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June 10th, 2024

School children connect with the River Rother

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School children connect with the River Rother

As part of the Downs to the Sea project, year six pupils from Fittleworth School had a watery adventure last week when they got time out of the classroom to get closer to nature.

Led by the Western Sussex Rivers Trust, the school children were lucky enough to get involved with a variety of activities along the River Rother including sketching, meditation, wildflower observation, fly fishing tutorials, river dipping, minibeast sweep netting and a river feature walk.

The day was part of the developmental phase of Downs to the Sea, a project headed up by the South Downs National Park Authority and South Downs Trust which aims to bring together environmental organisations, farmers and communities to create and restore priority wetland habitats in the National Park and beyond. Find out more about the project here -

As part of the project, a bid for funding has been submitted to employ an officer to work with Parish Councils on river focused projects, as well as an Education Officer who will be able to run sessions like this one with schools to help connect children with the watery habitats on their doorstep.    

James Russell, teacher at Fittleworth school, explained how valuable this type of outdoor learning for children is: 

“Having the opportunity to venture out onto the Rother, walk the banks and investigate our local wildlife is tied inexorably to our schools values and the National Curriculum.

We are so lucky to be surrounded by such a beautiful landscape and ensuring that this is appreciated, maintained and preserved by future generations is a task of critical importance. The children were able to think about the role of water in the landscape and the role that it plays in their lives. 

Now, more than ever, do we need children to engage with environmental issues and I would welcome the chance to take more children to experience this in the future. The staff that led the day were extremely knowledgeable and captured the children's attention, along with patiently answering any questions that they had. Thank you for arranging such an educational experience!”

A special thank you to Andrew Thompson, the Leconfield Estate, and Mark Temple, fly fishing tutor, for helping make the day happen. Fingers crossed we can do many more such trips in future if we get the funding…

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