The Trust’s Estates in Oxfordshire
The Filkins Estate
In 2007, the Filkins estate, which was bequeathed by Sir John Cripps and his executors following his death in 1993, but which had been partly passed over to the Trust since then, was fully transferred to the Trust’s portfolio.
Situated on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire border, the Filkins Estate comprises one 500 acre farm and a number of cottages, with a small area of commercial units housing the Cotswold Woollen Weavers and Filkins Stone Company.
These workshops demonstrate how traditional farm buildings can remain of importance to the local community. The buildings are conserved, maintained, and form an important source of local employment and wealth generation. In addition, traditional crafts and skills are kept alive, which help in the conservation and maintenance of estates.
Sir John Cripps, son of the post-war Labour minister Sir Stafford Cripps, was an avid supporter of the countryside; he was editor of The Countryman and chaired the Countryside Commission.
At Filkins Farm, Sir John was delighted when a combination of low inputs and a conservation strategy not only brought back wild flowers, butterflies and kestrels but also took the farm into profit; the farm is run on similar lines today.
Sir John wrote that he wished to find for Filkins Farm, the cottages and the small industries that he cared so much about: “A trust for the purpose of education, conservation and access, while contributing to the social and economic wealth of the parishes of Filkins and Broughton Poggs”. Sir John felt that he had found this in The Ernest Cook Trust.