Half term at National Trust

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Autumn is the perfect time to get outside with the family and create unforgettable moments this October half-term. With all kinds of family-friendly events, woodland adventure days and spooktacular Halloween trails on offer, the kids won’t get bored at the many National Trust properties in the area.

Here are just a few ideas for you –

The Vyne, near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL (just over the border in Hampshire) 
01256 883858
Young witches, ghosts and all manner of things can wander The Vyne’s gardens enjoying Halloween trails for all ages. Two mysterious trails will keep under 7s and over 8s entertained. Families can embark on their challenge by paying normal admission and £2 for each Halloween trail sheet at Visitor Reception from Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November, 10am-5pm
Halloween spotter trail (up to age 7)
In the gardens, collect your £2 activity sheet from the Halloween tent and look out for 10 photos of animals mistakenly linked with witchcraft. Return your completed sheet to the tent for a chocolate prize. £2
Halloween rune trail (ages 8+)
On this mystical adventure through The Vyne’s gardens, decipher 16th-century runes to reveal a secret word. Collect your £2 activity sheet from the Halloween tent and look out for ten signs hidden around the gardens. Each sign will translate a symbol into a normal letter. Write each letter in the corresponding box on your activity sheet to work out the mystery word. At the end, return to the Halloween tent to collect your chocolate prize. £2

Hatchlands Park 
There’s a whole host of activities at Hatchlands Park this half term including plenty of pumpkins for you to carve and a new trail in the parkland. The little ones can scamper about in the tree house and bug burrow. Explore Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren and get to grips with hand-crafted willow tunnels, domes, balance beams, sculptures and a totem pole.
October half-term trail 
Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November, 10am-4pm
Pick up a sheet from reception to discover forgotten folklore and seasonal superstitions on a trail through the parkland and claim your pumpkin prize at the end. £3

Dapdune Wharf 
As darkness falls on Saturday 26 October, test your fitness and your fears in the 2k night time run around the haunted Wharf and island. Look out for the witch of the Wharf and a string of spooky surprises on the way. 2k run, jog or walk.  Soup from 4.30pm, warm up from 6pm.  Run starts at 6.15pm
Dressing up encouraged.
£2.50 for bowl of soup and fun run.
Booking essential, call 01483 561389

Petworth House and Park 
Visit Petworth House and Park this October half-term and join in some awesome autumnal fun. Take part in the fun, imaginative trail, helping a little bat plan a party. Plus make your own Bat Box at one of our craft days over half term.
Autumn Trail 
26th October – 3rd November, 10am-4pm
It’s party time at Petworth! One of the young bats is throwing a huge spooky Halloween bash for the creatures in the Pleasure Ground but he can’t find any of them. Some of the animals are just too scared of bats to come to the party. Can you find them and discover if bats are as scary as they think?
Find all of the animals and answer the questions on the trail sheet to complete the trail and win a prize.
The trail is suitable for children aged 5 and upward and is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Prizes can be claimed at either Church Lodge or Car Park Receptions. £3
Spot the pumpkins 
Pumpkins have been spotted growing in the strangest of places at Petworth this Autumn. Some have even popped up in the mansion! Can you help find them for our house team? Find them all and get a sticker reward. £3
Halloween Crafts ‘Make Your Own Bat Box’ 
29th, 30th and 31st October, 11am-4pm
Come to one of the autumn craft sessions and build and decorate your very own bat box to take away and hang in your garden. £5

Find out more

For more details about these and other events at National Trust properties

Autumn walks

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Photo: National Trust – John Miller

Autumn casts a new light on familiar landscapes. When trees blaze with orange, red and gold, shady woodland is transformed into a dappled golden path. Nature’s last hurrah before the long sleep of winter, it feels rude not to enjoy the show.

I’m lucky enough to work for an organisation that loves and looks after woodlands. The National Trust cares for more than ten million trees across the country and last year we funded 38 different tree and woodland projects across the South East.

Everyone is welcome in the woods we look after. We want them to be loved, explored and enjoyed by as many people as possible. There are also things we can all do to help look after woodlands, such as taking our litter home, picking up after our dogs, not allowing them to chase wildlife or disturb nesting birds and keeping to the paths.

A mature oak tree has about 700,000 leaves, providing food for the tree and enough oxygen for 10 people for a year. As leaves start to die, the tree takes back reusable proteins and green chlorophyll, revealing the yellow and red pigments produced by sugars remaining in the leaf. The best and most long-lasting colours develop with warm, bright days and cold nights, slowing the transport of sugar from the leaf. Try to catch a falling leaf – it’s trickier than you think! A good way to identify wildlife is to look for nibbled nuts; an excellent high-protein food for fattening up before winter.

