School visits to Harcourt Arboretum

Confirmation letter

Once your visit has been arranged, you will receive a confirmation letter by email containing the details of the visit. Please read this carefully, and if any alterations need to be made please contact

Further information

In addition to the confirmation letter, you will receive further information for your visit, including notes to help you complete your risk assessment and detailed information about your chosen session. Please distribute this information to all teachers whose classes are involved in the sessions. 

Teacher pre-visit

If you would like to arrange a free pre-visit to the Arboretum please contact

Preparation for your visit

Pre-visit activities will be provided as part of the detailed information for your session. You are advised to complete some of these activities prior to your visit to help prepare your students.

Special needs

All our activities can be adapted for students with special educational needs. We are pleased to welcome special school groups and to support children with special needs who are integrated into mainstream schools. Please talk to us about your students' needs when you book.

Group size

The maximum group size that can be accommodated at the Arboretum is 35 students. If the number of students in your group increases beyond this threshold after you have made your booking, please get in touch as soon as possible, so arrangements can be made for two separate visits. No exceptions will be made.

Adult supervision

All school groups are required to bring four adults with them to accompany and supervise the students. However, we realise that some groups may want to bring more adults. In this case, we request a maximum ratio of one adult to every four children in the group (e.g. no more than eight adults for a class of 32); please do not bring more adults than this as it can be a distraction for the students. Please note that all schools sessions are age-specific, so it is not appropriate for participating parents to bring younger siblings or pushchairs.

What to wear

You will be outside for all of the visit, so make sure your group are all dressed sensibly with plenty of warm, waterproof clothing (layers are advisable) and sensible shoes (sturdy soles), boots or wellingtons (with thick socks). Please do not bring umbrellas. In warmer weather, it is also advisable that you bring hats and plenty of sunscreen. Bare legs or tights are not advisable as stinging plants and thorny plants are growing naturally throughout the site.


We are located six miles south of Oxford, just outside the village of Nuneham Courtenay.

Harcourt Arboretum
Peacock Gate
Nuneham Courtenay
OX44 9PX


The Arboretum is able to provide parking for cars, minibuses and coaches. Please advise in advance of coach parking as we have limited coach spaces.

Meeting point

A member of our Education Team will meet your party at the coach drop off point at the time your session is due to commence.



Visit format

A member of our Education Team will lead your session; however, the participation of your adults is essential to the success of the visit. After a brief introduction to the session, your party will be divided into two groups. Each must be accompanied by two adults. One group will be guided by a member of our Education Team, while the other completes a trail and activities which we will prepare for you. Halfway through your visit, the two groups will meet and swap over.  After both groups have completed both parts of the visit, we will meet again for a brief plenary to close the session.

Adult participation

To gain maximum benefit from your visit it is important that your adults fully participate in the session. The timetable for each visit has been carefully co-ordinated, so it is advisable that all adults have watches to ensure smooth running. Teachers are encouraged to informally assess their students’ progress throughout the visit.


Teachers are responsible for the conduct of their students whilst visiting the Arboretum.

Safety and First Aid

Please bring your own First Aid kit. You are responsible for administering any First Aid treatment required by your students during their visit to the Arboretum. Please advise us in advance if any of your students have allergies.


You do not need to bring any equipment with you, as you will be supplied with paper and pencils etc if they are required. You may like to bring a camera to take photographs to record your visit.


We will send you a photography consent form in advance if we would like to photograph your group during their visit.


We have a limited number of toilets available for use by visiting schools. The toilets are located in the Lodge and their location will be pointed out to groups on arrival.

Disabled access

Disabled access is currently limited to a single mile-long loop around part of our grounds. There is a disabled toilet. Please advise us in advance if any of your students use wheelchairs or have walking difficulties.

Independent exploration

If you would like to stay in the Arboretum after your session, please book this in advance.


Your confirmation letter includes the time that your session will finish. Please allow a little extra time for using the toilets and collecting your bags when arranging for your coach to collect you.

Follow-up activities

Post-visit activities are provided as part of the detailed information for your session. You and students will also be asked to give feedback via an online form to complete as a whole class and in one go on your interactive whiteboard. We value your feedback and the information you share with us as they are integral to the evaluation of our programmes.

Another visit in the future

If you would like to plan another visit to the Arboretum, perhaps during a different season, please contact for details.


If you have any queries about your visit that have not been addressed here, please contact Nienke Abbing at or telephone 01865 286 694.