Read our latest stories

How ECT helps a young engineer pursue his passion

Arkwright Scholar Felix Murray with ECT Trustee Simon EliotThe Arkwright Scholarships Trust awards bursaries to high-calibre students with an interest in engineering. The Ernest Cook Trust has supported 55 Arkwright Scholars over the past two decades.

But what’s it like to be an Arkwright Scholar? Felix Murray is … Read more...

New ECT river keeper bridges the generations

River keeper Jon Welch with predecessor Ken DaveyThe Ernest Cook Trust has welcomed new river keeper Jon Welch to its Fairford Estate in Gloucestershire.

Jon, aged 26, pictured left, takes over the job of managing a two and a half-mile stretch of the River Coln from Ken Davey, … Read more...

Education News: Widening our horizons

ChatsworthAs our reputation grows, increasingly we are reaching out to take our brand of ‘learning from the land’ beyond our own estates.

In an exciting new development, we have joined forces with the Devonshire Educational Trust to appoint an Outdoor … Read more...

Grants News: How ECT helps UK horticulture grow its own

RHS Green Plan-It ChallengeThe UK’s horticulture industry should be blooming – it contributes £10.4bn to the economy each year and employs 300,000 people. Yet the sector faces a skills crisis, with over 70 per cent of businesses struggling to find skilled workers, according … Read more...

Ken hangs up his waders

Ken DaveyWater bailiff Ken Davey has retired after 50 years with the Ernest Cook Trust. Ken joined the Trust in 1966 as a 16-year-old straight from school, and over the decades he covered just about every outdoor maintenance role on the … Read more...

Making woodland music on ECT’s Slimbridge Estate

Forest School on ECT's Slimbridge EstateIn October all 98 children from Gretton Primary School near Cheltenham visited the Redwood Outdoor Education Centre’s Forest School on ECT’s Slimbridge Estate, Gloucestershire, to make ‘woodland music’.

Forest School on ECT's Slimbridge EstatePupils were split into three age groups to explore different sounds using … Read more...

ECT farmer Tony spreads the word on conservation agriculture

conservation agricultureECT tenant farmer Tony Reynolds has founded a new national association to promote conservation agriculture throughout the UK.

The group CA-UK officially launches in January to help farmers exchange information and ideas and to offer training and advice on conservation … Read more...

Oliver continues farming dynasty in Trent

Oliver & Nicola HarrisOliver Harris will become the latest in a new generation of ECT farmers when he takes on the tenancy at Glebe Farm on the Trent Estate in Dorset.

He is expected to take over the 709-acre farm from his father … Read more...

Awards for ECT’s budding engineers

ECT Arkwright Scholars 2016 - engineeringThe UK’s future leaders in engineering were celebrated at the recent Arkwright Scholarships Trust awards – among them, five students funded by the Ernest Cook Trust.

Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are designed to attract the most talented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering … Read more...

Trust welcomes new Chief Executive

nicholas-and-victoria-for-webThe Ernest Cook Trust has welcomed its new Chief Executive, Dr Victoria Edwards OBE. 

Dr  Edwards started the job on October 3rd, taking over from Nicholas Ford, left, who has stepped down after 14 years with the Trust. 

Under his … Read more...

Chief Executive Nicholas Ford: “It’s been an absolute privilege”

Nicholas FordThis Autumn I retire after more than 14 years at the helm of the Ernest Cook Trust. This has been the most rewarding, varied and stimulating job, combining my experience as a land agent with my passion for countryside education.… Read more...

Trust welcomes new faces…

Katy BaggottKaty Baggott has been appointed as the Ernest Cook Trust’s new Assistant Agent.

Katy graduated from the Royal Agricultural College (now the Royal Agricultural University) in Cirencester in 2007 with a degree in Rural Land Management. She worked as a … Read more...

Education News: Outdoor learning’s good for grown-ups too

Teachers Forest School training at ECTWith our education programmes, often we see the benefits to children and hear about the subsequent impact on their learning and behaviour. It’s easy to forget that learning outside the classroom is good for adults too.

A 2011 report commissioned … Read more...

Grants News: The young generation saving our historic buildings

Ben HornbergerCarpenter Ben Hornberger is among a new generation of skilled craftspeople helping to maintain the UK’s most historic buildings.

Ben, pictured left, has just completed the prestigious William Morris Craft Fellowship scheme, run by the Society for the Preservation of … Read more...

Trust appoints new CEO

Dr Victoria EdwardsThe Ernest Cook Trust has appointed Dr Victoria Edwards OBE as its new Chief Executive.

Dr Edwards, a 52-year-old rural chartered surveyor and academic, is currently Associate Professor and Rural Programmes Director at the University of Reading’s Henley Business School.… Read more...

