Fishing, digging and wading - a wonderfully detailed account of the Rushall Farm geography trip, written by Hugo Harris in Year 7:
When we arrived at the farm we put our bags away and got into our classes. First we went on the trailer of a tractor to a hill to do soil testing. We stopped at the top of the hill to dig a hole and see if the soil was clay, sand or loam and to see which one is the best type for growing crops. We dug a hole as a group and poured a bit of water into it to see if it drained away or not. Our instructor took out a handful of soil and gave us each a bit of it. It was like playing with modelling clay - it didn't let the water through very easily and the roots couldn't grow in it well, so there was a lot of moss. They used this field for grazing and not crops. We got given a booklet of questions that we had to record our answers in.
Next we went to the bottom of Annis field and dug a hole and recorded that the soil was much more sandy. This field was used for grazing too as there wasn't enough loam to allow the crops to grow well. Then we went to the wood where there was a massive chalk wall which was really old, dating back to when the dinosaurs were around. We had a look at the wall and its history. Afterwards, we moved on to see the chickens. We went into the chicken pen and fed them some bread and biscuits, similar to dog biscuits. There were two chickens that managed to escape our clutches and went running around the farm.
Just before lunch we saw the baby lambs and cows who were really cute. They were just a few weeks old. We also saw a pig with her 12 little piglets. These were only a day or 2 old and were so small and funny. Then we sat down in a field and ate our packed lunch together.
After lunch we went to the River Pang in a trailer, once we arrived at the river we put on our waders and got into the river. We measured the depth and the width of the river. After we recorded our results we measured how quickly an orange would travel 5 metres downstream, which took about 19 seconds. We learned all about rivers earlier this term and it was good to see how all the processes we had learned about work in a real life river.
After we had measured everything we went a bit further downstream in the river and did some fishing. Our instructor said that the cleaner the river was the more species of animal and fish we were likely to find. I caught a mayfly, a water flea, freshwater shrimp and a leech. My friend Tom caught twelve fish!
After our good time a the river we went back to the farm to collect our bags and say 'goodbye' to all the instructors and get on the bus. We had a wonderful day at the farm and really enjoyed learning about the animals, the different soils you need to make your farm work well and how a farm can diversify to make lots of money!