Education Opportunities at Woodchester Mansion
Woodchester Mansion provides a wide range of opportunities for students of all ages, from activities for Key Stages 1 and 2 through to the University of the Third Age. The striking environment of the unfinished Gothic building generates ideas which can be explored and appreciated by all age groups and abilities.
We are happy to discuss arrangements for educational visits with teachers, so your time at the Mansion can be tailored to the needs of the students. We can sometimes offer support on the day if needed – we have a few volunteers who are experienced teachers.
Looking… and learning.
Key Stages 1 & 2
Primary pupils explored CREEPY CRAWLIES at the Mansion and produced some lovely artwork.
We welcome many local Primary Schools to the Mansion. Projects can include looking at aspects of local history, some basic details of building and Gothic architecture, combined with storytelling, drawing, drama and art. In the summer the children are always fascinated to see the live images of our colonies of Lesser and Greater Horseshoe bats. They can learn about the habits and life cycle of the bats, and how the environment is managed to help them. The visit can be extended to explore the surrounding Park (owned by the National Trust).
One holiday we had a GARGOYLES day, complete with a working model which the children helped to make and test.
Key Stages 3 & 4
We find the Mansion is particularly popular for visits from older school groups exploring Gothic writing. The Gothic architecture stimulates imaginations and provides a suitably “spooky” atmosphere. The students enjoy this while taking an important point on board.They can input their interest and excitement into creative writing tasks.
At secondary school level texts such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights or the Mysteries of Udolpho are some examples of novels using the setting of a mysterious old house with secret passages, staircases and attics. Much nineteenth century poetry of writers such as Keats, Tennyson and Coleridge uses the Gothic tradition to create images of mystery, darkness and suspense, in texts such as The Lady of Shalott, and The Eve of St. Agnes. A visit to the Mansion can help students to feel the atmosphere created through the language in the texts.
Students following GCSE Art and Photography courses have found a wealth of opportunities for coursework. The stonework, arches and empty architectural spaces, together with the contrast of light, shade and shadows provide a range of stimuli for students of all ages. The unfinished nature of the building, uncluttered by furniture or furnishings, provides unique opportunities for drawing and photography.
The fascinating history of the Leigh family who built the Mansion in the mid nineteenth century in the fashionable Gothic style can stimulate and enhance the study of local history at Key Stages 2 and 3 or provide a focus for an extended essay at Key Stage 5.
Sixth Form Students have found inspiration for many Art, Photography and Film courses. For students with more technical interests, the Mansion offers clear opportunities for those studying Construction and Design.
A sixth form art study.
Craft Skills Training
Examples of work by students of the Stonemasons’ Guild of SS Stephen & George.
The Mansion has been described as a ‘living classroom’ – the unfinished building offers myriad opportunities for craft students, especially stonemasons, to practice and develop their skills (under supervision and within the confines of the Grade I listing) More details are here.
Stone Carving Workshops
We run regular stone carving workshops for the public, taught by our Master Mason Stephen from the Guild of SS Stephen & George. These popular events normally run for a day, though longer courses are available. For details of the classes available at present, click here.
Tertiary Education & CPD
Students on Architecture and Historic Building Conservation courses can also benefit from visiting the Mansion. We are happy to arrange half/one day visits with a specialist guide, or the group’s tutor, as preferred. We can offer the drawing room for lectures, or as an area where students can complete assignments. The building is also available for professional development courses. A short stone carving course run by our master mason can also be incorporated into the day. We will be happy to discuss all options with tutors. Further info here.
2024 Open Day Season
We are open 11am - 5pm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from Friday 29th March to Sunday 3rd November.
Please note: There is no mobile phone signal or public wifi at the Mansion. Also, no dogs are allowed in the Mansion except assistance dogs.