Meeting goats, building drystone walls and spectacular birds of prey displays gave thousands of schoolchildren first experiences of farming and rural life at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

Primary school children from across Yorkshire tried hands-on activities and watched demonstrations and displays at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s (YAS) annual Countryside Days event last week.

Free for school groups, the two-day showcase on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 11 and 12, of the countryside is delivered by YAS as a farming charity as part of its core aims, which includes inspiring the next generation about all things farming, food and the countryside.

Allister Nixon, YAS CEO, said: “Countryside Days is a fantastic way to engage children from all backgrounds in where their food comes from and how the countryside is carefully managed. Some of our young visitors have never seen livestock before, and it is fantastically rewarding to see their faces light up on seeing a sheep for the first time.

(Image: YAS)

“I hope that all our visiting school groups leave the Great Yorkshire Showground knowing something they didn’t know before about farming, food and the countryside.”

Highlights included The Sheep Show’s cast of dancing sheep, alpacas, and farm animal displays where children saw pigs, sheep and goats and had their questions answered.

Schoolchildren were also introduced to reptiles, arachnids, ferrets and hatching chicks. They got to try their hands at a variety of crafts and countryside pursuits, from willow weaving and wood whittling to pond dipping and orienteering.

(Image: YAS)

Countryside Days also promotes healthy lifestyles and children had the chance to get creative during cookery workshops and have a go at cycling. They also got up close to huge agricultural machinery. A tractor and baler exhibited by Russell’s and a display of vintage tractors showed how farming technology evolves.

A grain story workshop explained how crops were planted, harvested, and processed to produce everyday food items such as bread and cereal. Butter and sausage making masterclasses also gave children the chance to learn more about dairy and pork.

(Image: YAS)

Countryside Days is just one of the educational activities hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The society holds a Milk Day for schoolchildren in Spring, Apple Day at its showground orchard in Autumn, funds school visits to working farms via the Country Trust, free training courses for teachers to take learning outdoors, a vegetable box growing competition for primary schools.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society will welcome back school groups to the Great Yorkshire Showground at next month’s 165th Great Yorkshire Show which takes place from Tuesday, July 9 to Friday, July 12.