Here are some favourites in your local areas…

Surrey & West Sussex

Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming, is the National Trust’s only arboretum. Enjoy a walk through the woods as the autumn explodes with colour while younger ones can clamber over the new tree adventure, complete with climbing wall, fireman’s pole, rope tunnel and ladders. Dogs welcome. Normal entry. Facilities & tea room.

Hatchlands Park at East Clandon, near Guildford, has a 4.5km circular walk which follows the edge of the park through woodland. Dogs welcome. Free parking. Facilities, café & shop.

Admire the colours over the Devil’s Punch Bowl on the Hidden Hindhead Trail, the lovely walk crosses the A3 and takes in some spectacular views. Dogs welocome. Car parking. Café and food kiosk & facilities.

Take in Dapdune Wharf to St Catherine’s on a River Wey walk at Guildford. This dog friendly route offers some spectacular views at the highest point of the walk before you descend to the valley bottom. Parking available.

Petworth boasts 700 acres to explore – but you don’t need to do them all in one day! Stroll round the Pleasure Grounds, enjoy a three-mile walk through the park or discover the ancient trees that dominate the skyline here. Parking, café and facilities. Dogs allowed off leads in deer park and on a lead in the Pleasure Grounds.

More information

Visit the National Trust website for more information about any of these walks and those further afield

Headlines & Hedgerows

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Our countryside & its wildlife is at risk. We encourage you to join the campaign to save our endangered hedgerows and share an exclusive extract from John Craven’s new book.

The hedgerows that criss-cross our countryside are not only an iconic sight, but a vital habitat and corridor for many of our native species. However, they are becoming increasingly fragmented which is threatening the wildlife that depends on them.

We’ve lost about half our hedgerows since WWII. Although the rate of direct hedge removal has been reduced, hedgerows are being lost simply through how they are managed.

“With 70% of UK land being agricultural, hedgerows offer the safest route for wildlife to travel across farmland,” says Megan Gimber, key habitats project officer at PTES. “Sadly, many hedgerows are becoming ‘gappy’, which fragments this amazing network. And, without more sensitive management, many hedgerows are at risk of being lost altogether. This is problematic, especially when we’re seeing a fall in numbers of the animals that depend on them, such as hedgehogs, bats, hazel dormice and song thrush.”

In Britain, habitat fragmentation is thought to be a limiting factor for the distribution of some species and a threat to others’ survival. Corridors play a vital role preserving a number of species deemed ‘at risk’. Some 16 out of the 19 birds included in the Farmland Bird Index, used by government to assess the state of farmland wildlife, are associated with hedgerows.

Healthy hedgerows reduce soil erosion, flooding damage and air and water pollution. They provide forage for pollinating insects, predators to keep crop pests in check and shelter for livestock, reducing deaths from exposure and improving milk yields. Hedges help us fight climate change by storing carbon and reduce the damage from flooding.
To take part in the Great British Hedgerow Survey or find out more, visit hedgerowsurvey.ptes.org

Hedgerow. Credit Allen Paul Photography & Shutterstock.com
annie-spratt-cZFe4oIIPg8-unsplash
An extract from John Craven’s new book

Headlines and Hedgerows is published by Michael Joseph

We have all heard that well-known piece of advice first coined by W.C. Fields: “Never work with animals or children.” Well, I’ve done both throughout my career (in fact, I couldn’t have succeeded without them!) so in my case at least that old adage is totally wrong.

I suppose one reason for my longevity is that I have never been very ambitious. I have not sought the headlines, never seriously courted celebrity nor been tempted to take chances on high-profile but potentially risky and short-lived programmes – apart from one, and that was Newsround, which was a six-week experiment in 1972. Thankfully it is still going strong so, as it turned out, it was not much of a gamble and a recent poll in Radio Times placed Newsround at number three in a list of the top 20 children’s programmes of all time.

