The Trust’s Estates in Gloucestershire
The Fairford Park Estate
The core of the Fairford Park Estate, which is situated in an attractive area of the southern Cotswolds on the edge of the Cotswold Water Park, was purchased by Ernest Cook in 1945 from the Barker family; at the time it extended to about 2,500 acres.
Further land was purchased by the Trustees in 1966 (Court Farm), 1967 (Hooks Farm at Southrop Airfield), 1975 (Homeleaze Farm) and in 1982 (Donkeywell Farm). At present the estate extends to about 4,200 acres, comprising five let farms which are mainly arable with grazing land along the River Coln Valley, together with 260 acres of woodland, let cottages, let fishing and a let shoot.
As Fairford is central to the main estates owned by the Trust, its headquarters are located in the former stable and coach house yard of the former Fairford Park House.
Fairford Park House was used as an American field hospital during the war and later part of the park was occupied by displaced Polish people until the camp closed in 1959.
Sadly, as was the case with many other houses after the war, the cost of restoring the house to its former condition was considered by Ernest Cook and his then agent John Hill to be financially prohibitive, so the house and some adjoining land were sold to the Gloucestershire County Council. It is now the site of Farmor’s Comprehensive School, a primary school and a nursery, so local children can spend all their school years on the same site.