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Learning about the past at Richmond's historic Castle

[Saturday 08 July 2006]

SCHOOL children throughout Yorkshire are being given the chance to swap classrooms for castles and books for bunkers this summer as English Heritage opens its doors for some hands on learning.

The historic Richmond Castle is one of the venues encouraging pupils and teachers to leave the school behind when it comes to history lessons and turn their focus on bringing the past to life with the help of English Heritage experts.

richmond castle
Richmond Castle - a new laerning opportunity

Over three days next week (10th - 12th July) students will be visiting the Castle to gain an insight into the role of medieval women, their problems, attitudes and the dangers they faced, even in childbirth.

Looking out from its rocky outcrop over the River Swale, the foundations of Richmond Castle were laid in 1071 as a military stronghold. Today the castle attracts thousands of visitors to the Yorkshire Dales town every year.

The Discovery Visits programme was devised after consultation between teaching staff the heritage watchdog and is linked to the school curriculum. It offers the opportunity for 5-18 year-olds to experience activities such as meeting a monk, constructing castles, living a Victorian life and Cold War concealment in a nuclear bunker.

Lynne Minett, Education Manager for English Heritage North, said: "We have been working hard with teachers to develop a really exciting range of activities that opens up the history curriculum but which also promotes cross-curricular study.

"Students can meet characters from across the centuries. Saxons and medieval women for example, take part in drama and role play, explore the remains of famous landmarks, and see how a nuclear bunker was operated.

"Above all we want to fire up the children's imagination and enthusiasm for the past."

More information is available at www.english-heritage.org.uk/learning

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