And Countryfile is often in the top 20 of most-watched shows. During my 30 years there I’ve seen rural issues ranging from social isolation and deprivation to the way our food is produced climb higher and higher up the national agenda. That our audience is split pretty evenly between country dwellers and townies proves to me that, united as a nation in this at least, we want to preserve, protect and enjoy our glorious countryside…

For my Countryfile interview with Prime Minister David Cameron, we met for an hour at Cogges Manor Farm, a rural heritage centre in his Oxfordshire constituency. The cameras were set up around the kitchen table and before he arrived a lady who seemed to be in charge of his “image” wanted to know where he’d sit. She checked the angles and saw a large Welsh dresser in the background. “Could we move some of those plates and ornaments,” she said. “It’s too fussy.” It proved that politicians have learned to be careful what’s behind them on screen. An exit sign, for instance, would be the last thing they wanted.

When Mr Cameron came in, dressed casually in a jumper – this, after all, was Countryfile – he said “I was brought up on you, John!” I don’t feel particularly old but it’s alarming when the man leading the country says you were part of his childhood! We had a wide-ranging conversation and he had no idea of the questions beforehand. I challenged him on his plan to make his administration the greenest government ever (which didn’t really happen) and overdevelopment threats to the landscape. “I care deeply about our countryside and environment,” he told me earnestly. “I’d no more put them at risk than I would my own family.”

Today, I wonder what he’d make of the report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England revealing 15,500 new houses have been approved in areas of outstanding natural beauty in the years since. We also talked of his plans for a free vote in Parliament on bringing back hunting with hounds (which never happened) and persuading all other EU countries to enforce farm animal welfare laws as diligently as the UK (still waiting for that). I was impressed by his detailed knowledge of rural issues, even when pressed for details. A few months later at a Downing Street lunch for people involved in all aspects of the countryside, he smiled and said he hadn’t expected to be grilled by “a rural Jeremy Paxman.”

The Great British Hedgerow Survey

To take part in the Great British Hedgerow Survey or find out more

Think pink!

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It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – support the cause by buying these items & wearing pink on Friday, 18th October

1. Tickled Pink Ben & Jerry’s Love Is Topped, £2.50.

2. Dove Pomegranate, £2.85.

3. PG Tips, £2.

4. ghd gold ink on pink styler, £139.

5. Simple wipes, £3.

6. Pot noodle.

7. Vaseline Rosy Lip Tin, £1.50.

8. Lulu Guinness Breast Cancer Now Natasha in chalk blush, £145 .

9. ELEMIS Breast Cancer Care limited-edition Pro-collagen Marine Cream, 100ml.

Find out more

Please visit website to join the campaign!

Guildford town race

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Guildford’s first closed-road running race starting from the town’s cobbled high street takes place on 13th October. 

More than 1,000 runners are expected to take part, choosing to run either 5k or 10k in support of the charity partner Harrison’s Fund. 

The charity is named after Harrison Smith who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic condition which causes the muscles to waste away. One in 3,500 boys is born with the condition, the average lifespan is just 20 years of age and sadly, it is fatal. 

Dad Alex said they were excited to be the title charity partner for this first race in Guildford. He added: “It is such an iconic place with wonderful vistas that anyone who is a keen runner should take part. 

“By choosing our charity to run for you really can make a direct impact on a young person’s life.” 

Runners of all levels are invited to take part in the chip-timed races which are on flat routes from the cobbles towards Clandon and back. 

There’ll be plenty of points for spectators to stand and cheer runners on as well as live bands along the way to encourage competitors, all of whom will receive bespoke medals at the finish line. 

To take part in the run visit https://harrisonsfund.com/events.php/Runs-Walks-1/ 

If you prefer your entertainment to be more stylish then how about going to the Sky High Ball on 18th October. Now in its seventh year, the ball is the highlight of Harrison’s Fund’s year. After champagne on arrival, you’ll enjoy dinner with wine, table games, a goody bag for the ladies and the opportunity to bid in the silent and live auctions. 

More info

To find out more about this great event and to book a table…

A-Wey day at Wharf

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Illuminated boat pageant at dusk is the highlight of a day beside the river

Fingers crossed the sun shines again as boaters and visitors alike are welcomed to celebrate everything that is great about the river at the Wey River Festival.

There’ll be plenty to do, such as willow weaving, archery, a. pirate boot camp, Surrey Wood Turners and plenty of crafts and children’s activities.

Foodies will want to make a bee line for the stalls, with local jam and honey as well as things to tuck into as you wander round.
The highlight of the day is the illuminated pageant at dusk, with boats travelling from the centre of Guildford to Dapdune Wharf, brilliantly lit up. And while you wait for their arrival at Dapdune, experience the night sky with Guildford Astronomical Society through their magnificent telescopes while being serenaded by Croydon steel orchestra.

