HighGround Rural Week - October 2022

Another Successful Rural Week!

HighGround has completed another one of their Rural Weeks which aim to help Forces Members, serving or not, connect back to nature and teach people key outdoor skills. Now having finished their October week, they had a few things to say about the impact it has had and how the week went for the team! See below for their full round-up.


The Week Itself:

A sunshine and showers week for Rural Week 38, luckily with more of the former than the latter….!


Chris, Pete and Tim welcomed 7 service leavers and veterans (HighGrounders) to Bicton on Sunday from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF – 2 of them had previously attended one of our Virtual Rural Weeks which are a great introduction for individuals at the beginning of their resettlement.


After Chris’s introduction to the land-based sector on Monday morning and a session about agricultural engineering and construction plant from Andy Daw, it was off to Tidwell Barton to meet Pete Wastenage and learn about dairy farming and running your own business. Toby from RSPB described his role as a Ranger before Terry and Andy’s Greenkeeping session from Woodbury Park – and that was only Day One..!


Tuesday started with a visit to Clinton Devon Estates to meet Tom Garner and learn about Wildlife Management followed by a visit to Haldon Forest Park to meet Josh and Gregg for a Forestry England perspective. There are some fantastic jobs in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry and a visit to The Jockey Club to meet Daniel Cooper Clerk of the Course was a great introduction for our HighGrounders. Tuesday’s visits concluded with a fascinating insight into vegetable and crop production by Rodney Hall.


Early start on Wednesday to meet John Wilding, Lord Clinton’s Head of Forestry and Energy to learn about Forestry Management on a private estate Clinton Devon. Next stop was The National Trust, Killerton to meet Karl and learn about the National Trust and heritage gardening. After lunch a visit to Nick from The Outdoors Group to learn about Forest School before heading back to Bicton for some practical plant operation under the watchful eye of Steve Boden from Holt JCB.


Another early start on Thursday for a visit to South Yeo Farm West to talk Smallholding with Debbie Kingsley. Then off to Sir Harry Studholme at Devon Gardens Trust, Perridge House to meet Tom his Estate Manager. Kirsty and Matt from Hi-Line delivered another fantastic Arboriculture practical, and Robert Honan from Ascott Estate rounded off the vocational sessions with an excellent presentation about careers in estate management.


Jamie Ranson joined us for a Rural Week in 2017 while he was still serving in the Army. He now runs his own hedgelaying and arboriculture business Langore Tree Services and his presentation on Friday morning about transition, self-employment and much more was the perfect way to wrap up the week.


We are so grateful to all our hosts and presenters, and a special mention to Tony and Jeff our evening speakers and to everyone at Bicton for making us so welcome. Very grateful thanks to the Henry Sale Foundation and the RAF Benevolent Fund whose generous funding made the Rural Week possible, and to the veteran who left the Army after 22 years’ service 7 years ago and has now found his way back to the land-based sector.


Last Word goes to him:

“Mind cleared. A real life view.”


These Rural Weeks happen year-round in a variety of formats. So, whether you want to attend in person or virtually the choice is there for you.


To find out more about the opportunities HighGround has to offer, follow this link to their BFRS page.


Or to read the original source on the HighGround site, click here...