Nicola Balfour is a visual artist with level 3 forest school training and qualification. She is the early years creative consultant for Boldon nursery school,  and Wingate Nursery. For the past 25 years she has devised and delivered high quality outdoor education in schools and nurseries throughout the north east of England. Her aim is to nurture meaningful connections with the natural environment by engaging the imagination through first hand powerful learning experiences.


The Barn at Easington offers curriculum based workshop sessions for 3 to 18 year olds. The Barn delivers CPD and inset training for teachers wanting to find out more about the benefits of learning in nature. All of our workshops are designed around the needs of the group so as to maximize the learning potential for children and staff. The sessions are an ideal way for teachers to kick start a topic, with the emphasis upon child initiated learning, raising self esteem, problem solving and independence. Sessions take place in the old barn, on the farm, the wild flower meadows, the woods, and at the nearby beach.


Workshops at the barn are centred on the seasons, cooking on the fire and traditional craft based activities. We use materials found and gathered from the woods and coastline. We believe less is more and encourage skill-based learning through foraging and recycling.






Watch 'INTO THE LIGHT' , a film especially commissioned by the Early Years Team at Durham County Council to showcase the Barn at Easington's work with East Durham Nurseries. Shown as part of an exhibition dedicated to our work at the Gala Theatre Gallery in January 2018.





The farm sits in 30 acres of natural grassland meadow and is alive with wild flowers and insect life.


It’s the perfect place to build dens, learn about conservation and marvel at the biodiversity, so lacking in mono-cultured crop production.



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Hawthorn Hive is a 20 minute walk from the farm through Hawthorn Dene. The beach is magnificent and is situated on the unique Durham magnesium limestone plateau.


You can discover more about the local mining history through the rocks and stones, create fantastic land art and learn about coastline habitats.

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The barn has direct access to Hawthorn Dene, a spectacular deciduous wood full of beauty and local history.


Wild wood sessions are an ideal way for pupils to find out more about habitats, flora and fauna, geology, local history and folk lore. 

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The barn not only provides a summer home for swallows and respite from inclement weather. It has kitchen facilities and a studio too.


Within easy reach of the kitchen is the fire pit which can be used for outdoor cooking. At the rear of the barn there is a fully equipped toilet block.



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