13 May 2014
Traditional Spring weather started the Open Day at Plumpton College and, despite mid-morning rain, the event attracted 8,000 visitors. The purpose of the Open Day is to demonstrate all that the College does and also it is a small ‘country fair’ to enable it to be a good family day out. The Principal, Des Lambert said, “All the staff and students work very hard to make Open Day a success. It takes a lot of work to put on the event, and we should be all very pleased and proud at the outcome. Visitors had an ideal opportunity to see the range of provision from each department. It was busy with activity and visitors across the whole of the Estate and we received a lot of very favourable comments about the College”. The Open Day is held in association with the Sussex Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. The UK Wine Research Centre, which was opened by HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall, attracted much attention. Visitors sampled Plumpton Estate award-winning wines, wine tasting master classes, winery tours and alumni exhibits.
The equine department offered tours of the stables and riding schools, horse grooming and musical riding as well as Shire horses, a ride on a mechanical horse, lungeing displays and loose jumping. Classic cars and a crafts market near the Sussex Rural Business Centre proved popular attractions. Students and staff at the animal management centre offered guided tours of the range of small animals while the dog grooming unit provided demonstrations. The popular Veterinary nurse training centre offered course advice. The Horticulture Department offered plant sales, garden design, floristry competition and hard landscaping. Landscaped grounds, display gardens and floristry displays pleased visitors. Machinery and Engineering workshops offered student project work, including a GPS satellite monitoring system and a welding competition. Working forges, jewellery-making and blacksmithing demonstrated silversmithing, metalsmithing and copper-work skills. Dog showing on the lawns was organised by staff and students from animal care. Vehicles on ramp displays in the motor vehicle workshops displayed practical elements of the courses. A mini digger, supervised by students, offered young visitors a chance to experience practical skills. Forestry and Arboriculture demonstrations included pole climbing by students. Visitors enjoyed demonstrations of the industry equipment for firewood processing, sawmilling & woodland crafts. Staff sold charcoal, kindling wood, Swedish stoves and bean sticks. Game management offered air rifle shooting, an over-the-bales competition. The Outdoor Adventurous Education department displays included a climbing tower, sailing dinghy simulator and kayaks. The College has a Centre in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, developed in partnership with the National Trust. School educational visits and Forest School programmes offered a story teller, a milk-a-cow, crafts, a smoothie-making bike and creative wool carding. The College Farm attracted many visitors for livestock, agriculture, agriculture machinery and fishery displays. Plumpton College own produce sales included the award-winning wines, as well as cheese, cream, ice cream, plants, rapeseed oil and milk shakes. Some College products can be obtained through the College’s online shop, shop.plumpton.ac.uk Central to the afternoon is the courses and careers advice by specialist staff, with many students enrolling on the wide range of land based vocational apprenticeships, and courses. Visitors came from London, the South East and overseas to sample a taste of countryside courses. This rural College, situated within an extensive and attractive Estate, close to Brighton and London, offers a wide range of land-based courses to over 3,000 full time and part time students who come from far and wide, both from the UK and overseas. The College is successfully introducing a unique BSc (Hons) Degree in Wine Business. It also offers a unique post-graduate Degree within the UK, the Masters in Viticulture and Oenology, while the equally unique Foundation Degree in Creative Metalworking has proved popular.
To find out more, please visit the Information Afternoon/Evening at Plumpton College on 25th June.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.