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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



Latest from blog

November 2021

November 2021

22 Nov 2021

“May your word to me be fulfilled” My granddaughter S...


Farmer John’s Blogs

October 2019

22 Oct 2019

Lindsay and I met at Reading University in 1967.  We were both studying Agriculture.  Four years later we got married and Lindsay worked for the University Farms presenting data and I became assistant farm manager on one of those farms, Churn Estates.  My experience of large-scale arable farming was very limited, so with cereals, potatoes, peas and sugar beet to harvest, as well a huge industrial machine to dry lucerne and a lot of pigs and sheep, it was all quite a challenge.

September 2019

24 Sep 2019

Today eighteen mainly young people from the international accountancy firm Ernst & Young came to Rushall Manor for the day.  They are encouraged to take two volunteering days each year as part of their contract.  If everyone took up this opportunity, the 500 strong work force based in Reading could contribute 1000 days into charitable projects in and around Berkshire.

July 2019

19 Jul 2019

Last weekend 105 scouts and 25 leaders descended on Rushall Manor for the second of two preparation camps.  They are heading off to Uganda over summer on a three-week expedition, helping construct a school, with a safari at the end of their stay.  On the first camp they were learning to lay bricks, basic carpentry and manual skills.  This camp was focusing on team building including a drumming workshop, tomahawk throwing, archery, first aid, staying healthy and learning to be self-reliant for food and cooking it! They also had to fill potholes on the farm tracks, sort out some trees across footpaths and clear the scrub and piles of decaying timber and accumulated stuff from the improved workshop at Oaklands.

June 2019

4 Jul 2019

At Rushall Manor work on Oaklands Yard is progressing rapidly, with July as the likely completion date. The building was planned to meet the needs of young people coming from two local special schools. We had found that the facilities at Rushall Manor have been restricting the benefit of their time here. Oaklands offers the opportunity to provide their special place which is accessible for all in a secure space where we will have the opportunity to develop current activities and new ones including raised vegetable beds, beehives, woodland products and a greenhouse. We also see it as a place where children who are not thriving in the classroom can have their needs addressed.

Image of Schools at Rushall Farm

May 2019

10 May 2019

He sighed. I sighed, and we sipped our tea. “It isn’t right, they are cutting down the rain forests in Brazil.  That’s like the lung of the world.  Where are the International leaders to say we must stop destroying the world for our children?”

April 2019

23 Apr 2019

This weekend a group of 20 adults and 10 children from Forest School Camps (FSC) have been here on a work party.  They come twice a year, and in October had demanded more than cutting brambles as their main task. So, encouraged by the flurry of activity at Rushall Manor, they have built a log store, made a new walk way onto the main track, cut back around the old cottage site and the pond has a new floating island complete with spacious accommodation for a duck.

ewe with triplets outside

21 Mar 2019

      We have just finished clearing out Oaklands Yard at Rushall Manor.  For 20 years it was the home of Pang ...

Image of John Simonds Trust Report 2013

February 2019

1 Feb 2019

A number of people have admired our new toilet and shower block at Rushall Manor. I’ve always loved putting my hand down a drain, so ...

January 2019

10 Jan 2019

When we first came to Rushall Farm in February 1974 it included 275 acres north of the M4 at Mapletons, land known well for its flints ...


November 2018

6 Nov 2018

Why did Jesus say ‘I am the good shepherd’?  At that time everyone knew that shepherds could not be trusted! They couldn’t testify in a court of law in Israel.  They were known for their thieving, that they lied, were poor and couldn’t be educated. It is like a farmer today putting “good” in front of the word “gypsy” or “traveller”.  Their reputation goes before them!

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