Devil's Dyke and Saddlescombe Farm history activities

A bearded volunteer dressed up in historical clothing sits on the steps of an old green shepherd's caravan, telling stories to a groups of children

Enthuse your group about the Iron Age and local history with our history and geography learning activities for Key Stage 1 and 2.

Key Stage 1 and 2: The Iron Age


Devil's Dyke history detectives

Curriculum link: History and Geography

Maximum of 60 children per visit

  • pupils spend the day exploring life during the Iron Age
  • Devil’s Dyke was a key Iron Age hill fort. Bronze Age burial mounds can be seen as well as the outlines of prehistoric fields and settlements
Start the day at Devil's Dyke:
  • use aerial photographs and maps as you walk around the site to look for evidence of the remains of the Iron Age hill fort
  • discuss living in an Iron Age hill fort using copies of drawings to support your thinking
  • pull together your learning by drawing a sketch map of the settlement
Then walk down to Saddlescombe where you can choose two activities from the list below:
  • weaving wattle fences
  • moulding clay into Iron Age pots
  • carving Iron Age symbols into chalk using flints
  • spinning wool from downland sheep using drop spindles

Key Stage 1 and 2: local history study

Maximum of 30 children per visit

KS1 - a study of a significant historical place in your locality
KS2 - a study over time of a significant site from pre-Norman to the 1950s

Option 1 - A local history study of Victorian Saddlescombe Farm

Curriculum link: Victorian Britain, History, Science and Technology
When the children arrive at the farm, they will travel back in time to the late 1800s when Maude Robinson and her Quaker family farmed at Saddlescombe.
During the day, they will learn about Victorian Saddlescombe by meeting costumed historical characters.
You can choose three activities from the list below:
  • help the kitchen maid make butter in the dairy and visit the well-stocked pantry
  • support the shepherd by herding sheep and giving commands to the sheep dog
  • talk to the farm worker about historical artefacts and help with boot polishing and general jobs in the farm kitchen
  • go on a tour of the farm with the estate manager, checking that everything is in working order

Option 2 - A study of Devil's Dyke and Saddlescombe from the Iron Age to the 1950s, focusing on farming

Start the day at Devil's Dyke and use aerial photographs to identify Iron Age hill fort remains in the landscape.  Look at images of how farming was carried out during this period of history.
Then walk down to Saddlescombe Farm and identify and explore the Tudor threshing barn. Complete a short quiz about Tudor farming.
Following on from this, use historical photographs to find out about Victorian farming at the site.  There is an option to handle some Victorian artefacts and carry out some farm chores.
Finish off the day by visiting the 1950s milking parlour and identify how farming has changed in modern times.
For more information please contact the Learning Team at
All of our outdoor activities are flexible to better suit your specific requirements and the season.  We are happy to discuss any particular needs you may have in terms of accessibility or curriculum for your visit