Students at Huddersfield University are sampling the country life.
The BA (Hons) Travel and Tourism Management students are using Farnley Estate as the subject for their second-year project – and aiming to provide some ideas for how the centuries-old estate may continue to hrive for decades to come.
The students visited the estate to meet directors Paul, John and Charlie Sykes and examine the layout and access routes, Now they will spend about six weeks identifying tourism opportunities for the 2,000-acre estate, which includes about 400 acres of woodland – some of which is designated ancient woodland.
Their ideas and findings will be presented to lecturers and the estate management in May and will form 10% of their mark for the year.
Dr Nick hubbard, head of logistics, transport and tourism at the university, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the students to work on a site that they can visit and one that is almost a blank canvas.
“Whatever ideas they come up with will have to take into account the estate’s geography and consider other issues such as catchment area and future sustainability.”
The estate, which stetches from Penistone Road to Brockholes, is putting together a 25-year plan to ensure it generates an income to be sustainable well into the future and is consulting with people about what they want from the estate in the future – whether it’s greater access for walking, cycling and outdoor leisure or other activities.
Paul Sykes, Farnley Estates managing director, said: “It’s possible that the students’ project will add some interesting ideas to the mix.
“By giving the students an open brief, I’m looking forward to the creative ideas that they come up with. Hopefully, we can put some of these ideas into our consultation process, but at the very least, we’ll be helping the students by giving them a live project to work on.”
Commenting on the consultations, Mr Sykes said: “The reason behind it is that the nature of estate management has changed so much subce my grandfather acquired it in 1968. At that time, there were 32 farms on the estate. There are four today. In the next 10 to 15 years, that is likely to drop to one.
“Even since the turn of this century, we have seen huge changes and the rate of change is accelerating. We have to adapt.”
Mr Sykes said there were some things the estate could look at to generate income, but the estate owners had to be sensitive to the opinions of people living within its bounds and close to it.
He said: “The response we have had so far to the consultation has been positive. We have to have new income streams. We also need to attract people onto the estate for recreational purposes. Access has to be considered carefully because the estate remains a ‘farm’ estate and there are times when we need to plough, sow and reap.”
The estate is already used by some groups, including Huddersfield Rifle Club and Holmirth Harriers. Traditional country pursuits like fishing and shooting take place and the estate has seven miles of equestian riding – less than 100 yards of it on the road.
But the estate is looking to other pastimes, such as cycling or orienteering as well as the educational opportunities in areas such as archaeology – the estate includes the remains of one of the country’s first steam-powered mills.
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