School visits

The Grand Western Canal Country Park and local nature reserve is an excellent site for school visits. The Country Park provides a variety of educational opportunities for groups of all ages and abilities.

Activities for primary schools

Pond dipping

Pond dipping

Aim: Use nets to collect a range of freshwater species, use keys to identify them and learn about their lifecycles, adaptations and feeding relationships.

This can include (some/all of):

  • identification of creatures using keys
  • counting and tallying numbers of each species
  • food chains and webs
  • lifecycles of different species
  • effects of pollution on pond life

Minibeast hunting

West Hill Primary School looking for minibeasts along the towpath

Aim: Use different methods to collect and identify a range of invertebrates and learn about their lifecycles and feeding relationships

This can include (some/all of):

  • identification of minibeasts using keys
  • classification of minibeasts into different groups
  • body parts and functions
  • comparing minibeasts along hedgerow and grasslands using different sampling methods
  • camouflage games
  • food chains and webs
  • lifecycles of different species
  • natural artwork, using natural materials to create pictures of minibeasts

Tree walk along the towpath

Blundell's Prep School on a Tree Walk

Aim: to appreciate the diversity of plant life and learn to identify different types of trees that we have within the park.

This can include (some/all of):

  • 3 mile walk along the towpath
  • identification of plants and animals
  • sensory games and activities
  • food chains and webs
  • history of the park

Activities for secondary schools

All topics mentioned above can be adapted to suit a secondary school visit.

What is the cost?

For ranger-led school visits:

Half day Full day
£1 per pupil (Devon County Council (DCC) schools) £2.00 per pupil (DCC schools)
£1.50 per pupil (non DCC schools) £2.50 per pupil (non DCC schools)
1 adult per 8 pupils (required): Free 1 adult per 8 pupils (required): Free

How do I book?

Please call the Rangers Service on 01884 254072 or email

Extra information

  • Ideal group size is between 15 – 35 children
  • Schools are responsible for the supervision and discipline of the children at all times
  • Ratio of adults to children should be 1:8, and therefore it would be helpful if extra staff or parents could join the group
  • A risk assessment is available for teachers and parents to read and each activity will start with a brief talk about health and safety
  • The Ranger leading the activities is a qualified first aider and will also be carrying a first aid kit, safety throw line and a mobile phone.
  • We will provide all the necessary equipment including clipboards and worksheets. Each child should come equipped with waterproof clothing, stout shoes or wellingtons, sun hat and sun cream in summer.

Privacy policy for Grand Western Canal Country Park customers.