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Farmers of the future learn rural skills at Countrysiders Camp-out

Norfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Picture: Moira Harrison

Norfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Picture: Moira Harrison

Moira Harrison

The young farmers of the future enjoyed a weekend of rural education and skills-building at their annual conservation "camp-out" in west Norfolk.

Norfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Pictured: River bank restoration nearing completion. Picture: Moira HarrisonNorfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Pictured: River bank restoration nearing completion. Picture: Moira Harrison

The Norfolk Countrysiders, the junior branch of the Young Farmers' Club (YFC), set up their tents up in a quiet field on the Westacre Estate, near Swaffham.

They carried out tasks including making natural habitat nest boxes from hollowed-out logs, and constructing otter holts and kingfisher nests along the river bank. Other groups undertook coppicing, walkways and bank restoration, and bridge-building.

The weekend included the annual Countrysiders Forum, where 11 of the 15 Countrysider clubs around Norfolk were represented, to hear reports on training, competitions and social events.

And the youngsters also heard from landowner Henry Birkbeck, who spoke about his family's generations of work at the estate and how it is now embracing diversification - especially with footpaths around the estate - and were given a demonstration of skinning and jointing a deer carcase by gamekeeper Chris Carter.

Norfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Pictured: Countrysiders studying moths and bugs. Picture: Moira HarrisonNorfolk Countrysiders Conservation Camp-out 2019 at the Westacre Estate. Pictured: Countrysiders studying moths and bugs. Picture: Moira Harrison

Countrysiders development officer Moira Harrison said: "What an amazing venue for our Campout, so tranquil and beautiful.

"Grateful thanks must go to the hard-working Countrysiders and the army of member and ex-member volunteers who gave up their weekend to enable the Campout to take place."

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