The Chatham Green Project is a dynamic and immersive environmental education initiative based on a 400-acre arable farm, five miles from Chelmsford. We engage young people with the amazing natural world around us, covering topics such as wildlife and biodiversity, plants, animals and habitats, and growing food.
We are extremely lucky in that we have so many wonderful teaching tools around us; 10% of our farm has been set aside for conservation and education alone, giving us 40 acres of open meadows, woodland, Jubilee tree plantation, pond and streams for children to explore wild nature. Here, they can learn about curriculum topics such as plants, animals, lifecycles and habitats in a hands-on and exciting way.
We have created a special horticulture zone to support additional learning about growing food, which includes a polytunnel and veg beds, where children can try planting, caring for plants and even eat veg straight from the ground!
This workshop takes us out into the golden wheat fields to feel and smell wheat first hand. Children always comment on how spikey and sticky wheat is, and love running along the tractor tracks. We also take the opportunity to amble along the field margins, spotting birds and wild deer tracks as we go, allowing children to experience first-hand how farming and nature can exist together.
Using picture cards, groups are tasked with ordering how the wheat they are looking at eventually becomes the bread in their sandwiches. Picture cards include images of ploughing and fertilising the ground, sowing and harvesting, and more… all the way to the bread on the supermarket shelves. Before long, children are making their own bread right there in the sunshine at the side of the wheat field, cooking it over camp stoves and open fires!
We have so many different groups coming through the Chatham Green project, and no matter what they are there to do, they always engage with farming and nature here in the best possible ways. Schools are our largest groups, but we also welcome Beavers, Cubs and Brownies throughout the year, as well as work experience and volunteer groups. We run children’s camps and work with forest schools too.
We consider our farm to be our living classroom, and see our special 40 acres as a wildlife haven and wild space. We exercise Leave No Trace ethics in all that we do, and promote a Leave No Trace mindset to all of our visitors. This means that we try to minimise our impact on our precious environment, and urge others to do the same, not just while here at the Chatham Green Project, but always.
We hope to see you here sometime soon!
Ever wondered how you might bring nature, farming and food into your own school or educational space? Read these 5 top tips for starting your own school farm.