HUNDREDS of school children from across north east Essex have been able to explore a historic estate all thanks to a free trips programme.

Students from 13 different educational institutions have taken part in visits to the St Osyth Priory, which is owned by the Sargeant family.

Pupils from the likes of Oakwood Infant School, Frinton Primary School, White Hall Academy, and Kirby Primary Academy have all been involved.

Other schools also benefited from the scheme, including Alresford Primary School, Millfields Primary School, St Osyth C of E Primary School, and Alton Park School.

Taking part in everything from pond dipping and tractor trailer rides to tower trips, the nature exploring children have learnt about the site’s heritage.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Through workshop activities on medieval medicine and scavenger hunts in the rose garden students were also introduced to historic significance of the St Osyth Priory.

The free schools programme was rolled out following the opening of the site’s new education centre and after the St Osyth Priory and Parish Trust secured a grant.

Tim Sargeant, owner of the St Osyth Prior, said: “We are delighted with the enthusiasm and excitement we have seen from the children and their teachers.

“We are certain the education centre will build on this success to become a valuable cultural and education resource in the Tendring area.

“These visits have showcased the estate’s vibrant natural setting and its compelling historic stories to local schools and we look forward to hosting many more groups.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Using money obtained through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, the Priory’s trust is now looking to follow up the summer visits with future educational schemes.

Kim Lalli and Conrad Payne, co-chairs of the trust added: “Many of the children visiting were experiencing their first ever school trip.

“Teachers felt that the free visits gave children an opportunity to catch up on some of the experiences lost to Covid. “

Mrs R Stanley, of Mistley Norman C of E Primary School, another school whose children visited the St Osyth Priory, agrees.

She said: “Making the herb balls was a medieval medicine highlight and children really enjoyed the physical activity and being able to take it home.

“This also fed in really well to our learning in class when we looked at Tudor medicine and herbs to help prevent the plague.”

Laura Chesover education manager at the St Osyth Priory added: “We could not have hoped for a better way to launch the new Priory education centre.

“The children and teachers were thrilled to finally be able to get out and enjoy a school trip and were clearly captivated by the fairy-tale surroundings of the estate.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome the first school groups and we’re now planning new workshops and sessions for September to capitalize on momentum.”