Learning about rural life at Ardingly

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Thousands of children from 51 schools across Sussex and Surrey visited the Ardingly Showground last week to discover more about where their food comes from and all aspects of rural life.

The event was the seventh Connect with the Countryside Day - and a total of 2,300 pupils aged 10 and 11 and their teachers had a brilliant day in the sunshine gaining a better understanding of countryside issues.

More than 100 volunteers from the South of England Agricultural Society helped organise the day.

Assistant head teacher of Upper Beeding Primary School Mr Hughes said: “It’s a brilliant day. We come here every year just for the children to experience rural life and agriculture and this day brings all that – we are a rural school but a lot of our children still don’t come into contact with the surrounding countryside.”

And Mrs Lewis from Globe Primary in Lancing said: “I think it’s useful for the children to see how food is made because they don’t actually know where it comes from.

“We do now!” chipped in her pupils when she was asked this question!

Four special zones included Livestock, where children met a range of farm animals, from Sussex Beef bulls to chickens; Horticulture and Food, where children learnt about healthy food, tasting local tomatoes, fresh milk and honey and discovering how sausages, bread and butter are made.

Two Wildlife and Recreation zones also offered important countryside topics, such as nature conservation, forestry and countryside sports.

A Sheep Show, including sheep shearing, a Pony Club display and a Birds of Prey demonstration also delighted the children.

Said Derek Cleaver, of the Society’s Education Committee: “This exciting, interactive day, offered free to schools, captures the very essence of the Society’s charitable and educational aims and we would like to thank all who helped to make it such a success today.”