Scotland’s land-based traditions will be shared

Youngsters are set to learn more about Scottish farming, food and the land at the Dumfries House Estate.

Staff at the Ayrshire estate have welcomed a new colleague who will help deliver the growing number of education and training initiatives at the Ayrshire site.

Arianne Knowles, who is originally from Annan, has recently been appointed as a food, farming and horticulture tutor at the estate, near Cumnock. Arianne will work at the estate’s Pierburgh Building and Kauffman Education Gardens, as well as at Valentin’s Education Farm, which was opened last year by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Through her new role, Arianne will educate visiting school pupils on the provenance of food and the importance of sustainability.

The former Annan Academy pupil, who previously worked for the Scottish SPCA and as a farm inspector, said: ‘I think it’s really important that younger generations are educated on where food comes from and the importance of preservation.

‘There’s a bit of a broken link when it comes to children in terms of them understanding where food comes from and how it ends up on their plates.

‘Dumfries House is a great place to teach them about this as we have the facilities to show them the full circle and they can help the farmers with practical tasks such as weeding, planting and composting.’

At Valentin’s Education Farm, pupils have the opportunity to observe and engage with animals, milk a fibreglass cow, and make woollen items on a traditional spinning wheel. Structures on the farm – including a sheep shelter, traditional pig sties, and a ‘Goose Hoose’ – were constructed by apprentices as part of a building course run by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, a charity founded by The Prince of Wales.

The farm, named after a member of the Pierburg family that has contributed towards the development of projects on the estate, is home to rare breeds that include Castlemilk Moorit sheep, British Landrace and Tamworth pigs, Shetland geese, Scotch Grey and Scotch Dumpy chickens, Pied Crollwitzer turkeys, and three breeds of cattle – Beef Shorthorn, Whitebred Shorthorn, and Vaynol.

Arianne continued: ‘I’ve been aware of the great work being done at Dumfries House for a long time as I live locally and have a young daughter. I’m really looking forward to working there and playing my part in educating the next generation on issues related to food, farming and horticulture.’

Arianne, who holds a degree in animal health and welfare from the University of Aberdeen, joins the Dumfries House team at an exciting time.

Earlier this year, the Prince’s Foundation was formed and is now headquartered at Dumfries House.

The house itself was saved for the nation in 2007 by The Prince of Wales, who used £20million of his charitable foundation’s money to secure the future of the house and estate and use it to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development as well as offer training in real-life skills to open up future employment opportunities.

The Prince’s Foundation is now the second-largest employer in East Ayrshire with more than 200 full-time and part-time staff across the house, estate and education and training programmes.

School visits can be arranged by emailing