VOLUNTEERS have won a national education award for helping children re-create Tudor farming life.
The Tudor Farming Interpretation Project won a National Award for Innovative Learning from FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) supported by Bayer Cropscience.
The project is hosted by Elspeth and Paul Walker, at the Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle Farm in Sheen, near Leek, and is run by volunteers from the local community and the National Park Ranger Service.
It is supported by the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund and The Bingham Trust.
For the past three years local schools have been invited to spend a day outdoors immersed in Tudor farming life.
They dress in Tudor costume, collect vegetables from a Tudor garden, cook over an open fire, spin, weave and dye cloth, and become part of a medieval oxen plough team.
An entertaining melodrama called The Fight for Whitle Bank also helps them explore a land dispute based on historical records dating from the 1500s discovered by Elspeth and Paul.
The children even write their own wills using a quill pen to help them consider how their lives differ from the Tudor farmers.
Elspeth said: “It means a lot to us to win recognition from FACE. We hope the children leave us having developed an appreciation of what life was like here in Tudor times, how it contrasts with their own, and what lessons we can learn from our ancestors about sustainability.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it is really rewarding for us and for the volunteers.” Area ranger Lynn Burrow added: “The project was delivered through countless hours of research and work carried out in large part by volunteers from the community and volunteer rangers, helped by my fellow area ranger Rose Clarke and myself.
“I’m extraordinarily pleased that their dedication and efforts have been acknowledged by this award.” For more details, go to www.dovevalleycentre.co.uk.