Region: North East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve, Chilton Moor Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear DH4 6PU

Contact: 0191 584 3112



We deliver engaging hands-on environmental education and Forest School sessions. We are happy to be flexible and will tailor a visit to suit your needs and requirements.  Our most popular education sessions explore the habitats on the reserve with woodland and grassland mini beast hunts, pond dipping and nature walks to compare plants and animals.   

We also look at seasonal signs of nature and visit the bird hides. In addition we offer woodland activities such as measuring the age and height of trees and investigating the different properties of species.   

Sessions are delivered by a team of experienced Education Staff with small groups of children so they can get as much out of their visit as possible.  We link the activities to the national curriculum so will cover topics such as food chains, life cycles, sorting/ classification and adaptations where appropriate.  

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

Our reserves provide wonderfully natural and exciting settings to explore habitats and living things.  At Durham Wildlife Trust we hope to inspire individuals and engage them in the wildlife sharing their surroundings. Therefore, our Education Team aim to provide opportunities for every child (and adult!) to have a memorable, enjoyable and exciting encounter with nature.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

We tailor sessions to meet the requirements of each group.  Our formal education sessions are linked to the national curriculum relevant to Key Staged 1 and 2.  We can also provide custom sessions for Key Stage 3 students such as environmental monitoring and looking at human impact on the environment. In addition to formal education we can deliver adventure days such as activities to explore the wild areas of the reserve, learn how to survive in the woodlands and outdoor art.


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What size groups do they cater for?

The majority of our visits are for classes of 30 children but we can cater for large groups of 90+ children.  We will ask classes to come organized in smaller groups of between 15- 20 (depending on total group size) and will provide an Education Leader for each group.  

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

We have developed a tailor made Education Pack to support visits to our sites so schools can get even more out of their outdoor adventure.  The pack contains worksheets, photo packs and activity ideas for learning before and following visits and is linked to the national curriculum.

Topics include: Habitats, sorting Keys, Food chains, Lifecycles, Reporting and Publishing. This pack has been developed by our Education Team, members of staff who are a qualified teachers as well as drawing on our experience of delivering outdoor learning for over 15 years.

The pack is accessed online via the Durham Wildlife Trust website and groups will receive login and password details when booking.

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

We welcome groups to use whatever means to document and record their experiences during their visits.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

Risk assessments are emailed to groups alongside a booking form.  Group Leaders and School Staff are welcome to arrange a pre-visit trip to meet a member of our team and see the areas we will explore during the visit.

What are the contact details for their education officer?

Our Education Officer Kirsty Pollard can be contacted on Please be aware Kirsty is often out of the office.  

If you wish to speak to someone regarding a visit or to make a booking you can reach our Office Manager Julie Anderson by phoning 0191 584 3112 or emailing

What does it cost?

Charges for a full day visit are £4.00/ child

Charges for a half day visit are £3.00/child

Accompanying adults are free of charge.

Is specific clothing required?

We like to be outdoors exploring whatever the weather so please come dressed for an outdoor adventure with warm, old clothes, water proofs and wellies or sturdy footwear. A spare hat and jumper advised and sun cream in the summer months.

Do you have first aid on site?

We ask that groups to provide their own first aid cover.  On arrival our Education Team will make note of which member of staff is the first aider for your trip and ensure we know where they will be throughout the day so we can easily contact them if they are needed.

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

Indoor Education room for the visit base and lunch space.  Rainton Meadows and Low Barns also have a coffee shop with hot and cold drinks and a selection of small edibles. Both these sites also have a shop for souvenirs – we ask that groups let us know via the booking form if they would like to visit the shop. In good weather we have a grassy area for groups to picnic outdoors.

Are there disabled facilities?

All our facilities are suitable for disabilities. We ask groups to make us aware via the booking form if they have individuals with disabilities.

What are your opening days and hours?

We can accommodate groups any day of the week and evenings as well as normal office hours. Please just get in touch to discuss.

Do you have any testimonials from previous customers who have visited you on an educational visit?

“Thank you so much for a fantastic day last Thursday! We all had a
 fabulous time! The learning was brilliant- I couldn't believe how
 lucky we were to see such perfect examples of animals in their
habitats but also the activities you planned fit exactly to extend and
 enhance the children's learning around All Living Things! It was all
 so well organised and professional- but most of all, fun!” L. Johnson, Teacher

“We would like to say that this school trip was the best fun we have had on a visit, we
laughed so much and the ladies who delivered the event were very good and spent a lot of time
explaining things to the children and staff.” Barmston Village Primary School, Teacher

Age of Children / Pupils: 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Environment Centres Field Studies Green Awareness Outdoor Education Outdoor Pursuits Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Environmental Studies Geography

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December

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