Everything Is Better Outdoors
Every person should know the feeling of being utterly captivated and intrigued by nature
Seven decades ago, a remarkable story began when a shy, unassuming man bequeathed his estates to the charity that bears his name - The Ernest Cook Trust.
His generous bequest created an extraordinary legacy that has since benefitted many thousands of children and young people, their families and communities, particularly those who are underserved.
As a UK educational charity, the Trust's important work helps nurture a lifelong journey of learning, appreciation and respect for the countryside through a range of Outdoor Learning experiences.
This remarkable story continues.
The Importance Of Being Ernest
The roots of The Ernest Cook Trust are deeply embedded in our founder’s love of the countryside.
When Ernest Cook had great wealth thrust upon him, he combined this good fortune with a passion for conserving the countryside, buying several country estates which were eventually bequeathed to The Ernest Cook Trust - the educational charity he established in 1952.
Today, the Trust is one of the UK’s foremost providers and funders of Outdoor Learning.
This important work takes place on and beyond our thriving estates, as we develop partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organisations also seeking to share their passion for Outdoor Learning, particularly with underserved children, young people and their communities across the UK.
Just as Ernest Cook shared his own good fortune, so we also share the wealth of our knowledge and experience as influencers in the debate around the environment, farming and sustainability.
Supporting All We Do
across 9 estates
in 6 counties
10+ small enterprises,
100s of allotment tenants
The Trust cares for 9,000 hectares of land across nine rural land holdings. These authentic, living communities are home to our tenant farmers, residential tenants and small enterprises, while also serving as unique open-air classrooms for our Outdoor Learning programmes.
Together with our own land in Buckinghamshire, Cumbria, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire, we also work with partner estates in Cumbria, Lancashire and Derbyshire.
As a land-based educational Trust, we are uniquely placed to be a model for innovative, experimental methods of land management. By sharing our land, knowledge and experience, we inspire a greater love and understanding of the natural world, farming and sustainability.
Active management dictates that we are constantly looking for new opportunities and ways to evolve and improve our income stream in support of the Trust's overall charitable object.
The Trust also works with partner estates and host organisations. These carefully selected and nurtured partnerships have resulted in a range of projects and programmes, enabling us to impact more children, young people and their communities, particularly those who are underserved.
Reports & Associations
The Ernest Cook Trust has a highly respected reputation as an educational charity, with seven decades of experience. The pursuit of learning is fundamental to all aspects of our work. Our associations and memberships of several national organisations allow for a mutual sharing of knowledge and experience as we strive for continuous improvement and best practice.
Take a look at our latest Annual Report to see how we have helped children and young people, their families and communities connect with nature.
Full versions of our Annual Report & Accounts can be found on the Charity Commission website.