PRINCE Charles is set to visit Cumbria next week, touring one of the county's auction centres.

Next Wednesday (April 9) The Prince of Wales will start a day-long tour of Cumbria by meeting staff, directors, tenants and farmers at J36 Rural Auction Centre, Crooklands near Kendal.

Whilst touring the state-of-the-art site, he will see an auction of prime Herdwick lambs.

He will also meet North West Auction apprentices and J36 tenants who range in size from a multi-million pound operation to a local farmer’s daughter with her first hairdressing salon.

John Geldard, a director of the L&K Group which owns the J36 Rural Auction Centre, said: “The Prince is a terrific supporter of Cumbria and we cannot thank him enough for this visit. Since 2001 he has been a regular and very welcome visitor, championing our rural affairs and responding to our needs through projects supported by The Prince's Countryside Fund.

“His Royal Highness knows how close to the breadline our hill farmers are and how their sheep, including the Herdwick, help produce a world-class landscape that attracts millions of visitors from around the world. He understands the interdependent links between tourism, farming and the landscape.

“On a national and international level The Prince has done much to boost British agriculture too with mutton and wool being two good examples.”

John Drinkall, L&K Group chairman who manages a hill farm with his sons on the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead Estate near Lancaster is 'delighted' by the announcement.

Mr Drinkall said: “This is a big day for us as we welcome The Prince who will see our new centre in action. It was a huge and challenging project which has paid off from day one. Strategically placed, and in the heart of one of the finest stock rearing areas in the country, we can provide first-class facilities for farmers and customers across the agricultural community.

“And that includes a place for them to market their produce in the best possible environment. It is what each and every one of them deserves."

His Royal Highness will also unveil a plaque to commemorate his visit to the Rural Auction Centre.

His schedule for the rest of the day includes engagements in the east of the county at Penrith and in Wigton and Workington in north Cumbria.