A NEW course is taking place next January for those working on Dartmoor commons - and there are 12 free places available. 

Upland Farming for Net Zero, a short accredited course, has been created thanks to a partnership between higher education and the farming and land management sector. 

The course, which is open to Dartmoor commoners and those working on Dartmoor commons, starts in January 2024. 

Twelve fully funded places, worth £500 each, are available on the five week course. These places have been made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Foundation for Common Land and the ‘Our Common Cause: Our Upland Commons’ project. 

Our Upland Commons is supported by 25 organisations to help secure the future of all upland commons. 

The course is being run by the University of Cumbria, and for the first time, it is being delivered in Dartmoor and includes visits to two Yelverton farms. 

Upland Commons Dartmoor project officer, Tasmin Thomas, said:  “The course will look at where and how carbon is emitted, captured and stored on the common and home farm and how to integrate the two. Farm visits and theory sessions mean comparisons can be made between farming practices and land management options, with climate impact in mind. Attendees will complete a quantitative farm carbon audit with practical recommendations for actions towards net zero emissions.

South West Farmer: Tasmin Thomas, project officer.

“The modules, including this one, have been developed with the farming and conservation sectors, at a critical time for upland land managers and farmers. It’s about skilling up to best respond to rapid changes in farming policy, funding and upland environmental land management. It comes at a time when food and energy security, and climate change, are in clear focus for society." 

Each module on the course includes 24 hours of tuition spread over five weeks. The lessons will be workshops, online evening lectures, and farm visits. 

The deadline for bursary applications is Monday, November 27. To apply, click here

The free, or bursary places, are available to common rights holders, anyone working on a farm with common rights, including family members. As well as this, they are open to commons owners, and employees of an organisation owning or working on common land.

Further details on the Upland Farming for Net Zero course are available on the University of Cumbria’s website.

Course development has been supported by organisations including Ernest Cook Trust; The Farmer Network; RSPB, National Trust; Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, along with Skills Hub Cumbria and the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund.