A girls harvests a carrot. She has a look of awe on her face A girls harvests a carrot. She has a look of awe on her face

Could you host farm visits for children?

Farmer Hosts are vital in opening the world of food, farming and the countryside for children


#EducationalAccess  #EqualAccess

As the leading education charity which connects children to the land, we rely on the amazing network of host farmers, to enable us to reach 10,000s children each year.

In 2022 we're embarking on our new 5-year plan, to reach more children than ever before. Due to the impact of Covid-19 and the growing numbers of families living in poverty, we're acutely aware that our work and the experiences we provide, in collaboration with farmers and growers, are now more important than ever before.

"It would have been daunting being a host for schools without The Country Trust. They take care of everything, so that the farmer can just enjoy the visit. My advice to anyone considering becoming a farm host is just to give it a go and trust the coordinators." David Thompson, Farmer and Country Trust Host

Keep in touch.

Find out more about hosting and how farmers across the country are making a difference.

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter


What is a Farmer Host?

Hosts are The Country Trust's lifeblood. Quite simply, we could not operate without them. We are very fortunate to have hundreds of dedicated farmers, growers and estate owners throughout the country who throw open their doors to welcome primary age children and teachers from the towns and cities in their region. 


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What happens on a visit?

A class of children (or 2 classes if you have space) from areas of high deprivation visit your farm for a hands-on day of discovery. The benefits to the children are immense, providing them with unique experiences of the countryside that just would not be available to them in the normal course of their lives. They see some of the most beautiful parts of the country and meet the people who are responsible for growing our food and managing the countryside.


“It is hugely rewarding welcoming children to our farm to be touched by their raw energy and zest for life. There’s nothing better than watching the light bulb moment when a child connects something we are doing to their food.”  

Christy Willet, Arable Farmer and Country Trust Host


Is my farm, estate or setting, suitable?

There are just 6 things that we consider for a safe and successful visit:

1. Access for coaches/minibuses: Most coaches are large 50-70 seaters, but some companies have 30+ seaters by special request. Can a coach reach your farm? You’ll also need to be sure that a coach can park and turn around at the farm.

2. Insurance: You will need to inform your insurance company that you intend to host a school visit and arrange appropriate cover as part of your Public Liability insurance policy. The level of cover will need to be at least £5 million.

3. Handwashing facilities: We take handwashing very seriously, though facilities don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Hands must be washed using liquid soap, rinsed in warm running water, and dried. Country Trust staff can bring additional mobile hand washing equipment on the day of the visit.

4. Toilet(s): The number of toilets needed for a visit depends on how many children are coming, and how old they are. You will need to tell us whether your toilet has wheelchair/disabled access so that we can match schools appropriately.

5. A clean area, ideally undercover where children and adults can eat lunch. Outdoor areas for eating packed lunches must have been clear of animals for at least three weeks. Sheds that have been used for animal housing must have been thoroughly washed out and disinfected before they can be used as a lunch venue. Other indoor areas and local community spaces will be considered and risk assessed as part of the visit planning.

6. Risk Assessments: We expect all hosts farms to have a Risk Assessment for school visits. If you haven't already got one don't worry we can offer support.


How much does it cost?

The Country Trust is a charity and fundraises so that its Coordinators can support schools and farmers, free of charge. DEFRA offers Educational Access Payments (ED1), enabling farmers to claim £309 per visit, for up to 25 visits per year via and new claims can be submitted with Countryside Stewardship applications which reopened 8th February. To be able to claim, applications must be part of Mid or Higher Tier packages. Unfortunately, farmers cannot claim Educational Access as a standalone item – though the Country Trust continues to push for this. The Rural Payments Agency will be publishing a series of blog posts to help you prepare your application.


**Update regarding Educational Access Payments **

Farmers who signed up to new Mid-Tier agreements last year, who were unaware of the availability of ED1 should be able to add it to their agreement. In the first instance, they should contact their RPA adviser or email: ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk and request ED1 is added to their agreement.  

If they encounter issues having ED1 added to their agreement, they can contact Linda Kelsall at the Rural Payments Agency (linda.kelsall@rpa.gov.uk). I am in regular contact with Linda, and she has promised to help resolve any ED1 issues.  

Read more about this update here.


I'm interested, what's the next step?

Get in touch with the Country Trust: info@countrytrust.org.uk. One of our team will advise you on:  

The six considerations (see above list).

The learning opportunities on your farm, including the crops that you grow and the livestock you raise, wildlife, history, geography, environmental features, and other enterprises that might be included in the visit. Children love to see animals, even ponies and chickens! They also love meeting farmers and people who work on the farm.

Shaping a programme for the day, including activities that will showcase your farm and the way you make your living

Email us today:  info@countrytrust.org.uk


Keep in touch.

Find out more about hosting and how farmers across the country are making a difference.

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter


#EducationalAccess  #EqualAccess

"At first I was quite nervous as I was worried that the children would be cheeky, get bored, or laugh at me. But that went away quickly when I saw how they were struck by everything they saw during the visit. Not just the size of the animals and machinery, they were also in awe of the space, the quietness, everyday things that I’ve always taken for granted."

David Thompson, Farmer and Country Trust Host


Useful links: 

Rural Payments: (opens Gov.uk webpage) 

Educational Access Payments


Other education providers:

LEAF Education works­ to engage, inspire and moti­vate young peo­ple through expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, in order to equip our future gen­er­a­tions with bal­anced and informed insight into food pro­duc­tion, farm­ing and the environment.

NFU Education is a small team of former teachers, we understand the challenges faced by the profession so all our resources and initiatives have been designed with three main goals in mind:

To save teachers time and reduce workload

To spark learners’ passion and enthusiasm for STEM subjects

To convey important messages about food, farming and nutrition through a cross-curricular, project-based approach

RHET (Scotland Only). The Royal Highland Education Trust works with volunteers to provide free educational activities and experiential learning opportunities linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

Farm Link (Devon and Cornwall) is dedicated to educating school children about farming, food production, healthier eating and the environment. To bring the classroom to the countryside and the countryside to the classroom.

Countryside Classroom helps teachers to find resources, places to visit and school support relating to the themes of food, farming and the natural environment. Our site contains a range of quality assured educational content from hundreds of contributors. Countryside Classroom works through a partnership of 34 organisations with a focus on food, farming and the natural environment.

Access To Farms is a partnership of organisations that helps farmers inspire the next generation by offering safe, fun access to farm visits.  Access To Farms is responsible for the creation of the Industry Code of Practice: preventing or controlling ill health through animal contact at visitor