KIDS HAVE FUN DOWN ON THE FARM

Thanks to the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, children from a special school in Tewkesbury enjoyed a day out at the Cotswold Farm Park in July.

The wardens are the voluntary arm of the organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds Conservation Board and have offered this service, which they call 'Kids Out' in the northern part of the AONB, for many years. They work with various schools in and near the Cotswolds, to give youngsters with special needs hands-on contact with live animals.

This year, 19 children aged 7-11 from the Alderman Knight School were treated to a morning snack before meeting baby chicks, rabbits and guinea pigs, then watching a cow being milked.

They then traced their way in and out of a Cotswold maze, and clambered through a woodland safari, meeting various traditional breeds of animals and birds before having a picnic lunch.

During a trailer tour of the whole farm park in the afternoon they spotted two ginger piglets that had escaped from their compound and were proud to report their find to the farm manager.

"Today was an eye-opener for our children," said school teacher Hannah Silverthorn. "They'll be talking about it non-stop for weeks."

Cotswold Wardens North District chairman Robin Cochrane led the team of six wardens who accompanied the children and their teachers.

"We are delighted to offer this service. It's part of our job to extend the understanding of the landscape to everyone, young and old. And the wardens themselves find the contact with these children a moving and satisfying experience."