and water containers could all be a part of ‘Survival camps’ needs. (can also be done as 1 day activity)
Day 2 - Four Islands: A journey in trade - a follow on session from Ship wrecked or Bushcraft day. The group is divided into four and all taken to their islands. There they discover a list of what they need to build and find to be able to survive for one week. Not all islands have their basic needs met and unless they think of something they will not survive. Using the model of Spokes Councils the children come to a trade agreement. (can also be done as 1 day activity)
Focus: Team building, decision making and woodland / survival skills. Supporting Science, Emotional literacy, PSHE Citizenship, Art, English, Design, Technology.
What size groups do you cater for?
Usually between 25 - 55 for residentials, but we can squeeze in up to 70 in the Hall, and can take very large groups if arranging additional camping. We can take much larger (or smaller) numbers for day visit activities.
Do you offer on-site classroom facilities?
Yes - our Games Room is a multi-purpose indoor space, as is the conservatory of the Hall. We also have a drop-in art barn space, and a music studio. However, we have 14.5 acres of 'outdoor classroom' that are fantastic too!
Is there first aid on site?
We do have designated First Aiders, but schools usually designate this responsibility to a staff member.
Do you offer access for visitors with disabilities?
Yes, though as with any additional need we recommend discussing your requirements with us.
Do you cater for visitors with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?
Yes we do - we have staff experienced with varying behaviours and needs. As a centre we offer one to one sessions for those struggling with mainstream education, as well as nurture groups on and off site. We recommend discussing the level of need or challenge presented by individuals or groups to ensure we can offer an appropriate level of support.
Our facilitators are Forest School trained, but this ethos is just our starting point. We’re one of only a few Centres in the UK running adapted residential ‘Earth Education’ programmes, and we draw on eco-therapeutic and child-led approaches to craft imaginative programmes. Each are tailored and differentiated according to the needs of a wide range of cohorts, and to suit curriculum goals.
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Need more inspiration?
We are bursting with ideas on places that deliver first class teaching both outside the classroom and as in-school workshops. Below are a few similar suggestions to Ringsfield Hall EcoActivity Centre , or head to our tailor-made trip form and let us know how we can help you!