Arger Fen & Spouse's Vale
Sudbury CO8 5BN
Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale is a fascinating mosaic of ancient coppice woodland and new naturally regenerating woodland alongside wet meadows and rough grassland. The reserve's contrasting habitats create a rich environment for wildlife and visitors alike, with a range of opportunities for study, exploration and learning.
Your day here will reflect the landscape, habitats and history of Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale. We will work with you to design a bespoke visit to meet the needs of your group.
Another fabulous visit with Jo, who is so helpful and fully engages the children. Thank you!
Choose your programme for the day
Key stage 1 and 2
Each theme fosters a caring approach to the natural world and is explored through a range of learning styles, including problem solving, team working, questioning and discovery. Language development, Maths skills and scientific enquiry underpin every programme.
Sensory journeys and stories
Discover a nature anew through sensory activities - take a mirror walk, weave a spider’s web, create a textures mobile, make leaf and bark rubbings, paint with soil and identify wildlife sounds. Use inspiration from the day’s discoveries to create and share stories.
Orienteer to find out about Darwin’s travels and discoveries on his Beagle voyage. Make a wildlife journal and record observations of the plants, animals and habitats. Interactive games to encourage children to think about adaptions, natural selection and food webs.
Discover and compare the wildlife of the woodland, meadow and freshwater habitats through exploration, close observation and games. Use a variety of collection techniques and learn to identify and classify common plants and animals. Investigate life cycles and feeding relationships.
Develop geographical enquiry, vocabulary and skills. Create mini nature reserves using mapping techniques. Use orienteering and compass skills to complete the photo trail. Investigate landscapes and landscape change, looking at the past and present and making predications for the future.
A day designed to empower and inspire young people to take action for environmental sustainability. Investigate our impact on the planet and look at options for alternative energy, water usage and food miles. Design a boat powered by wind or solar power, play the water conservation game and work out the food miles of a bag of shopping.
Key stage 3 and beyond
These are some popular themes. We will plan a tailor-made day for your group:
Variation and classification
Carry out a scientific study to find out how microclimate conditions can cause plant variation within a habitat. Investigate why plants and animal populations show variation. Use a range of field techniques to collect and identify invertebrates and classify them into groups.
Undertake a practical investigation of an ecosystem. Use scientific methods and techniques to examine biotic and abiotic factors and explore microclimates. Build a food web to show feeding relationships and explore the interdependence of living organisms within an ecosystem.
Orienteer around the nature reserve using maps, compasses, grid references and directional instructions. Explore space and scale by creating a three dimensional habitat map for classmates to use.
Compare and contrast habitats
Sampling and comparing two contrasting habitats using field skills and equipment to assess how physical and human influences affect vegetation, invertebrate populations and distribution.
Environmental issues, climate change, and sustainability
Explore the challenges facing our nature reserves through climate change and pollution and how these feed into habitat management decisions. Take freshwater samples to investigate the water cycle, aquatic invertebrates and the impact of eutrophication. Establish why the site is designated as special.
Cross-curricular visit for KS 3
A bespoke day of cross-curricular outdoor learning using science, art, English, geography, maths and history skills. Students will be challenged through problem solving, team tasks, photography, story writing, natural art, orienteering, scientific enquiry and adventure.
GCSE, A level & specialist training
These are indicative themes - we will use our expertise to tailor your visit to suit your syllabus and make the most of the high quality habitats we offer.
Habitats and sustainable management
Design and carry out scientific investigations in contrasting habitats (woodland, freshwater, grassland) and develop field skills through sampling, data collection and analysis. Discuss the management of the reserve and issues affecting habitat management decisions.
Biodiversity and sustainability
Pose scientific questions and set experiments to test the biodiversity and sustainability of the reserve. Use a range of ecological survey techniques and develop investigative and practical field skills through sampling and data collection for abiotic and biotic factors.
We are the County’s leading forest school provider with 10 forest school Level 3 Leaders covering the whole of Suffolk. We can lead forest schools at your local woodland, on a nearby reserve or in your school grounds.
Forest Schools uses the natural resources in the woodland and the children’s interests to stimulate imaginative, creative and investigative activities; Children can saw wood, whittle sticks, help to light fires, leap into puddles, climb trees and build shelters.
The child led and child centred activities help children to take risks safely, take care of themselves and others and take responsibility. It has structure but at the same time leaves lots of room for personalised learning opportunities – children allowed time and space to explore their own evolving learning interests e.g. studying a bug, searching for badgers, filming with a stick.
A forest school programme over 6+ sessions is a transformational experience, with children growing in confidence and gaining independence. Exploring nature at their own pace, children learn to investigate, take risks safely, solve problems and gain knowledge through first hand experience.
Closer to nature in our woodlands
Closer to nature is a unique opportunity for young people to learn natural history skills at Bradfield Woods, Combs Wood and our south Suffolk woodlands at Arger Fen & Spouses Vale.
Nowhere in the world has such a strong tradition of 'citizen science' as Britain. This tradition of amateur naturalists has added hugely to our knowledge and understanding of Suffolk's natural heritage and has directed the Trust's conservation efforts to safeguard sites and species.
Thanks to the generosity of local benefactors we are now able to offer young people the chance to gain an insight into the skills and science of natural history, by exploring some of the county's finest woodlands with a skilled education naturalist.
KS2, KS3 and KS4 groups can book 3 or 4 free sessions over the course of an academic year at any of our woodland nature reserves.
Students will be working and thinking scientifically, developing survey and sampling techniques, identifying and classifying, and extending their natural history knowledge. All the sessions will cover aspects of the science national curriculum and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Over the course of the year we will cover plants and trees, invertebrates, mammals and birds, woodland habitats and ecology, evolution and adaptation, phenology and conservation.
Alongside the school sessions, there are out-of-school opportunities for young people to further their skills with expert-led natural history courses for 11-16 year olds.