BBC Countryfile at Newton Rigg College
Newton Rigg College will be in the TV spotlight following a day's filming with one of BBC's most popular programmes, Countryfile.
A BBC 1 film crew, with presenter Ellie Harrison, visited Cumbria on Friday 27 March to interview staff and students about the challenges and opportunities of farming in the uplands. The resulting footage will be broadcast on Sunday 12 April, to around 7.5 million viewers showcasing the college's hill farm, Low Beckside, and in particular, the recent addition of Luing cattle. A hardy breed originating from Scotland, they are ideal for the living on higher land and were purchased in January as heifers and have only recently calved.
The crew were welcomed to Low Beckside by Principal, Wes Johnson and went on to chat to Matt Bagley, Head of Agriculture and students Lilly Hodgson and Scott Jefferson. While the cameras rolled, the Luing cows and their new calves were brought by a group of students from the in-bye land and taken to the nearby uplands for grazing.
Filming with Cumbria Wildlife Trust followed, examining the habitats provided by the uplands' dry stone walls and then it was the turn of Newton Rigg College lecturer Peter Armstrong as students demonstrated the importance of keeping the dry stone walls in good repair.
Matt Bagley, the Head of Agriculture, explained: “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 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.”