All this takes place on the tranquil waterway which runs for nearly 20 miles through Surrey. The Wey was one of the first British rivers to made navigable and opened t barge traffic in 1653.

The award-winning visitor centre at the Dapdune Wharf tells the story of the navigations and the people who lived and worked on them.

This is a ‘no parking’ regime at Dapdune Wharf this year, so please use town centre car parks. There will be a drop off facility for those unable to walk very far.

The event is free and starts at 11am on Saturday, 21st September.

If you can’t go along on the day, the Wharf is well worth a visit at other times with boat trips and trails to be enjoyed.

More info

The event is free and starts at 11am on Saturday, 21st September.

Windsor Fringe 2019

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Theatre, comedy, music, dance, family shows, a pop up record stall and music around a fire pit are among some of the many amazing attractions at this year’s Windsor Fringe. 

There are more than 130 performers and artists, showcasing local and national talent at the event from 20th September to 6th October, the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. 

The launch party kicks off the festival with music from DJ Steve Nash and guests playing everything from reggae and jazz to funk and disco with drinks and food from street vendors to make it a great way to start. 

Among the many musical highlights of the festival are jazz singers Claire Martin and Ian Shaw with A Century of Song (21st); traditional music from Spain with The Maiden & The Thief (25th); The Magic of Motown (27th) and An Afternoon of Music & Colour brings R&B and funk on the 29th. 

There’s theatre in the form of The Red Balloon (21st) and a trip through Shakespeare in The battle of Love and Power (29th) before you go on Journey’s End on 1st and 2nd October. 

Join a Victorian Windsor walking tour, discover Queen Anne’s Windsor and enjoy some of the work put on display by more than 30 artists at open house events around the town.  

The family is well catered for entertainment to suit all ages from dance to an arts festival day and join The Last Puppet with an adventure aboard ship. 

The festival also features the 16th international Kenneth Branagh Award for new drama writing. The three finalists’ plays will be performed nightly on 3rd, 4th, and 5th October before a panel of judges chooses the overall winner – why not watch one a night at The Old Court and decide for yourself? 

Windsor Fringe

To find out more about all the events at Windsor Fringe and to book tickets

Field day!

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Five educational benifits of visiting a farm

• Sensory Development – toddlers discover and learn about their world through the five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. What better place to awaken all of these than a farm? Stroking animals teach children about what different textures feel like. Do they prefer the soft touch of a rabbit compared to the wiry texture of a sheep? A farm is also the perfect place to develop the skill of listening. All of the baas, moos, oinks and neighs will help children identify the animals’ unique sounds. And there is no need to mention how smelly farms can be…

• Motor Skill Development – motor skills are constantly being developed through a toddler’s life. Motor skills are simply anything that uses their muscles. Gross motor skills involve large movements such as running across the field to greet a cow, or climbing up on a haybale. Fine motor skills are small movements such as holding a brush to groom a horse, or picking a blade of grass to feed the goats.

• Language Development – this is the process by which a toddler learns to understand and communicate. Now, the animals may not be able to talk back but children love to chat away to them and perhaps because they can’t respond the children fill the silence happily with even more chatter. And what a great place to learn lots of new words – it isn’t every day that you would need to use the words ‘combine harvester’.

• Empathy – toddlers begin to develop the ability to understand and share the feelings of others and this isn’t limited to other humans. Asking children questions such as, “Do you think the sheep likes being stroked?” and “Do you think the rabbit is hungry?” will help children consider their feelings.

• Food Production – it is more relevant than ever that children start understanding where food comes from. Learning that the lovely soft, feathery chickens produce eggs and that pulling on the tuft of green leaves will pull out a carrot is a great starting point. But why stop at the farm? Why not create a vegetable patch at home, or start with something more simple such as growing cress in a pot. The possibilities are endless!

With all of these benefits to be gained why not join Highfield and Brookham Schools on Friday 27th September, from 10am – 12pm, for their free hands-on educational farm experience morning for children aged 2+? They have teamed up with Mill Cottage Farm in Alton to bring all of these benefits to your child for free!

Sophie Baber, Head of Brookham School, says “Farms are magical places for little eyes and hands, and act as educational playgrounds for young minds. We are delighted to invite children aged 2+ to the farm as it is a great opportunity for them to learn about and interact with a variety of friendly farm animals, as well as the countryside and nature. Children will have the chance to stroke and brush the animals, aiding their sensory development, and to identify the animals, which can help encourage language development. We look forward to welcoming you to Brookham.”

