Leeson House Field Studies Centre

Key Stages 2 & 3 - Living Things


Pond Study

Perhaps our most popular activity, pond dipping is a fantastic opportunity for children (and adults!) to discover what is lurking beneath the surface of our ponds. Catch you own weird and wonderful pond creatures to identify and study, with a focus on adaptations, life cycles or food chains.

Animal Adaptations

Our collection of stuffed animals allows students to look very closely at British wildlife and learn about adaptations, food chains, and habitats. This activity can be supplemented nicely with some bird watching from the hide in the grounds.


Do you know your arachnids from your annelids and your crustaceans from your insects? These are just some of the minibeasts, or invertebrates, that you can find and study in the grounds at Leeson House. Looking for these creepy crawlies under logs and stones and in the bushes and meadow, you will learn about habitats, adaptations, life cycles, the huge variety of life and how we identify the individual species and group together species with similar characteristics.

Conservation Tasks

If you and/or your class have plenty of energy, enjoy being outside and getting a bit muddy, then why not help us with some Conservation Tasks in our grounds? Tasks vary throughout the year but are always practical and usually include some footpath maintenance, planting, weeding and scrub-bashing. We will give full instructions and a safety briefing, and will provide protective gloves and all the tools you may need, from wheelbarrows and rakes to trowels and shovels.
With an underlying messsage about biodiversity and wildlife conservation, this activity also gives children an insight into the world of work, some good exercise, experience of team working, usually a healthy appetite come dinner time, and a real sense of achievement when they see what they have accomplished.

Sand Dunes at Studland

As part of the Studland and Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve, the sand dunes here are a vitally important habitat for many rare and endangered plants and animals. On a walk around the dunes you can learn how they formed and how the habitat and species have changed over time, and experience some of the many issues involved in managing such an important wildlife site so close to a very popular beach. It's also a great opportunity to spot some of the unique wildlife for yourself, whether it's a nesting nightjar, a shy smooth snake, or a carnivorous sundew, and learn about evolution and adaptations.

Rock Pooling at Kimmeridge Bay

Grab a net and a bucket and come and discover the mysterious creatures hiding in the rock pools of this beautiful bay. Whether you find an aggressive velvet swimming crab or a gentle flat periwinkle, you'll be taught how to identify it using a key. You'll also learn about the zonation of species on the shore, and how the different organisms have adapted to survive the ever-changing conditions created by waves, tides, predators and humans. Kimmeridge Bay forms part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve (managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust), and is also a great location for fossil hunting!

Durlston Country Park

Designed and built by the famous Victorian gentleman George Burt, to enlighten the people of Swanage, Durlston Country Park is a fabulous place for wildlife conservation and birdwatching. Local history can be explored by a visit to the Great Globe, castle and old quarries and, forming a section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site as Durlston does, geology and coastal geography are really brought to life here.

Farm Studies at Lulworth Castle Park

Lulworth Estate are now offering free Farm Education Sessions.
Langton Matravers, Swanage, BH19 3EU
01929 422126
01929 427534