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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

24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


May 2016


May 2016

7 Apr 2016




Today a chestnut tree has exploded into bright green leaf. The enormous cherry trees in the woods behind are about to shower the landscape with white blossom.  A pond by the motorway is teaming with tadpoles with congestion a certainty in a few days’ time. The sound of bird song at dawn seems to express a simple joy of being alive. So does the cock pheasant as he proudly attends his sometimes 3, 4 even 5 rather smart looking mates when they drop into the garden to dine around the bird feeders.  Two squirrels playfully hunt for buried acorns, being careful not to spoil their attire, while a couple of pigeons perform a rather awkward courtship on an overhead cable.  The natural world announces amidst all the other voices that an important event has happened. Spring has arrived and it’s unstoppable. In the early eighties Rushall Manor was becoming derelict.  The main farmhouse had been demolished, there was a large dung heap in the centre of the yard and the pond was camouflaged with vegetation which covered the stuff of ages. In 1983 John Simonds died when driving home in the farm pickup along Back Lane.  He was just nineteen.  We had already been inviting school groups onto the farm and hosted the occasional camp and open day.  The extreme sadness of this tragic event compelled us to bring a positive response.  We wanted to somehow capture the energy, fun and love of living that should be the experience of a young person. Rushall Manor, with it’s beautiful location, the historic barns, the woodlands and surrounded by a working farm, was waiting to be used. Like spring arriving, the John Simonds Trust has been unstoppable, with many young people’s lives being in some way changed by their experience of coming here. This year we celebrate 30 years since the Trust was formed and reflect on the privilege it has been to be involved in such a worthwhile project. “For all creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” Romans 8: 19 John Bishop