Minstead Study Centre

What we do...

Minstead Study Centre is a beautiful and inspirational learning environment, located in the heart of the New Forest.  Our primary purpose is to engage primary school children in learning about how we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, adopt more sustainable lifestyles and be guardians of the planet’s future. 

Learing about nature in educational programmes at Minstead Study Centre in the New forest, Hampshire.

The Centre has been running successfully for over 50 years and until 2008 received funding from Hampshire County Council, which has now been withdrawn. Primary schools from all over the south of England send classes from years 2 to year 6 on short residential courses, accompanied by school staff.  The families pay a modest sum for their children to attend and we endeavour to keep costs to a minimum in order that prices are affordable to families across the whole social spectrum.

Children learning how to make felt at Minstead Study Centre, The New FOrest, Hampshire

Our programmes provide a core of science and geography studies, delivered in an exciting and innovative manner, reaching into art, drama, music, religion and history; all activities are linked to curriculum needs.   We have a 7 acre site which provides a wonderful environment for many of our activities and we also take the children out into the New Forest to provide a wider backdrop to their learning.                                                                              

Willow Workshops for local community at Minstead Study Centre, New Forest, Hampshire
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Learning fun nature ecology fun schools Minstead Study Centre
Felting Workshop, courses for the local community in sustainability programmes at Minstead Study Centre, The New Forest, Hampshire

The Centre also hosts a wide variety of courses for the local community.  Our community programme includes workshops on organic gardening, fruit pruning, keeping chickens, willow working, bread making and printmaking to name but a few!

For more information about Minstead Study Centre and its programmes for schools and community, please visit their website here: 


About Friends of Minstead Study Centre

Our Purpose...


The Friends of Minstead Study Centre is a registered charity set up to support the work of the Minstead Study Centre.  We help to secure funding for the Centre through grants, sponsorship, donations and events. 

All money raised goes to the Centre to pay for improvements to the site, classroom and accommodation and to give a greater number of people the opportunity to access the wonderful facilities.

Primary Children learning about sustainability through eating and growing organic vegetables as part of the sustainability Education programme on their residential trip to Minstead Study Centre in the New Forest, Hampshire.
Learning about caring for our planet at Minstead Study Centre, The New Forest, Hampshire.
Friends of Minstead Study Centre
Learning outdoor fun Minstead Study Centre
Oraganic vegetables grown by the children and programme leaders at Minstead Study Centre, providing educational programmes in environmental issues and sustainability at Minstead Study Centre, The New Forest, Hampshire
Bat found at Minstead Study Centre, the New Forest
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Current Projects...

Rebuilding the roundhouse

The Big Grow

Replacing the Roundhouse!

In the late 1990s, with the help of children and volunteers, we built a fabulous roundhouse here at Minstead Study Centre. The walls are made with mud and clay from our pond, the timbers that support the structure and the roof are locally sourced and the roof is thatched.

Here’s how it looked when it was first built:


Over the last 20 something years, thousands of children have spent time in the roundhouse - enjoying stories and singing round the campfire - toasting marshmallows and cooking up hot chocolate. It is a wonderful space which is used all year round. Warm and toasty in winter (with the fire lit) and cool and shady in the summer.

But…. thatch and mud don’t last forever and the beautiful building you see in this picture is coming to the end of its life. Below is a picture of how the roundhouse looks today…

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We urgently need to replace the roof - and probably also the mud walls (we will only know that once the roof is taken off). To rebuild the roundhouse completely will cost in the region of £10,000!

We are appealing to all our supports, friends, patrons and visitors to help us raise the rebuild the roundhouse. We will re-use as much of the original timber as we can, but all new timbers will be locally sourced and we will once again use the mud and clay from our pond on site to daub the new walls.

Ideally, we would embark on this project in the summer of 2020 so that we stand a chance of getting good weather. All children visiting the site around the time of the re-build will be able to play a part in daubing the walls (a veritable mud-fest!) and there may even be opportunities to assist with the thatching.

We will be applying for grant funding and will also be appealing to local companies for support but support from individuals is vital too!

It would be such a shame to lose this wonderful facility. Can you help us with a donation towards replacing the roof? Please click the button below to donate to our appeal.

The Big Grow is a multi-faceted project which has an inspirational, highly productive fruit and vegetable garden as its centrepiece. 

This garden is located at the Study Centre and visited by 2,500 primary school children every year who come to learn about their impact on the earth and how they can live more sustainably.  As well as providing fresh produce for the visiting children, the garden is used to teach children, volunteers and members of the local community about how to grow seasonal organic food. To extend the impact of the project we will;

  • work with local schools to establish educational, vegetable gardens on their sites and

  • run courses at the Study Centre for the local community

The project is growing! Now we want to reach out to schools to help them establish school gardens

We envisage this as being a 3-year project initially; In 2018 we appointed Adam, our Head Gardener. He and his team of volunteers developed the fruit and vegetable garden from a humble veggie patch into the amazing, productive garden that is there for all at the Study Centre to enjoy. The garden has surpassed all expectations in terms of productivity, diversity and beauty! Our next phase involves outreach work with local schools whereby Adam and Louiza (who runs our kitchen, among other things) help schools to establish thriving and productive produce patches of their own. We have already run courses here at the Centre for teachers, to help them plan and prepare for setting up a school garden and now the Minstead team are ready to go out and provide tailored support and advice to individual schools. We have some initial funding for this work (seed funding!) but with more funds, we can work more schools! Click on the “donate now” button to help us - all donations, large and small, are very gratefully received.

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Project aims:

To provide a showcase, learning garden for all visiting schools and our local community

To produce organic, seasonal produce to be eaten on site and used to teach visitors about seasonal food, food miles and organic growing.

To inspire local schools and communities to grow their own food


We’ve raised over £40,000 to make this project happen but we need more funding to make sure the project can continue - can you help? 

Click below to see how you can support us

Successes to Date...

Our sponsors Have raised funds for...

  • A Head Gardener to bring the Big Grow garden to life

  • A new polytunnel

  • A new Tipi as an outside classroom

  • A residential trip for the Romsey and New Forest Young Carers

  • Sponsored visits for children from Chernobyl

  • Installation of an accessible path around the site

  • A new greenhouse as an additional outside classroom

  • A fruit cage in the vegetable garden

  • A new suite of classroom computers

  • Puppets to help students learn about biodiversity

  • A woodburner for the classroom

  • Gardening equipment

Children at Minstead Study Centre, New Forest, Hampshire