Crewe youngsters’ £500 fundraiser topped off with wildlife farm visit

Mablins Primary SchoolChildren from Mablins Lane Primary School in Leighton enjoyed a visit to the local Wildlife Trust farm after raising £500 for the nature charity.

Around 80 youngsters headed off to Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Bickley Hall Farm near Malpas, and were some of the first visitors to a new £120,000 learning centre which is now housed inside the farm’s 100 year old cow barns.

The children recently held a ‘Brew and Bake’ day to raise money for the Trust and children from the school have been visiting the farm every summer for the last four years.

Set in 206 acres on the Cholmondeley Estate, the wildlife-friendly farm is home to native breed cattle including English Longhorns and Dexters, and Hebridean and Shropshire sheep.

The Trust welcomes around 2,000 children each year through its farm gates, but until recently was only able to accommodate them during wet weather in a cleaned-out area of the main cattle sheds.

Following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid and support from the public via an appeal, the lower section of the traditional barns has now been converted to a modern teaching facility featuring two classrooms, washing areas and a kitchen. The classrooms also lead straight out into a dedicated area of ponds, meadows and an orchard where the children are free to explore.

Mablins Lane CWT (c) Tom Marshall-1-2During their recent visit, the children were able to enjoy minibeast hunts, making art dragonflies and spotting the real thing on the farm’s ponds, along with the ever-popular pond-dipping which included a chance to come face-to-face with the farm’s rarest residents, great crested newts.

Nick Rowles, from Cheshire Wildlife Trust said:
“We’ve been welcoming children from Mablins Lane for a few years now and it’s been great to have them back as some of the first people to use the new education centre, which they have generously been fundraising for.

“We’ve enjoyed a fantastic summer so far, and with the new centre available for us whatever the weather throws, we hope even more youngsters will soon be able to get their first experience of nature with us here at the Wildlife Trust.”

Dawn Addison from Mablins Lane Primary school added:
“The children were really keen to raise money to support the project at the Wildlife Trust farm because they had heard from previous groups what a fantastic time they would have when they visited.

They felt very proud that they had played a part in the new centre and yet again we had a superb visit giving the children the opportunity to compare a rural habitat and the creatures within it to the urban area around our school in Crewe.

Finding the newts and looking at the beautiful moths were a highlight for everyone.”

To arrange a visit for your school, or to find out more about the Bickley Barns and opportunities for hiring the classroom or conference space, please call Cheshire Wildlife Trust on 01948 820728.

Mablins Lane CWT (c) Tom Marshall-1

(l to r) – Freya Walton, Bridie Brassington, Nathan Moles, Sasha Hollingworth (CWT), Molly Jump and Max Krawczyk, being introduced to a rare great crested newt.