Book your free place at highfieldandbrookham.co.uk/farm-visit

About Highfield and Brookham Schools:

• Highfield and Brookham Schools are in Liphook on the edge of the Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex borders. They can be found nestled in the South Downs National Park off Highfield Lane.

• They are a nursery, pre-prep and prep school for children aged 3 -13.

• Optional boarding is available for children from Year 4.

• Facilities include a newly refurbished nursery, Forest School complete with a tree house, on-site swimming pool and 175 acres of grounds.

• Specialist teaching in PE, Modern Languages, Music and Forest School.

Highfield & Brookham

For any further information, please contact Charlotte Green on

[email protected]

 

 

Milestone millions

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In May we told you about the Community Foundation for Surrey and the work they do to support causes through its family of donors, they are now delighted to have reached a magnificent milestone

Emerge Advocacy_WEB
Artventure Trust_WEB

The Community Foundation for Surrey has now awarded more than £10million in grants to support local charities and community groups.

The philanthropic organisation works with local donors wanting to give back to their community by connecting them with projects in Surrey working to improve health and wellbeing, the disadvantaged, the environment, education, sports and the arts.

In 2018 and 2019, more than £1.4million was awarded across 436 grants – the greatest amount in a single year since the charity began.

Among those to have benefitted are Emerge Advocacy and Artventure Trust.

Emerge Advocacy was launched to provide mental health support to young people admitted to A&E at Guildford’s Royal Surrey County Hospital in response to their needs and vulnerabilities. Supportive adults operate as mentors for patients during their time in A&E and after to reduce anxiety and help young people engage with services which may be able to help.
Founder of Emerge Advocacy, Joy Wright said: “There has been significant demand for Emerge projects across a number of Surrey hospitals. This grant from the CFS has made it possible for us to launch a further project at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, that is now busy supporting young people with a variety of mental health issues.”

The Artventure Trust works with adults with learning difficulties enabling them to be creative, have fun and make new friends in a supportive environment. Sessions improve self-expression, develop skills and enhance self-esteem through the use of a variety of materials and techniques allowing clients to produce unusual and exciting art.

Trustee of Artventure Trust, Paul Charlesworth said: “At a time when local authorities are cutting back on funding for learning disabled adults, we have been very lucky to have secured financial support through the CFS. This has allowed us to carry on with our work in support of one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in our society – for which we are most grateful.”

Announcing the fantastic achievement of the £10million milestone, CFS Chief Executive Laura Thurlow thanked all those who have helped reach this. She said: “Our aim is to encourage and inspire more local people to join our growing family of donors. If you are wanting to support your local community, we would love to hear from you.”

The Foundation is due to launch a report next year highlighting the needs that still exist in Surrey.

• More than £25million has been generated to support Surrey communities since 2005

• Each year the foundation supports more than 200 voluntary groups across the county

• UK Community Foundations have collectively awarded over £1 billion in grants

Surrey Community Foundation

For more information, visit

Perfect ingredients

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Surrey’s food and drink hero is back!

The multi award-winning Woking Food and Drink Festival is back for the seventh consecutive year.

Spread across Woking’s main pedestrian areas, the free to attend festival has all the ingredients to serve up three days of delicious feasting, fun entertainment and interactive activities for all the family, from Friday, 30th August to Sunday, 1st September.

Taking centre stage in Jubilee Square, the purpose-built Woking Shopping Demo Theatre, supported by culinary innovator Magimix, will be home to 20 free live cookery demonstrations featuring celebrity and local chefs.

The festival is set to welcome back, Sabrina Ghayour – a successful author, cookery class and supper club host and regular TV guest presenter on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Also making appearances are Surrey-based Chris Bavin, co-presenter on BBC’s popular Eat Well For Less and Martha Collison, Great British Bake Off quarter finalist, Waitrose food columnist and cookbook author.

A visit to the festival would not be complete without a foraging mission among over 80 food and drink traders; all fully stocked with artisan products, freshly prepared dishes and tipples.

Don’t forget to save some room for a free bite-size talk or two on a vast range of subjects from gin distilling to bees and spices to butchery.

Topping off this free to attend gastronomic experience, there’s also a smorgasbord of family entertainment on the menu – children’s cup cake decorating workshops, culinary inspired masterpieces at the arts and crafts workshops, street entertainers, live music and much more!

Wokingham Food & Drink Festival

For more information, including how to book a place on some of the bookable activities…