County Council farm to equip students with farming skills


Posted on: 23 August 2012

A partnership between Devon County Council and Bicton College will give students in Braunton and Ilfracombe practical skills such as animal husbandry, feeding, accommodation care and other general farm duties, from this September.

Middle Winsham Farm in Braunton, which is part of Devon County Council’s Farms Estate, is working with the East Devon-based agricultural college, to provide the learning opportunities.

The College has been running courses for 14 to 16 year olds on a day release basis for years, enabling students to take up accredited ‘land’ based courses such as farming and land management, alongside their usual school lessons.

The courses are a popular way of giving young people an insight into such careers once they leave school.

Peter Sharland, tenant farmer on the County Council’s Middle Winsham Farm in Braunton, is an ex Bicton student.  Peter and wife Michelle are both keen to pass on their experience and the opportunity to learn first-hand to would-be young farmers.

The College has launched a North Devon Outreach Programme, with courses to be delivered locally to North Devon schools, including the two-year Level 1 City and Guilds Landbased Studies programme on Middle Winsham Farm.

“Students visited the farm recently, ahead of the new term and are already very enthusiastic,” said Selena Burroughs of Bicton College.

“We’re delighted to be working with Mr Sharland, and that as an ex-Bicton student himself, he’s pleased to pass on his experience.”

The Chairman of Devon County Council’s Farms Estate, and farmer, Cllr Jeremy Yablsey, said: 

“Devon has a very strong agricultural heritage, which still plays a really vital role in Devon’s economy.  

“Our Farms Estate provides opportunities, that otherwise rarely exist, for people to get their feet on the first rung of a farming career and to develop their business ideas.

“I’m really pleased then that we’re also able to help and shape potential young farmers of the future, with practical experience on one of our farms.”

For more information about Bicton College’s North Devon Outreach Programme, contact Selena Burroughs – 14 – 19 Curriculum Development Manager on 01395 562372 or

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Posted in: Education