PRINCE Charles again voiced strong support for the Cumbrian rural community when he visited the home of Lord Inglewood, chairman of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, at Hutton-in-the-Forest.

He met local farmers and heard about the challenges they face due to changes in support schemes for agriculture — but was also told how they are seeking to increase their income through diversification projects.

One of the farming entrepreneurs he spoke with was Maria Benjamin, of Nibthwaite Grange Farm, near Coniston, who told him about her venture creating local tweed cloth out of the wool from the Lake District's Herdwick sheep.

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The Prince was interested to hear how Maria plans to make tweeds out of wool from a number of Lakeland valleys, including Ullswater, and received from her a traditional shepherd's bag made out of Herdwick wool.

He also spoke with the group behind the plans to revitalise Newton Rigg College, Penrith — a centre of agricultural learning — which was closed last year by former operator Askham Bryan College, based at York.

Andrew Counsell, a director of the Newton Rigg Ltd group, spoke of the strong support from businesses for reviving Newton Rigg, and the success of the equestrian centre at the campus which is now back in operation.

Towards the end of his visit, Prince Charles met two refugee families, one from Syria and the other Afghanistan, who have found new homes in the Carlisle area. He was told about the warm welcome they have received from local people, and how they are enjoying integrating into their new communities.

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