On Wednesday, Class One visited the Hitchin Lavender farm as we have been learning about the lives of significant local people and their impact on the local area. Our learning was centred around William Ransom and Perks and Llewellyn. Although it was raining, the team there made us all feel very welcome and took us into the barn where a lovely morning began. Our visit leader, Will, discussed with us the history of the lavender farm and its founder, William Ransom, the uses of lavender in the past and present, the importance of the farm to the local area and how the oil is extracted from the lavender. We were given the opportunity to smell lavender flowers, oil and different products to see which strength of scent we preferred. Some of the adults tried lavender tea and lavender shortbread, which were delicious.
After this introduction to lavender, we were very lucky to be the first group ever to experience their brand new Lavender Pharmacy Museum. There were many artefacts containing lavender oil and products that were over a hundred years old. The museum was full of wonderful items and the adults were as enthralled as the children! The children discussed with Will that Queen Victoria visited Hitchin in 1851 so that William Ransom could present her with a gift of the famous lavender oil from the area.
Luckily, the rain stopped and we were able to make our way to the fields to see the lavender rows. Will told us that there were over a hundred different varieties of lavender. He also introduced us to some of the local wildlife and held a competition for who could collect the most snails from the lavender as they, along with rosemary beetles, destroy the lavender. The children also spotted froghoppers and the cuckoo spit they produce.
After a rigorous wash of our hands, it was time to leave. We were given a leaving gift of either a beautiful magnet or a bar of delightfully scented lavender soap, which was a wonderful surprise. The rain actually made our visit even better because we were the only visitors right up until we left and we were able to truly experience the calm and beauty that is Hitchin Lavender.