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Highwoods Country Park provides a variety of habitats for study including woodland, grassland, pasture, scrub and wetland. It is an ideal place to consolidate classroom work for a range of subjects. We offer a range of staff-led environmental education programmes that support national curriculum requirements for Early Years, Key Stages 1 and 2. We can also provide support and equipment for you to lead your class on any of the activities. Our activities offer children a unique hands-on experience in safe but natural outdoor classrooms. The park offers 2 permanent orienteering courses with associated maps (intermediate and advanced) which are ideal for testing map reading and compass skills. Detailed information on school visits can be downloaded below.
Education sessions can be Ranger-Led or Self-Led, the sessions start from 10am onwards most weekdays, please complete the relevant enquiry form and you will be contacted by the Education Officer soon after.
Ranger-Led sessions cost £4.10 per child for sessions up to 2.15 hours long (eg 1 hour session, 15 minute break/changeover, 1 hour session), other timetables are available on request.
All equipment for Ranger-led activities is provided by Highwoods Country Park. If you decide to run any self-led activities alongside a Ranger-led activity then the equipment will be provided for you at no additional charge, please return all equipment to the Visitor Centre at the end of your activity.
Self-led sessions can be run whenever the park is open (including evenings and weekends). The use of a Country Park site for a self-led education session is free of charge if you use your own equipment, alternatively education equipment can be hired from Highwoods Country Park at a rate of £25 per set and should be returned in good order.
We require a self-led enquiry form to be completed to notify us that you wish to use the park's facilities and to prevent clashes at specific sites e.g. pond dipping platform.
Education visits are predominantly run from Highwoods Country Park although other Colchester country park sites can be considered on request.
If you want to book a self-led session that is not educational please refer to our 'Events and Organising an event' page
What happens once you submit your enquiry?
If we can accommodate your enquiry, you will receive a confirmation email detailing the key points of your visit. Attached will be a collection of documents including:
Once you have signed and returned your agreement you will be sent:
At this point you are booked in and can notify the families, coach companies etc.
If we are unable to accommodate your booking, we will be in contact via phone or email to try to find a time and date to suit your group's requirements.
Access and Facilities
Highwoods Country Park is easily accessible by road, rail and bus. The Visitor Centre is accessible to wheelchairs and provides bag-drop facilities, toilet (including accessible toilet) and a small gift shop. There are several picnic areas with tables close to the Visitor Centre for lunch breaks. New natural adventure play areas provide an added bonus to your visit. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs by calling 01206 853588.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational concept of enabling children to learn in an outdoor setting, preferably woodland, and aims to compliment classroom teaching. Through hands on learning in a natural environment children are given the opportunity to develop self-confidence and self-esteem. The learning experience is child-initiated and child-led, with adults playing a supporting role, assisting the children in learning at their own pace. Forest School meets many of the curriculum requirements for EYFS, KS 1 and KS2. It is also beneficial to older students, particularly those with behavioural or emotional difficulties. Forest school takes place over time (minimum 6 sessions) on a regular basis, whatever the weather: this allows children to make a real connection with nature and its changing seasons.
The country park and a number of our other sites have locations within them available for use by Forest School leaders. If you are looking for a site to run a Forest School please contact us.
To request an enquiry form for Self Led, Ranger Led or Forest School activities please email Kelly.Betts@colchester.gov.uk stating the type of form you require and the date you propose to visit. Please request forms at least 2 weeks before your proposed event, completion of an enquiry form does not constitute a booking, you will receive separate confirmation if your session can go ahead.
Tel: 01206 853588
Or download the Educational Visits Guide Guide below:
Highwoods Country Park Educational Visits