Ernest Cook Trust - outdoor learning at Gore Farm. Trent in DorsetThe Ernest Cook Trust is celebrating a decade of school visits to its Gore Farm Education Centre on the Trent Estate in Dorset.

Infants from the local Trent Young’s Endowed School donned their wellies for a special celebratory visit to the farmyard – ten years after the farm’s very first school trip, also by the village school.

The children toured the farm and helped feed the lambs, met some newborn calves and  handled days-old chicks and ducklings before going to the woods to build dens. 

Teacher Janet English was also on that first trip ten years ago. “Our children always love coming to the farm,” she said. “It’s so well organised and the activities are always made relevant to the topics we’re studying.”

Tenant farmers Stuart and Tessa Casely began running education programmes for the Ernest Cook Trust in 2005 after giving up dairy farming and seeking a new use for redundant buildings.

Since then around 24,000 schoolchildren have toured this 400-acre working farm, in Trent near Sherborne. Today the farm hosts education visits ranging from pre-school children to undergraduates.

Nicholas Ford, the Ernest Cook Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a great milestone for the Trust and represents a real achievement for our education team in Dorset, who have increased numbers of visits to Gore Farm year-on-year just by word of mouth.”