Countryfile crew join staff and students at Newton Rigg College for programme on uplands

Footage to be broadcast on April 12 will include sections of hardy Luing cattle and dry stone walling

Countryfile Presenter Ellie Harrison, Matt Bagley, Low Beckside farm manager John Rowland, lecturer Natalie Parker and students at the farmstead
Countryfile Presenter Ellie Harrison, Matt Bagley, Low Beckside farm manager John Rowland, lecturer Natalie Parker and students at the farmstead

NOrthern agricultural college Newton Rigg is to appear on the BBC’s Countryfile after a television crew spent a day filming at its hill farm, Low Beckside.

Presenter Ellie Harrison visited the Cumbrian site on March 27 to interview staff and students about the challenges and opportunities presented by farming in the uplands.

The resulting footage will be broadcast on April 12 to around 7.5m viewers.

The crew was welcomed to Low Beckside by college principal Wes Johnson, before going on to speak to Matt Bagley, head of agriculture, and students Lilly Hodgson and Scott Jefferson.

Among the highlights of the programme will be section on the college’s recent addition of Luing cattle, a hardy breed originating from Scotland, ideally suited to living on higher land.

While the cameras rolled, the cows, which were purchased in January and have recently calved, were brought by a group of students from the in-bye land and taken to the nearby uplands for grazing.

Countryfile Presenter Ellie Harrison joins students from Newton Rigg College for a dry stone walling session
Countryfile Presenter Ellie Harrison joins students from Newton Rigg College for a dry stone walling session

Filming with Cumbria Wildlife Trust followed, with the habitats provided by uplands dry stone walls being examined. The students, alongside Newton Rigg College lecturer Peter Armstrong, demonstrated the importance of keeping the walls in good repair.

Mr Bagley said: “We were delighted to be approached by the BBC and thoroughly enjoyed hosting the day.

“Farming in the uplands is such a vital part of the UK’s agriculture and countryside and where better to see that than in Cumbria and with our young people who are so passionate about hill farming.

“We are the only college to have an uplands farm and to draw students from across the country, many of whom are from hill farms.

“This, coupled with our lowland arable farms at York and our new dairy unit here at Newton Rigg, means we can provide a breadth of education across virtually all types of farming.

“The timing for the programme could not have been better as our uplands conference in May draws closer, when we will bring together many of the different interested groups to discuss its management.”

Catering for around 800 students, Newton Rigg College offers a range of further and higher education courses - including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and countryside management - as well as apprenticeship courses

In July 2011, it became part of the Yorkshire-based Askham Bryan College, which has a number of centres across the North East and North West.

A £3m investment plan, announced in November 2012, is currently under way, which will transform the campus, updating existing buildings and providing state-of-the-art facilities for students.

A new dairy unit was also completed in March last year and six months later a new agriculture centre, The Frank Parkinson Building, open.

Improvements to the equine facilities are likewise being carried out.

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