THE National Trust will be investing in farming in the Lake District, said its director general on a visit to the region.

The organisation owns almost 45,000 hectares of land in the national park.

And its head Hilary McGrady paid a visit to the Lakes to meet tenants and talk to them about “the role of farming in nature recovery”.

According to Ms McGrady, the National Trust’s ‘Lakes Future Farming Programme’ would see investment in farmhouses and infrastructure and help “to create opportunities for farm business diversification.”

She said: “It is also about supporting and developing a pipeline of new farm entrants with the skills, aptitude and adaptability to take on farm tenancies when they become vacant.

“Research is another key area where we will form partnerships to invest in robust, quality information to help make sure farms are good for land, nature and people.

“Ultimately it’s about financially stable and viable farms where wildlife flourishes, soils are healthier and the land is more robust in the face of climate change, all the while sustaining the globally significant attributes that make the Lake District a World Heritage Site.”

She added: “We know our countryside can do so much more than provide high quality food.

“As we look to the future there’s an increasing need – and demand – to dial up our focus on other products which farms can produce, from healthy soils to providing better homes for nature.

“It is tough right now but there will be opportunities for farmers to benefit from new markets, from locking up carbon to providing cleaner water.

“We have also been heartened by new people coming forward to take on our farms with six re-let in the last year.”

The National Trust is currently seeking a ‘skilled individual’ to head up its Future Farming program and develop a sustainable future for its farms.