@CapelManor College, London’s only specialist environmental college, has received RBST Education Accreditation from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (@RBSTrarebreeds). It becomes one of just three education institutions in the UK to hold this accreditation.

Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the national charity working for the survival of the UK’s rare breeds of farm animals and equines. RBST’s accreditation scheme sets standards of information and procedures, provides advice, and co-ordinates joint conservation projects.

Rare Breeds Survival Trust Chief Executive Christopher Price said:

“The UK’s native breeds of livestock are an irreplaceable part of our national heritage but they also have an important place in the future for farming where the natural environment and high welfare are at the heart of food production. Capel Manor College is creating fantastic opportunities for hands-on education about the unique attractions of native breeds both for its own students and for the wider community. The College’s work is an important part of the conservation effort for these rare animals and I am delighted to award Capel Manor our new Education Accreditation.”

Capel Manor College offers a wide variety of land-based education including agriculture, animal care, horticulture and countryside management. Agricultural courses are based at the College’s certified organic Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, which houses a variety of priority and at risk rare breed livestock including Lincoln Longwool sheep, Norfolk Horn sheep, Boreray sheep, Manx Loaghtan sheep, Berkshire pigs, Tamworth pigs and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. It also has a herd of Red Poll cattle, a native breed which used to be rare but whose numbers have increased.

Angelika Hauses, Farm Manager at Forty Hall, said:

“We are thrilled to be one of the first colleges to receive this important accreditation from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. We have a variety of rare breeds and we like to support their conservation whilst recognising what a valuable educational resource they represent. With our rare breeds, we plant seeds with our students in the hope that they will remember and return to these breeds in the future.”

As well as livestock, Forty Hall Farm has a market garden producing 200 veg boxes a week for the residents of Enfield, the only commercial vineyard in London, a farm shop and a monthly farmers’ market.  Students gain hands-on experience, and the rare breed livestock helps deliver wider education benefits when Forty Hill Farm is open to the public at weekends.

Angelika Hauses says: “We create a really important opportunity for children to understand more about producing meat from sheep and cattle. Having the rare breeds here really helps us to demonstrate the diversity of livestock that is native to the UK.”

The varied grazing at Forty Hill Farm lends itself well to native breeds. As well as grazing its own land, the college is involved in a number of conservation grazing projects, including one for the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust where rare breed pigs are used in the management of vegetation at a nature reserve near Ware, helping create the ideal environment for wading birds. The College’s native Red Poll cattle have been grazed on a nature reserve in Essex to help improve land that was overgrown, and the College’s rare breed sheep graze the College’s vineyard during the winter, where machinery would be too intrusive.

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