College adds woodland to boost studies

Askham Bryan College.
Askham Bryan College.
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The expansion of York’s Askham Bryan College is continuing after it this week announced the purchase of 324 acres of arable and woodland in the region.

The college has bought Home Farm, Askham Richard which adjoins the college, increasing its total acreage to 1,400 acres in Yorkshire, alongside the 1,000 acres it owns in Cumbria after acquiring the Newton Rigg College in 2001.

The farm was bought from Edinmore Properties, a Scottish investment company which itself had purchased the estate earlier this month.

The college’s chief executive Liz Philip said: “This is exciting news for us and indeed for future generations of farmers in the North of England.

“In particular, students studying arable farming, land-based engineering, equine management, arboriculture and countryside management will benefit from the increased opportunities in terms of broadening the scope of their practical studies.

“Our aim is to ensure our students have the best possible resources to work with. This is our green laboratory as well as a fully commercial operation developing valuable agronomy and business management resources which will benefit all our students.”

The initial priority for college’s farm manager Mike Patch is to put together a cropping regime for next year and begin a programme of care and maintenance for the farm’s hedges, ditches, and boundaries.

Ms Philip continued: “In due course we plan to develop a range of arable trials at Askham Richard. Also, there are about 30 acres of woodland, which will be a great asset to our forestry and arboriculture students. We intend to establish hacking tracks for equine students and there’s a wetland habitat which conservation students will find of benefit. We plan to lay out a pheasant shoot to support our new gamekeeping course. The farm, which has traditional parkland, lends itself to that.”

Askham Bryan already has a strong arable base for students’ – at Headley Hall, and the East Barrow and Westfield Farms. It also hosts the National Beef Training Centre, a Rural Research Centre and has a thriving dairy and sheep enterprise, plus arable plots run in conjunction with NIAB and Agrovista.

There will also be benefits for students at Askham Bryan’s sister college at Newton Rigg in Cumbria who spend time at York as part of their studies. “Students at Newton Rigg and Askham Bryan spend time at each of our campuses and that is something we plan to build on,” said Ms Philip.