HomeProjects > Chalk, Cherries & Chairs > For Schools

Understanding the Central Chilterns - support for local schools

Here you will find a range of information and support for teachers and school pupils - including teacher training, classroom sessions and our schools competition.

Chilterns Landscapes Art 

Thank you to all of the schools who took part in our schools art competition in early 2022 - we were delighted to receive over 200 entries of magnificent art showcasing our wonderful Chilterns landscape. The winning artwork was on display at our Exhibition in April -find out more and read the brochure here.

Discover 100s of years of history of the Rye and Holywell Mead

Download and print the fun activity trail for your children to complete, including puzzles, I-spy, maps and dot to dot activities. Use the accompanying Rye Heritage Trail - guidance notes , including old photos to find out the fascinating long and varied history of this special place. 

Starting Point: Outside Wycombe Rye Lido, HP11 1QX  but it's a circular walk and so you can start anywhere.

Accessibility: Activity Trail sheet suitable for 6-11 year olds, focused on the KS2 curriculum
The main walk is all flat and suitable for pushchairs and mobility scooters. The grassy (sometimes boggy) area at the bottom of the waterfall could be avoided by wheelchair users if necessary. 

Parking at the Rye and Holywell Mead Car park, off Bassetsbury Lane, High Wycombe HP11 1QX. 
Short walk from the High Wycombe Town centre, the train station and Wycombe Museum

2 children's play areas, 
Boat hire and cafe,
Wycombe Rye Lido, cafe and gym  
Public toilets at car park

Distance: circular route, approximately 2 miles, allow 2 hours if completing the Activity Trail sheet. Option to extend the trail up a steep path to Keep Hill Woods (approx 1 mile) or to see the springs (approx 0.6 mile) down Bowden Lane. 


Need help teaching local studies?

Understanding the Chilterns is a project running until 2024, in partnership between Amersham Museum, Wycombe Museum and the Chiltern Conservation Board.  Supported by the Heritage Fund and the Ernest Cook Trust, it is offering free hands-on school sessions or virtual sessions with accompanying museum loan boxes for Key Stage 2 children.  

The Chilterns landscape has been shaped by human activity over the last 6000 years: from prehistoric monument builders, Roman farmers, medieval brick and tile producers and more recently Victorian chair makers, to name a few examples.  This session combines the history and geography themes of landscape, settlement and industry. Reflecting the primary history curriculum's strong emphasis on chronology and historical enquiry, the children have a chance to investigate real and replica artefacts and ask museum staff questions to gain an understanding of the story of people in time and place in the Chilterns.  

The purpose of the project is to inspire the next generation of children to feel a connection with the special qualities of the Central Chilterns landscape and support you in your local curriculum planning.

You can choose either:

  1. A hands-on classroom session (in-person) at your school with real museum artefacts OR
  2. A museum loan box, containing real and replica items and suggested activities for use in your classroom

Both would be followed by a Virtual museum classroom follow-up session with a Q&As.

Themes - the session provides a local history overview but there are opportunities for us to adapt to the curriculum topic you are working on - i.e. the Stone Age, Iron Age, Romans or Victorians. As such there are two themes to choose from: 

  • Theme A - pre-1066 session / loan box: including Stone age, Iron age, Roman and a small number of Anglo-Saxon items OR
  • Theme B - post 1066 session / loan box: including Medieval, Tudor and Victorian items

Contact us to find out if your school is eligible for a FREE session.  Spaces are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.  If you are interested, please get in touch at understandingthechilterns@amershammuseum.org telling us:

  • Year group 
  • Number of children 
  • Your local history topic that is relevant to the Chilterns
  • Some preferred dates for a session - we have some availability this term
  • Your preferred option of in person or loan box, and theme - see above

‘The most successful part of the learning experience was providing the children with the opportunity to get hands-on and explore the artefacts, and then placing the artefacts in context during the follow-up virtual session’ Year 3 teacher


Teacher Training

Do you or your staff need help identifying local history topics relevant to your school and local area? Sessions are designed to help advise teachers on the local context of their school, in order to help with curriculum planning. We will come to your staff meeting - either in-person or virtually!

It is particularly relevant with the OFSTED inspection handbook to be able to explain your choice of curriculum topics so that they are relevant to the context of your school. 

The training covers themes chronologically from Stone Age to Iron Age, Saxons, Romans, Medieval, Victorians, WW1/ WW2, particularly relevant to KS2 and helps all teachers to be conversant with the history themes and have awareness of progression through the chronology.  

The session lasts approximately an hour to an hour and half and covers: 

  1. A short introduction to the Chilterns project
  2. A brief overview of the history of the Chilterns - linking to how this can be used in KS2 topics
  3. Using artefacts in the classroom
  4. Activities and resources 

Some testimonials from schools that have recently had a session:  

"Maddy delivered such an informative and useful staff meeting at St Paul's. It was brilliant. Just the talk through of the timeline helped us all put events into chronological order but the additional effort and research she had clearly done to make it so relevant to our school’s local area was much appreciated.  It really helped us evaluate why we have chosen to focus on different aspects of our curriculum, in particular our local study topics and how we can develop the curriculum further. This is especially important now with OFSTED's latest inspection framework focusing so much on the curriculum.  Activities around the artefacts will also be very useful and the additional resources you have left with us.  A fabulous afternoon.  Thank you from all the staff at St Paul’s (Wooburn Green)"

"Thank you so much for the webinar tonight. It was fascinating, and so exciting that there is so much locally for the children to get excited about to make their learning more relevant.  I look forward to building a close relationship with you over the next year.  Thanks again for your presentation from all at Brushwood (Chesham)."



Project introduction

The Chilterns landscape has been shaped by human activity over the last 6000 years: from prehistoric monument builders, roman farmers, medieval brick and tile producers and more recently chair makers, to name just a few examples. The people that have settled here have learnt to use the natural resources available to them. The evidence for this is seen in the historic landscape of the Chilterns and the material remains collected by museums. We want to work with local teachers and school children to share these fascinating histories and ensure local children benefit from an understanding of the natural and cultural heritage of the Chilterns. 


Project aims:

1.      Educate school children about their local landscape and the significance of its history and geography

2.      Provide knowledge and resources to teachers at local schools

3.      Enthuse more local families to explore the local landscape and to visit local museums


Project description:

This education programme is aimed at upper Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children at schools in the Central Chilterns (including High Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham, Great Missenden, Princes Risborough and the adjacent rural areas).

We will help teach children how the Chiltern’s natural resources have supported local industry and communities as well as impacted on the location, type and development of settlements over human history.  Our purpose is to inspire the next generation of local children to feel a connection with the special qualities of the Central Chilterns landscape. We can come to you to deliver FREE taught workshops on local history in your classroom as well as attend staff meetings to advise teachers with their planning of local studies for FREE. 

There are opportunities for us to adapt to the curriculum topic you are working on - i.e. the Stone Age, Iron Age, Romans or Victorians.  


Contact Us:

If you are interested in being part of this exciting project or know a school that could benefit, please get in touch with the Maddy, the Project Education Consultant at understandingthechilterns@amershammuseum.org to find out if your school is eligible to take part in the project. Please tell us:

  • three potential dates for a staff meeting
  • three potential dates for a taught classroom session
  • possible year group
  • topic the children are studying

To find out more about Amersham Museum and Wycombe Museum School Services, go to:



Turners in Hampden Woods

Palaeolithic hand axe


Bookmark and Share