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Hertfordshire farmer inspired to educate next generation
Monday, 01 November 2010 11:55
Lamb FeedingWhen Hertfordshire farmer Charlie Wray flung his farm gates open two years ago for Open Farm Sunday he was expecting around 200 visitors. His estimate turned out to be rather inaccurate - by 5pm that day Charlie and his wife Barbara had counted more than 1500 local residents on to their farm. The event could not be described as anything other than a true success.

Two years on both Charlie and Barbara remain committed to teaching children and adults about life on the farm. The couple have lived and farmed at Wayside near Kings Langley for 30 year's, and there have been many changes in that time. From taking on the tenancy in 1980 and having a few chickens, 17 cows and managing an area of 62 acres, they now have a Jersey herd of 75 in milk and manage 156 acres.

Recently Charlie has taken the CEVAS (Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) course. Run by FACE, a registered charity whose main aim is to educate children about farming and rural life. It has given Charlie the freedom to carry out his good work with the public on a day-to-day basis. The course covers preparing for visits, food and farming, the National Curriculum and talking to students and teachers. Charlie said “it wasn’t an easy course, but I am so pleased to have completed it successfuly, and I would recomend it to any farmer interested in helping edcuate the next generation about farming and agriculture. I learnt a lot whilst on the two day course, and it has aided my work greatly. Looking back It was definitely worth while doing”. Both Charlie and Barbara carry out their fantastic work educating the South East’s school children without any financial incentive, yet in an industry such as theirs time is so valuable in order to be productive.

Charlie’s view of farming is that it’s a way of life, nevertheless he worries that the same opportunities don’t exist for prospective farmers today.
Charlie said “We built the farm up from nothing, people couldn’t do today what we did 30 years ago here at Wayside - the start up costs would just be far too high. I find it sad since it’s such a fantastic way of life”.