The Peterhouse Group of Schools is fortunate to have two conservation areas, Gosho Park and Calderwood Park, which serve the three schools. Gosho Park is adjacent to the Girls’ School and Springvale House, and it caters for anyone interested in natural history.
Access is gained through the main gate near the entrance to the Peterhouse Girls/Springvale complex. A small entry fee is payable, which goes towards the upkeep of the park. There is limited camping at the Bush Camp and Hikers’ Hut. Picnic sites are also available near Hikers’ Hut.
Essentially, it is an area of pristine Brachystegia woodland with two streams, their associated grassland areas and rocky outcrops (some with Bushman paintings). Approximately 340 ha of land has been enclosed within a 2.3m (8 ft.) game fence. The strict protection of the vegetation has seen new bird species arrive of their own volition. The bird life is particularly good with over 150 different species recorded by the Mashonaland East Birding Group, including a complete range of the Brachystegia species such as Spotted Creeper, Miombo (Northern) Grey and Rufousbellied Tits. The presence of the latter species bears witness to the undisturbed nature of the woodlands and there are currently 72 tree species recorded by the Tree Society.
Gosho Park is used regularly by the three Peterhouse schools and neighbouring schools for educational and recreational purposes. Conservation camps are organised for primary school pupils, and geography field trips, research projects in biology and leadership courses take place in the park.
A number of walking trails have been established, but visitors must remember that all animals encountered are wild and entry is at their own risk. The park is open to the public and many parents and local residents visit it especially at weekends.
In 1984 Peter Ginn, a well known bird photographer and geography teacher at Peterhouse, approached The United Bottling Company, Mr Daryl Mitchell from Rakodzi farm and several others and a fence was erected. A pond was built and nine impala and several sable were introduced late in the year. The park comprises land from Rakodzi farm and Springvale farm, the former area ceded by Mr Daryl Mitchell to Peterhouse for as long as the area is used for conservation purposes. It was named after Mr Patrick Gosho, a former Estate Manager at Springvale House.
During the 1980s groups of up to 110 schoolboys from every level at Peterhouse worked hard to create roads, the trails, picnic sites, the Bush Camp (with the help of builders) and other facilities. Tremendous material support was given by Peterhouse parents, but some wondered why their sons were working in the park instead of studying for exams! Over the years more game was introduced including giraffe; zebra; kudu; eland; waterbuck; wildebeest; bushbuck; duiker; klipspringer and steenbuck.
Bookings to camp or to make use of Hikers’ Hut and The Bush Camp must be made through Peterhouse Girls on 065 -2323599, 2324951/3, 2322200/4.
The Calderwood park is based on the Peterhouse Boys campus and is approximately 350ha – it was opened in 2012 and only has a few game animals.
The park is used predominantly by Peterhouse boys and staff but parents are always welcome. The park gives boys an opportunity to spend time in a natural environment close to the school and is ideal for picnicing and fishing (catch and release).
At present there are no camping facilities available.