RAU signs agreement with 15,000ac Bathurst Estate

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has struck an innovative new partnership with Gloucestershire’s Bathurst Estate.

The deal will provide students and staff with access to 15,000ac of farmland, forestry, environmentally-managed land, real estate, heritage properties and a range of rural enterprises to use for teaching, research and knowledge exchange.

Bathurst Estate includes a diverse range of rural enterprises which will provide invaluable real-world experience to students on all of the university’s courses.

The historic estate is “over the wall” from the university and is owned by Lord Allen Bathurst, an alumnus and one of the university’s vice-presidents.

The Bathurst family has supported the university (then the Royal Agricultural College) since its foundation 175 years ago.

The estate will benefit greatly from an ever-closer working relationship with the university. Engagement with academics who are thought leaders, alongside staff and student research projects will inevitably add value to its future strategic plans.

Vice-chancellor Prof. Joanna Price said: “The university has been at the forefront of the land-based sector for 175 years and remains committed to continually enhancing the learning experience for its students.

“This is why we are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with the Bathurst Estate which provides a new and innovative approach to the delivery of practical teaching.

The traditional approach taken by land-based institutions like ours has been to rely heavily on facilities provided by their own farms. However, this can limit the students’ learning experience at a time of unprecedented change in the way we produce food, manage land, our natural resources and sustain rural economies into the future. To this end, we must ensure that our students’ horizons are as broad as possible.

“This collaboration provides a wealth of additional opportunities on our doorstep for students to gain applied practical experience of innovative and sustainable approaches to managing the land, producing food in an economically sustainable way, while protecting the environment, supporting the rural economy and enhancing the local community.”

Lord Bathurst said: “I welcome this new partnership which will allow students to get experience and access to everyday practical land management issues.

“The estate, in return, will gain from the students’ freer blue-sky thinking and a ‘can do’ approach and attitude to tackling some of the traditional problems found in the landed sector.”