The future of learning from the land at the last remaining agricultural college farm – Low Beckside Farm – in Cumbria looks to be secured, following an offer to purchase by leading land-based educational charity, The Ernest Cook Trust.
An established landowner in five counties, The Ernest Cook Trust has committed to maintaining Low Beckside Farm, Mungrisdale, as a crucial learning resource for the region.
The Ernest Cook Trust’s offer for the farm has been accepted by Askham Bryan College, in a sale organised by international land agency Savills.
The farm is the sole remaining centre of learning on the land in Cumbria and was part of Newton Rigg campus (run by Askham Bryan College), which is closing this month.
There was local concern at the potential loss of this valuable learning resource to the children and young people of Cumbria.
The farm’s future now looks secure and the Trust said it looks forward to re-establishing it as a learning centre.
The trust plans to get more people learning from the land by operating the farm alongside training schemes, apprenticeships, demonstrations, educational visits, workshops, seminars and open days.
‘We are really excited about the opportunities’
The Ernest Cook Trust’s chairman of trustees, Andrew Christie-Miller, said: “We have been looking for a suitable place to support land-based learning in the north of England.
We are really excited about the opportunities that Low Beckside will offer to so many young people.”
The Ernest Cook Trust also operates training and apprenticeship programmes for disadvantaged young people from its base in Cumbria, in collaboration with Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust.
The Trust helps to engage communities in the countryside from its base in Lancashire, as part of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal of Askham Bryan College, that took over the running of Newton Rigg in 2011, said:
“We are delighted that The Ernest Cook Trust has come forward to protect this valuable local resource. Low Beckside has provided practical training opportunities to so many young people over the years and its contribution to the future of upland farming now looks set to continue.”
The Ernest Cook Trust’s chief executive, Dr Victoria Edwards OBE said:
We have a lifelong approach to outdoor learning that covers schools, skills and communities.
“Low Beckside will provide a spectacular landscape for us to nurture and grow our work in the northwest.”