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Thanks to gift, Leighton Hall's new outdoor education programme is cutting edge
04 June 2021
With everyone increasingly aware of the benefits of fresh air and outdoor activities, Leighton Hall’s innovative new outdoor schools packages are already proving a big hit. Designed for Key Stage 1&2 primary school children, they have already inspired an exciting new partnership with Kendal-based outdoor equipment distributor Whitby and Co., currently celebrating 60 years in the town.

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Run in partnership with experienced outdoor educators Larksfoot Forest School, the four new outdoor-based courses complement Leighton’s existing indoor visits exploring the intriguing heritage and inhabitants of the historic 800-year old family home.

'Food for Thought', 'Wildlife Habitats', and 'Amazing Pollinators' make the most of Leighton's new dedicated classroom, vegetable and herb gardens, woods, estate trails, and bee-friendly insect corner to explore contemporary themes including nature, eco-sustainability, food provenance and cooking.

'Survival Skills' takes it to the next level of hands-on learning, with supervised sessions in fun bushcraft, safety, campfire and rescue skills. This had immediate appeal for Whitby and Co., who have a proud history of supporting environmental, wellbeing community and school projects.

"I was thrilled when Whitby's MD Phil Ellwood said they could help, after hearing about the new outdoor courses," says Leighton's estate manager Lucy Arthurs. "It became clear we shared matching passions about the benefits of getting children outdoors into nature and learning teamwork, confidence, and life-skills through safe, guided play."

True to their word, the Whitby delivery arrived within two days, just in time for Leighton's first booking from Arnside Primary School. It contained hot and cold insulated Klean Kanteen tumblers, specialist children's round ended lockable safety knives and peelers, with safety guards from Opinel, along with camping bamboo cutlery packs, compasses and safety fire-strikers.

"Teachers, children and the Larksfoot leaders all loved the equipment," praises Lucy. "The bright colours meant anything dropped was easily found in the grass, the fire-strikers and safety knives were unbeatable, and the mugs kept everyone’s hot chocolate warm without the usual spillages!"

"We can't thank Whitby enough for their support, it came at the perfect time, and proved, after an uncertain year, we'd made the right choice by investing in our courses, new classroom, log circles, yurt, and fire-pit. With these new facilities, Larksfoot's expertise, and Whitby's top of the range equipment, we are now planning to develop our programmes so older children and adults can experience the same fun and undeniable physical and mental benefits."