It was a lovely sunny day on Wednesday 19th October, perfect conditions for our busy Humanities day at Corfe.
After arriving at Swanage station, 150 very excited pupils (plus the equally excited adults) joined the steam train for the 20 minute journey. For some children, this was their very first trip on a train! As we travelled, we talked about the important farming countryside and enjoyed the smell of the smoke from the engine.
As we approached Corfe station we had our first proper sight of the ruined castle – many oohs and aahs were heard – it was an impressive sight on the hilltop. At this point the groups split up and headed off on their tour of the many things the village has to offer.
For our geography studies, we walked around the village, examining the amenities and conducting a traffic survey. Pavements are narrow but the children were very sensible. We noticed that the various shops were aimed at the many tourists who gather here to see the castle. In fact, the village was quite busy, with many people visiting the cafes and attractions. The pupils were very polite and let people through with a smile and hello.
Two favourite places were the model village and (of course) the castle itself. The model village gave the children a wonderful view of the village in the 1640s, showing them what it looked like before the castle was destroyed. They particularly enjoyed hearing the choir in the church, although they were a little puzzled by the Tardis appearing on the castle walls.
In history we have studied the chronology of the castle’s history, from the 900s to the present day. The children were very excited about seeing “the real thing” and we had lots of discussions about the castle’s past and how it was destroyed. They were very good at spotting clues in the stonework and had many ideas about what life may have been like when living at the castle. The children were also fascinated by the oubliette, where prisoners were dropped and forgotten.
Lunch was a picnic at either the castle or the model village and somehow the groups also managed to fit in the mini museum, the church and a talk from the station master at Corfe Station. A fantastically busy day!
Many thanks to the staff, governors and parents who helped to make this a very successful trip, and to all the pupils who showed such interest and enthusiasm.
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