The Ernest Cook Trust encourages public access on all its estates and there are many permissive footpaths available that wind through some of the most attractive areas of the English countryside.
Most of the footpaths pass through managed farmland or maintained woodland where a great deal of work is undertaken by the Trust and its farm tenants to grow food, care for trees and conserve wildlife. Members of the public using the paths can help the Trust in its work by taking care to respect these aims.
A walking map for the Trust’s Pitham Brook permissive footpath in Fairford can be downloaded and printed off. Click on the link in ‘Find out more…’
Two holiday cottages are available for holiday letting in the busy market town of Fairford in Gloucestershire. The properties are situated in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Coln, close to the parish church of St Mary’s which contains a famous set of medieval windows which have been restored.
The cottages were formerly a water mill and have extensive views over the water meadows. Please note that booking is done through English Country Cottages not through the ECT.
Visit www.english-country-cottages.co.uk and insert references NQL (Mill House) or NXE (Millstream Cottages) in the search box half way down the page.
One of the alternative enterprises on the Fairford Estate in Gloucestershire is the fishing on the River Coln where the Trust is fortunate to own more than two miles of single and double bank dry fly fishing between Fairford and Hatherop.
The water is fished by up to 18 rods and their guests. Rods are let for the season; please note: no day rods are let. For more information, please contact the Estate Office.
The season for brown trout runs from 1st April to 30th September each year. Some say that the peak of the trout fishing season is during the latter part of May and early June when the mayfly hatch, but hatches of hawthorn, olives, sedges and daddy longlegs will provide the fisherman with a wide choice of flies dependent upon the time of season.
In addition to wild fish, which are encouraged to breed in the autumn by raking over the redds – loose gravel on the river bed where fish lay their eggs – the river is stocked with brown trout between one and one-and-a-half pounds in size, together with some rainbow trout in the Broadwater, which is rather like a large lake as it has a much slower flow than the rest of the river. There is also a carrier stream of about three quarters of a mile which was excavated by Thames Water in 1980 in the former water meadows as compensation to the Trust for extending the abstraction rights for water which supplies Swindon.
The Trust employs a river keeper who is responsible for maintaining the banks and ensuring, by repairing fences, that grazing livestock do not destroy the riverbanks and vegetation, which are an important source of fly life. To find out more about his job, click here.
The Trust usually donates a rod to the annual Salmon and Trout Association raffle and has, in the past, hosted a practice for the England Ladies Fly Fishing Team prior to the World Championships.
From time to time, allotments become available on ECT estates in Hatherop, Trent, Hartwell and Boarstall, Fairford Leys and Little Dalby. If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please contact the Estate Office.