The peace and tranquility of the private agricultural Estate of Clandon Park has been proactively protected by the Earls of Onslow for many centuries. This protective approach has not only been taken for health & safety reasons on the farm, or simply to protect the Onslow family's privacy but it has also been taken so as to allow the fauna and flora to flourish without too many footfalls disturbing the (many and various) habitats that the Onslows of Clandon Park have created. The Estate is the Seat of the Onslow Earldom, has always been a working agricultural Estate, and is the Onslow family's creation which they treasure.
The Onslow family have donated several thousands of acres of land for many important causes in Surrey over their more recent history. This philanthropy has resulted in the gift or donation of land such as Stoke Park, a hospital, playing fields & greens for schools & villages, Guildford Cathedral, much of the village of Onslow and the family have built & gifted a large number of affordable homes. The Onslow Family also arranged (through Lord Onslow's family trust) for the donation (along with a significant endowment) of Clandon House with its 7 acre garden to the Nation ( The Dept of Works) which later conveyed Clandon House & its garden to the National Trust. Lord Onslow later agreed to convey a further approx 2 acres to the National Trust so they could build a larger visitors car park on a grass paddock where we had also planted various bulbs. According to the current Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulation Authority this is a major donation and they consider the Onslow family to be classed as a major donor Family, worthy of note (Whatever that may mean but it is apparently relevant in their statutory Code of Practice).
Throughout their interesting, philanthropic, academic, farming, political and often very colourful past, the Earls of Onslow have always made it their business to support education, particularly through their commitment of time and support for schools, colleges and universities. The current Lord Onslow continues to lobby for 'Educational Opportunity through Equal Opportunity for All' on every front.
What remains of the Onslow's once 31,231.0 acres of Estates and their various local built properties in Surrey, is the current Earls approx 1000 acre private farm called Clandon Park.This historic place with its farming, equestrian & various related businesses will, one day, pass to the current Earl's daughter (who will be the first ever female heir to inherit Clandon Park) and then to her heirs as an historic working farm that has been handed down through many generations of farming, fishing & equestrian Onslows !
Clandon Park is a very special, unspoilt and magical place because of the dedication of the Onslow family to keep the Parkland private at all costs. However, the Onslow family have always supported local schools when visits for field study have been requested. Those informal visits have now been converted in to a more formal educational programme that started in spring 2018.
Lord & Lady Onslow and their daughter are committed to the new Clandon Park Educational Programme of Courses and Field Study Events. During these educational days, the business activity on the area of the farmland or forestry that is to be studied, is suspended temporarily for that day. This is so as to avoid the movement of heavy machinery for forestry & land management , and other such routine work, that would have otherwise disturbed study in the open air environment. This action also goes some way to ensure a safer environment for students working in the field.
Studying 'in the field' is like no other form of learning. A single field trip has, for many eminent Scientists, Dendrogists, Foresters & others, created a defining moment in their lives, when they were in a very special environment, free thinking and inspired ... when they realised that Science, Dendrology, Geography, Forestry, the environment or 'whatever' was thereafter going to be their 'thing'. A passion for their subject was born 'in the field' , on a field trip ... and that feeling has never left them.
The team at Clandon Park know that if any field trip is going to inspire students it will be this one. Here students will have the freedom to investigate their own field of interest, explore to find out what they are really interested in, study historic documents about the plantings and habitats that have been created on the land, record their findings and learn in a quiet, much treasured and unspoilt environment.
The habitats that that will be made available for study at Clandon Park, at specific times of the year (to avoid disturbing birds & animals during the height of the breeding season & certain plant growth) will be as follows:
*A Lake created in the late 1970's/early 1980's with lakeside planting created 1980-2015 may be compared with a lake created between 1790 and 1820 with watermargin planting between 1790-1830, 1924-1928 and 1980-2015.
*A Meadow that has been grazed and rarely ploughed (in last 400 years) may be compared with a meadow that has been ploughed recently & reseeded to create the Clandon Park Seed or Meadow Hay.
*A Woodland glade due for thinning (after being untouched for 30 years) may be compared with a woodland glade that was thinned in 2017.
*Grazing land used for grazing sheep may be compared with land grazed by other animals.
*A 2018 replanted Covert and a covert planted 10 years ago may be compared to a covert planted just over 50 years ago.
Most of the historic records and plans of the Onslow's work on the land have thankfully been preserved in the Clandon Park Estate Office, some have been in a large old wooden trunk for over 300 years and numerous Estate maps and drawings were found this year that had been carefully rolled up and stored over a century ago behind a very heavy ancient settle !!!! Well, we all thought it was about time for them to get an airing ! Some of these documents are being restored while others are in very fine condition. Copies of some of these rare documents will be made available to students to assist in their study. Help for your research may even be at hand from the Countess of Onslow on the day.
Lady Onslow, fondly described as our environmental activist & archivist, intends to be on hand for most Clandon Park Field Study Days. She has a keen interest in the environment at Clandon Park and works on a number of projects for Government bodies and companies (such as Coca Cola, Invicta Education, Marks & Spencer Plan A etc) that involves her creating innovative solutions to solve environmental problems and she works on developing International environmental policy initiatives. She has also designed the Tree Science™Dendrometers, Monitors and Quadrats that are used regularly on the Park.
The Launch of these Clandon Park Field Study Days took place in the Spring Term 2018. Schools that are local to Clandon Park, all Schools in Guildford and many in Surrey will be contacted directly by our team. If your school is outside the designated area please write to the Field Study Manager in the Clandon Park Estate Office and she will arrange for an invitation to be sent to you.
Happy Field Trips !
Safety Notice & Fishing...
As with all field trips, the individual School, College or University will be entirely responsible for undertaking their own risk assessments and for the Health and Safety of their supervisors and of their students. Students under the age of 18 may not attend without adequate supervision. Older students must attend with at least one supervisor. Clandon Park will require the name of each attendee and be advised if any person attending suffers from any allergies or disabilities.
For those studying wetland environments rowing boats may be used on the lakes but life jackets must be worn at all times.
For those who wish to have a break from field study for an hour, a Fly Fishing Demonstration or a Fly Fishing Instructor can be organised for you. Please mention your interest in this activity at the time of booking.
Certain equipment will be available to hire by the hour or the day (at a nominal fee to cover cleaning and health & safety checks) It is up to each educational organisation to provide safe equipment for students use. If your organisation requires any special equipment for your trip please advise the Clandon Park Education Manager who may be able to assist you.
The Clandon Park Forest School was launched in 2021 and is now a firm favourite of two local schools based in West Clandon and Shere