Sparsholt students debuted expert skills to thousands of visitors at the College’s annual Countryside Day event. Leading demonstrations and have-a-go activities, students spent the weekend entertaining the public and showing them the experience acquired from their courses.
Principal Tim Jackson said: “Countryside Day is a superb opportunity for us to invite people on campus. Visitors get to experience our growing facilities and see what makes us such a successful land-based college. Families with toddlers through to grandparents were able to witness everything we do at the leading edge of land, animal and plant careers.“
Guests were greeted by Sparsholt’s herd of Holstein cows, before weaving their way through the College farm, via sheep shearing and tractor demos, through to the Equine Centre. There, students shone with top-quality showjumping and dressage displays, as well as giving pony rides to small aspiring equestrians.
For the thrill-seekers, Arboriculture students competed in pole-climbing competitions. Racing each other and the clock, students climbed to reach the top of the 45-foot poles as quickly as possible. From there, they were able to see the sprawling campus and view attractions from sheepdog and runner duck displays to shire horse-logging.
Have-a-go activities are at the heart of Countryside Day. From tree and wall-climbing, clay pigeon shooting, getting under the bonnet of a car or playing a game of wheelchair basketball, Sparsholt’s visitors were entertained all day. The College also offered animal encounters in the Animal Management and Aquatic Research and Conservation Centre, dog grooming demonstrations and a sneak preview of Horticulture’s upcoming garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Made in partnership with Veterans from the Help for Heroes charity, The Force for Good garden focuses on mental health and wellbeing. The garden will open at the internationally recognised show on 23 May 2018.
Tim Jackson concluded: “It’s great to see so many new and returning faces on our campus to enjoy Countryside Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students and staff’s skills to shine in front of a big audience. The positive feedback from visitors this year made all the effort worthwhile.”