Litter-picking labrador helps Clean for the Queen

WispaFaithful labrador retriever Wispa has been putting her skills to good use, doing her bit for the Clean for the Queen campaign in Fairford.

She was on litter-picking duty with her owner Nicholas Ford, Chief Executive of the Ernest Cook … Read more...

Children go walkabout with Clare Balding

Clare Balding in TrentSchoolchildren in the village of Trent, on ECT’s Trent Estate in Dorset, recently took a walk in the countryside with a special guest – TV presenter and broadcaster Clare Balding.

Ms Balding joined pupils from Trent Youngs Endowed Primary School … Read more...

Jago’s king-sized A-level project

Jago Hartland & lionArt student Jago Hartland is busy putting the finishing touches to his A-level project – a full-sized sculpture of a lion.

Jago, a sixth form student at Farmor’s School in Fairford, is working with the Ernest Cook Trust to create … Read more...

Pupils’ mosaic tribute to Ernest Cook

Mural at Birkenhead High School AcademyPupils at a Merseyside school have made this colourful new mosaic to brighten up the outside of their technology block, in a project funded by the Ernest Cook Trust.

A group of year 9 girls at Birkenhead High School Academy … Read more...

Grants News: The play’s the thing

Shakespeare Schools FestivalThis Autumn thousands of schoolchildren throughout the UK are immersing themselves in Shakespeare – not reading his plays in a classroom, but stepping into the limelight to perform in professional theatres.

The Shakespeare Schools Festival has become the UK’s biggest … Read more...

Education News: Thinking outside the curriculum box

Our Education Team has had another exciting, record-breaking year with numbers rising by almost a fifth – we have welcomed more than 29,000 visitors to our estates in the past academic year.

Every estate visit is linked to the National … Read more...

Trustee changes: Farewell Miles – welcome Mary

ECT Trustee Miles TuelyOne of ECT’s longest-serving Trustees is stepping down after more than two decades on the Board.

Miles Tuely joined the Board in 1994 and has helped steer the Trust through a time of substantial growth – including the purchase of … Read more...

Farm continues family line

Michael Woodford, who has taken over farm tenancy from father JackA new generation has taken over at Lower Hartwell Farm, on ECT’s Hartwell Estate in Buckinghamshire, continuing a family line dating back over a century.

Jack and Jenny Woodford have run the farm since 1979 when Jack took over the … Read more...

First of new crop of coppicers

ECT coppicing apprentice Fiona de WertThe Trust’s first coppicing apprentice, Fiona de Wert, is about to complete her training and has already launched a business selling her own coppice and greenwood products.

ECT went into partnership with the Small Woods charity in 2012 to celebrate … Read more...

Education News: New outdoor classrooms and new faces

ECT's new outdoor classroomsIn recent years the Ernest Cook Trust’s education programme has expanded steadily. Two years ago the total number of school visits topped 25,000 a year and we’re seeing ever-increasing demand among schools for what we do.  

In response, we have … Read more...

Gore Farm celebrates ten years of education visits

Ernest Cook Trust - outdoor learning at Gore Farm. Trent in DorsetThe Ernest Cook Trust is celebrating a decade of school visits to its Gore Farm Education Centre on the Trent Estate in Dorset.

Infants from the local Trent Young’s Endowed School donned their wellies for a special celebratory visit to … Read more...

Grants News: Keeping Arts and Crafts traditions alive

ECT grants help keep Arts & Crafts traditions aliveThe Edward Barnsley Workshop produces beautiful, individually-designed furniture, keeping alive the skills, traditions and style of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The workshop in Froxfield, Hampshire is also turning out new generations of skilled furniture makers with the help of … Read more...

Trustees’ special relationship with tenant farmers

ECT Trustees' special relationship with farmersTrustees have been keeping their ears to the ground with a two-day fact-finding tour of ECT’s Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire estates.

During a recent visit, they toured all the farms on Fairford, Hatherop, Barnsley and Filkins Estates, meeting farm tenants and … Read more...

Royal honour for community stalwart Bill

Bill Fryer receiving his Royal honourLong-standing ECT tenant Mr Bill Fryer has been awarded a Royal honour for services to his local community in Leicestershire. 

Bill, pictured receiving the British Empire Medal from Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Lady Gretton, has been churchwarden at St Mary’s … Read more...

Fond farewells and new faces at Ernest Cook Trust

Fond farewell - Patrick Maclure plants a tree to mark his retirementWe are saying some fond farewells at ECT, while also welcoming some new faces to the fold.

November 2014 saw the retirement of Patrick Maclure, the Trustee with responsibility for education, who has presided over all grants meetings since … Read more...