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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



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24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


April 2016

April 2016

18 Mar 2016

As a boy I spent many hours with my friends in Happy Valley.  We were the last row of houses going out of London on the A12. This was an area of grass and scrub with a stream flowing through.  At one end there was a largely empty transit camp.  To the side by the busy road was an area frequented by small groups of gypsies with horse drawn caravans.  A tricky paddle through the stream under the dual carriageway took you into the grounds of the Barley Lane Lunatic Asylum. We spent many in this area damming the stream, building dens, pledging allegiance to one another and then falling out.  The worst that happened to us was going home with a “boot full” or an urgent need for a Dock leaf.  I do remember that there were no bluebells in that part of Essex. What a contrast are bluebells, an indicator species in the ancient woodlands surrounding this area. Here they have been growing strongly since the beginning of January as a result of the very mild winter. The display this year is going to be exceptional. It’s the nations favourite flower, it has 15 biologically active compounds that may provide protection against insects and animals. Certain extracts are alkaloids similar to compounds used in the treatment of cancer and HIV. And 50% of the world’s Bluebells are in the UK. Last autumn we spent a day with a team of volunteers clearing brambles from an area which had previously been dominated by bluebells. Early spring flowers rely on growing vigorously before the woodland comes into leaf.  Where the canopy is open brambles quickly take over, a problem exasperated by global warming.  Oh please just enjoy the sight, smell and sensation of this wonderful display. You may catch a glimpse of this year’s bumper crop of lambs and the suckler cows with calves at foot or spring barley growing in neat rows. You may just come to Rushall manor and enjoy a short walk but tea in the Black Barn and support the work of the MS Society in Reading