Welcome to The Ark! We are a working and educational smallholding designed to provide a nurturing and safe space for all ages, to help develop social, emotional and life skills. We offer animal therapy, forest school activities, wood working sessions, outdoor cooking and much more.

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A Typical Day

Every day is a learning experience here at The Ark.

We start the day at 9.30am with a check in and breakfast.

It’s then onto the days duties, feeding and caring for the animals and getting stuck in with the general day to day running of a smallholding.

We have a short break for lunch before beginning the afternoon projects.

These afternoon projects are very much student lead. We try to build on our students own interests and ideas, which can range from things like woodworking, music, art, to field crafts, campfires or river walks.

We always end the day on a positive note, highlighting personal strengths and thanking everyone for their help.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our daily blog, where you can check out what’s been going on lately down here at The Ark.

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About Us

Meet the Team

Helen McGloughlin

Designated Safeguarding Lead and School/Student Liaison

After learning to ride horses from the age of 8 and having many throughout her childhood, Helen took a break from horses to focus on her career and family. Helen has three children and her youngest, Ruby, also has a keen interest in horses and animals and volunteers at The Ark during the holidays.

Helen has worked within the education system for 25 years supporting children and families, while still having a keen passion for horses and animals in her spare time.

Throughout her career, Helen has worked along side many animal and outdoor projects in conjunction with schools, and has seen first hand the positive impacts this can have not just on her own wellbeing, but also the students she was supporting.

Seeing those positive changes in those students gave Helen the drive to make this her full time career, with the help of Kane who she met while working on one of those projects.

Kane Wilson

Project and Livestock Manager

The great outdoors has always played a large part in Kanes life. From the simple pleasures of growing vegetables to hiking mountain trails.

Kane graduated from university with a degree in physics and loved the challenge of trying to understand the world through the mathematical and theoretical modelling of the universe. He has now turned those analytical skills into trying to understand how we can live more harmoniously with nature and the land. Using the simple but powerful skills of observation, he hopes to investigate alternative and more natural methods of keeping pastures in condition. Each of our animals have been chosen to do a specific job on the land, from weed control to providing manure for fertiliser.


This is Ruby, a keen horse rider and has been riding since 2015. Ruby helps out at The Ark during the holidays and on weekends. When Ruby isn’t hanging out with all the animals, she loves art, reading, cooking and loves to bake buns.

Ruby has 3 horses of her own: Rosie who we use at The Ark; Gordon who is a young resuce pony; and her newest addition Daisie who is only 7 months old and is also at The Ark.

Together we now have an ever growing smallholding, with sheep, horses, goats, quail, guinea pigs, and an ever expanding flock of chickens.

Since The Ark opened we have welcomed many students who have become part of the project, helping us to build and grow into a space for both them and the local community.

We are fully safeguarding and first aid trained. All staff and volunteers have full DBS checks.

We have a real passion for working with animals. All our livestock have been handled by both children and adults and are very much part of our family.

What we offer

As an educational smallholding we offer a range of services and ways to get involved.

  • Schools

We accept referrals from schools and other agencies to support students who would benefit from access to an outdoor, hands on, and practical learning environment. Our primary aim is to support students with their social and emotional wellbeing, while providing students an opportunity to learn a range of valuable life skills.

Students learn how to care for small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. We have a range of woodworking projects like building bird boxes and chicken coops, outdoor cooking over our firepit, and for those students inquisitive about learning where their food comes from – they can get involved in growing vegetables and the raising and care of our livestock.

Every student has a personalised plan to track their achievements.

We also offer animal therapy and bereavement counselling and our support and engagement is not time limited.

For more information you can contact Helen McGloughlin (DSL and School Liaison) on 07754 315 387

Click here for our policies and procedures

  • Home Education

We offer home education sessions on Mondays throughout the year.

Students get hands on experience caring for our animals and also enjoy lots of forest school activities.

These sessions run from 10am – 2pm and must be booked in advance. To book a session please get in touch.

  • Holiday Clubs

During the summer holidays we run holiday clubs sessions.

These are more relaxed days where children can enjoy being around our animals and get hands on experience with them. We also have forest school activities and plenty of fun and games. To book a place please email us or check out our facebook page for more information.

  • Volunteering, Work Experience and DofE

If you are 16+ and would like to help out and volunteer your time, or if you are looking for work experience with animals, please get in touch. We also work with students who are undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Award.


As we are not a ‘public farm’ visits are by appointment only. If you wish to arrange a visit, please contact Helen: info@thearksmallholding.co.uk

The Ark is an outdoor learning experience, and appropriate clothing is a must. We ask all visitors to wear something warm, comfortable and something they don’t mind getting dirty.

We can provide spare waterproofs and wellies for children who may need them during the winter months.

During summer, we ask students to bring their own sun cream and hats.

Finding Us

For Sat Nav you can use the postcode LS22 5AS.

We are located just next to the beautiful St Oswald’s Church. We have on site parking for visitors. For drop offs, we usually meet on church lane and walk along the footpath through the church yard.