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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...


16 Oct 2020





It’s Monday afternoon and 10 volunteers from Bradfield College need to be picked up with tractor and trailer at 3-30pm.  I have just heard that apples are required for juicing for post 16 pupils from Castle Special School tomorrow morning first thing.  There is no problem as Bryan has given us a big box of very nice looking cooking apples.  They are sitting safely in the cool of our very cold shower room.  As I am about to move the apples Lindsay explains her proprietorial rights over them and a discussion starts.  Fortunately, I have chatted up our new neighbour, Graham, a mile up the road. He has generously offered his bumper harvest (it usually ends up as pulp on the road outside his house). He emerges to greet us, interrupting an important meeting on Zoom, and not realising our crisis and his vital role in this temporary but serious marital dilemma.  Within half an hour and a session of pole-picking our problems are solved.

Tuesday we are ready for the pupils from Castle, and the same number of staff.  So, for one team it’s wash the apples, cut them into smallish chunks, into a bowl and then into the masher. The next lot hold the masher carefully above the press and steadily and skilfully turn the handle, avoiding the odd bit of apple squirting at them. And then the exciting part as the press is put in position and slowly screwed down.  There is a rush of frothy juice clear and pure until even the strongest person can turn no more, and another 3 wine bottles are filled.  After pasteurising it will keep for years, but not today.  It’s apple juice with packed lunches for the teams sat on logs at Oaklands, spaced to meet current regulations.

We have been so pleased to have Bradfield Primary year one doing forest schools, and year 6 piloting our “Growing for Good” courses. A number of other schools have come on river and farm visits and our staff have enjoyed the opportunity to practise what they are very good at after a 6-month gap. We have had some D o E camps without camping and Pangbourne Silver Band had their first practice together in the barn, following scout leaders’ training in the cart shed. You know you are always welcome to come and enjoy the Rushall Manor site.  This evening the colours of the trees, fields and sky meant I had to stop and stare with wonder at the beauty of this hidden valley.

John Bishop