THE purchase of Low Beckside Farm by The Ernest Cook Trust is now complete, securing its future as a resource for land-based education for students in Cumbria.

The Trust stepped in with an offer to buy Low Beckside at Mungrisdale – part of the now closed Newton Rigg College Campus at Penrith - to ensure it would remain a learning resource as well as an upland sheep farm.

The Ernest Cook Trust, based in Gloucestershire, is a UK-wide educational charity, creating outdoor experiences for children, young people and their families.

A landowner in six counties, it runs education programmes on its own estates, as well as with partners’ estates, and offers grants for outdoor learning activities.

Dr Victoria Edwards, OBE, chief executive of The Ernest Cook Trust said: “We are delighted that our purchase of Low Beckside Farm is now complete. This is a first for us, farming in our own right, as the rest of the Trust’s agricultural land is managed by our tenant farmers.

“We now have some important work to do in scoping the potential of the farm to serve as a learning resource while furthering our understanding of how to farm in a nature friendly way.

“In the meantime, the farm is already being used by students from Kendal College for Level One land based studies. It’s great to have young people back on the farm again.”

Ernest Cook was a shy, self-effacing English gentleman, who had great wealth thrust upon him.

Combining this good fortune with a passion for conserving the countryside, he bought several country estates which were eventually bequeathed to The Ernest Cook Trust - the educational charity he established in 1952.