Read our latest stories

Children defy summer downpours for woodland fun

ECT summer forest schoolChildren discovered the joys of the great outdoors in the first of two summer holiday Forest Schools organised by Fairford Town Council and run by the Ernest Cook Trust.

Despite the summer showers, the event at Lea Wood on ECT’s … Read more...

Farm conservation – putting the farmer in control

L to R: Professor Nick Sotherton, Director of Research of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Teresa Dent, Chief Executive of GWCT, Dr Victoria Edwards, Chief Executive of the Ernest Cook Trust and Andrew Christie-Miller, Chairman of ECTThe Ernest Cook Trust has joined forces with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in an innovative project to help farmers work together to nurture wildlife on their farms.

The ‘Farmer Cluster’ concept is designed to encourage groups of farmers … Read more...

Enjoying a good book in the great outdoors

Tuffley Primary School at the Ernest Cook Trust site in Slimbridge with the National Literacy TrustWhat could be nicer than sitting out in a meadow on a lovely summer’s day, reading a book?

Children from Tuffley Primary School in Gloucester had the chance to do just that at a recent event run by the Ernest … Read more...

ECT welcomes new Property Director

Michael BirnieThe Ernest Cook Trust has appointed Michael Birnie MRICS FAAV as its Property Director.

The Trust, based in Fairford, Gloucestershire, is one of the UK’s leading educational charities, and is rooted in the conservation and management of the countryside. It … Read more...

Learning in the farmyard – a meeting of minds

Chief Executive Dr Victoria Edwards, Head of Education Anne Newman, and Education Officers Liz MacKenzie and Sue Nixon-Lea (pictured with Adam HensonThe Ernest Cook Trust is pleased to have been among the sponsors of the inaugural School Farms Network Education Alliance (SFNEA) conference, held recently at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.

The two-day event brought together outdoor learning practitioners, teachers

Read more...

Focus on Forest School: Trent Estate in Dorset

Forest School on ECT's Trent EstatePupils from Trent Young’s C of E Primary School have been taking a regular Monday afternoon walk to their Forest School session in the woodland on ECT’s Trent Estate.
 
Forest School on ECT's Trent EstateThe children, aged seven to nine, chose from a range … Read more...

Woodland gift from Jack and Terry

Terry Darby and Jack AttonRetired ECT woodmen Jack Atton and Terry Darby have donated a wooden bench to celebrate the woodland they planted decades ago.
 
The new bench is now in position next to the permissive path in the Rise Hills woods, overlooking … Read more...

Learning from the lambs

Veterinary students Laura Shipman and Vikki CaponAdeys Farm on ECT’s Slimbridge Estate had some extra help with the lambing from Royal Veterinary College students Laura Shipman, pictured left, and Vikki Capon.  

For over 20 years, farmers Tim and Caroline Wilson have hosted first-year veterinary students on … Read more...

ECT welcomes new Trustee

Jenefer GreenwoodThe Ernest Cook Trust has welcomed a new Trustee to its Board – Jenefer Greenwood OBE.

Jenefer, who lives near Fairford, joined the Trust on April 5th following a highly successful career in the property sector.

A qualified chartered surveyor,

Read more...

Trust joins Cotswold Hare Trail

Hare Today, Gone TomorrowA beautiful new sculpture has pride of place overlooking the millpond on the Ernest Cook Trust’s Fairford Estate in Gloucestershire.

Entitled ‘Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow’, the piece was created by education officer Peter Tatham with help from students at Farmor’s … Read more...

New recruit as ECT joins forces with Chatsworth

The Ernest Cook Trust has welcomed the latest recruit to its education team, in a new collaboration which extends its expertise to the iconic Chatsworth Estate.

Former primary school teacher Nicola Spence, pictured, joined ECT in February. But unlike the … Read more...

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...