Banbury Hill Equine Assisted Learning
Banbury Hill, New Road, Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2HF                                                                    

Contact:     Jan Matthews
Telephone: 07979 217522
Email:        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About EAQ Banbury Hill Equine Assisted Learning
EAQ Banbury Hill Equine Assisted Learning is a not-for-profit organisation based on a seven acre site beside an old Roman Hill Fort near Sturminster Newton in North Dorset. 

There are lots of things to do on the site for people of all ages, from helping with the ponies, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs to digging the vegetable plot or planting seeds. There is a small pond which is home to newts, frogs and dragonflies and wonderful views to sit and admire!

A mobile home provides a ‘classroom’ and space to work when the weather is too wet or cold to be outside.

Banbury Hill offers alternative education sessions for children, young people and adults in the natural outdoor environment and is a place where people can be at one with nature, develop their self-confidence and explore communication skills through interaction on the ground with ponies and other animals.

Bespoke sessions and nationally-recognised qualifications are available for:

  • children from the local schools who need to increase their self confidence and self esteem
  • those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties;
  • young people on the autism spectrum or with ADHD;
  • children and young people who have been excluded or are close to exclusion from school
  • carers - young and older
  • parents and foster carers
  • adults in recovery from addiction
  • people with mental ill-health
  • people with learning difficulties.

Outdoor activities are available throughout the summer holidays with pony picnics, den-building, outdoor cooking, bonfires, and arts and crafts which all form part of the week-long programme.

For adults there is ‘Green Therapy’, ‘Mindfulness’ and ‘Walking for Wellness’ aimed at improving well-being for people with mental ill-health, dementia, low self-esteem, learning difficulties, those who are caring for others or who have a life-limiting diagnosis. It is open to anyone who would like to spend time in the peace and quiet of this stunning natural environment.

People from the local community are welcome to get involved with the centre by offering their time to plant vegetables or look after the ponies.  Banbury Hill is an EAQ Approved Centre and as such is able to offer accredited OCNLR units and qualifications at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2 including maths and English, employability and animal care.

The centre has a team of trained faciliators who are on hand to support learners who attend. The specialist staff team are able to deliver all aspects of the curriuculum including maths, English, art, history, geography, science and even Japanese!        


  • school pupils
  • out of school tuition for young people
  • elderly
  • people with dementia / Alzheimer’s
  • autism spectrum conditions (ASD / ASC)
  • learning difficulties
  • mental ill-health
  • depression
  • unemployed
  • economically inactive
  • adult learners.                                                                                                                                 

Banbury Hill is an EAQ Approved Centre and as such is able to offer nationally-recognised qualifications from OCNLR in a range of subjects including employability, animal care, horticulture and functional skills.                            

“I have taken part in my school sports day and won a prize for maths since coming on the maths course at Banbury.” J aged 12.
“The change in S has been amazing, he doesn’t want to come home - and I love it here too!” T, S’s Mum