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North Hampshire schoolchildren learn about nature during springtime at Ewhurst Park country estate near Newbury





Several schoolchildren were invited to a North Hampshire country estate to learn all about the changes in nature that occur during spring.

Primary school pupils from Bramley, Silchester, Whitewater and Bishopswood collaboration of schools, along with St. Gabriel's and the home school network, were all invited to Ewhurst Park – a 925-acre estate located just south of Tadley – for a spring education day on Thursday, March 14.

Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14
Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14

The day began with the children decorating handmade bird boxes in natural colours so they would be disguised from predators when they’re hung up in trees around the estate.

Ewhurst’s head of ecology management Fiona Kenny said: “The children did a fantastic job and we were so impressed with their artistic skills.

“They then listened to a fascinating talk on migratory birds from Keith Betton of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, which got lots of hands raised and some interesting questions asked.”

Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14
Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14

After this, the children made their own bird feeders using a mixture of fat and bird seed that was then stuffed into pinecones.

They could either hang them up around Ewhurst’s own market garden or take them home to encourage birds into their own gardens.

The day ended with a talk from the estate’s ranger team on pond life in spring, with a focus on amphibians, damsel and dragonflies as well as Ewhurst’s much beloved beaver residents, Hazel and Chompy.

Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14
Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14

The beavers, the first to reside in Hampshire in more than 400 years, were released into a special enclosure within the estate in January last year.

The introduction of the beavers was a key part of the estate’s unique biodiversity project, which has been spearheaded by its owner, the Malaysian-born environmentalist, entrepreneur and former model Mandy Lieu, since she bought Ewhurst in 2020.

Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14
Ewhurst Park spring education day on March 14

Ms Kenny added: “Sticks which the beavers had chewed were passed around delighted children, and they were thrilled by the remains of a tree stump that had been felled by the beavers.

“The team at Ewhurst Park really enjoyed welcoming so many engaged young minds to the park, and are looking forward to welcoming more in the future.”



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