AN educational charity is taking over the last remaining agricultural college farm in Cumbria.

The Ernest Cook Trust has now agreed a deal, at an undisclosed sum, with owners Askham Bryan to buy Low Beckside at Mungrisdale, which forms part of the Newton Rigg College campus.

The 125-year-old Penrith college, which closes this month, had been deemed financially unviable and last-ditch attempts to find a buyer for it failed.

An established landowner in five counties, the Ernest Cook Trust has committed to maintaining Low Beckside as a crucial learning resource for the region. It plans to get more people learning from the land by operating the farm alongside training schemes, apprenticeships, demonstrations, educational visits, workshops, seminars and open days.

Its Chairman of Trustees, Andrew Christie-Miller, said: “We have been looking for a suitable place to support land-based learning in the north of England. We are really excited about the opportunities that Low Beckside will offer to so many young people.”

The Trust already operates training and apprenticeship programmes for disadvantaged young people from its base in Cumbria, in collaboration with Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust.

Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal of Askham Bryan College, which has run Newton Rigg since 2011, said: “Low Beckside has provided practical training opportunities to so many young people over the years and its contribution to the future of upland farming now looks set to continue.”