Where Learning Lives...
Where it Began...
In 2001, Ian Robinson, a local business man from Grimsby, bought Moorhouse Farm in Ashby cum Fenby to pursue his dream of breeding his much beloved racehorses. Ian immediately got involved with various environmental projects across the farm, working closely with Natural England, and has created fantastic areas of hedgerows and ditches which are a haven for a variety of flora and fauna. In recent years, Moorhouse Farm has become part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which has improved habitats across the farm to encourage species such as Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Snipe and Roe Deer.
The Waithe Beck, a rare chalk stream, runs through the middle of the farm and has been restored over the last 8 years as part of the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project. The beck has come alive since the restoration and is now home to an array of creatures, brown trout and our very own resident otter! The area of gorse close to the Waithe Beck is the ideal location for nesting birds whilst the buffer strips on several of the arable fields provide the ideal habitat for small mammals including voles and brown hares.
Having run A.W. Robinson Furniture in the centre of Grimsby, Ian witnessed first hand that many children living in urban areas did not have the opportunity to visit the countryside enabling them to explore, play and learn. Being only 6 miles away from the centre of Grimsby, he wanted to open the doors to the farm but in a controlled environment where education was always the key factor. In 2014, with the help of Natural England, Ian converted a former tack room into a heated classroom with disabled toilet access and kitchen facilities. Named after his father, The A.W Robinson Classroom in the Woods was born.
At first it proved difficult to sell the idea of the Classroom in the Woods to local schools, but in June 2014, Ian bumped into a newly retired Richard Dawson, who was the former head teacher at Ian's children's school. Richard was a huge fan of the concept of the Classroom, and was immediately on board. With local contacts in many schools, Richard began taking bookings for the Classroom and the rest is history. Grace Robinson, Ian's Daughter, joined the Classroom team in January 2015 taking over the bookings and organisation, leaving Richard to plan and lead the visits.
Without Ian's foresight and dream, or Richard's true dedication and passion for learning, the Classroom in the Woods would never have started or continue to grow from strength to strength.
And there we have it, the story of the The A.W Robinson Classroom in the Woods. 4 years later, 6000 children later, we are continuing our dream to get more children outdoors and bring learning back alive.