Plans are afoot at Dumfries House to enhance and expand their agricultural education output and provision to encourage and train more young farmers in the area.

Management at the Dumfries House Estate have submitted a planning application to East Ayrshire Council that if approved would see them construct a single-storey education building comprising classrooms and support/ancillary accommodation and a agricultural shed to ‘be used specifically for education purposes,’ which will provide a large demonstration/activity space with livestock holding and handling areas adjacent.

They’re targeting school pupils over the age of 14, school leavers, adult learners looking for a new career, and farming and rural sector workers looking to upskill.

A design statement submitted by the estate explains their desire to see the new buildings built: “The underlying principle is to bring new talent into the farming and rural sector, specifically targeting those with no current connection to it. In addition, programmes will continue to promote the wider principle of encouraging people to enjoy the benefits of spending time in the countryside.

“Delivery would be hands-on and practical, allowing students to immerse themselves in their subject area, giving them maximum opportunity to grow their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry. The aim of the courses would be to ignite interest in potential careers and further study pathways to higher level qualifications and specialisms.

“The Prince’s Foundation also recognises the need to pass on traditional and rural skills (hedge-laying, dry-stone walling, fencing, drainage, butchery etc.) within the existing workforce.

The plans currently lie with East Ayrshire planning chiefs and will be decided upon at a future date. The plans can be viewed on the council’s online planning portal, reference 21/0851/PP.