Hartpury University and Hartpury College
Hartpury Coat of Arms
MottoProud to belong
TypeFurther education college and university
EstablishedCollege: 1948[1]
University status: 2018
ChancellorMartin Clunes[2]
PrincipalProfessor Andy Collop[3]
Location, ,
CampusRural, 360 hectares (890 acres)
AffiliationsUWE (validation of research degrees)

Hartpury University and Hartpury College, formerly Hartpury College, is a provider of further and higher education [4] The university and college is set in a 360-hectare estate located in Hartpury, near Gloucester, in Gloucestershire, England.[5]

The college offers A-levels, T Levels and vocational diplomas in the land-based and sports sectors.

Hartpury University gained university status in 2018 and offers PhDs, and postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in agriculture, animal, equine, sport and veterinary nursing.[4]


The college was established in 1948,[6] as an agricultural college with 50 students.[7][8]

The House and Farm were purchased for £47,000 and converted into educational facilities.[9][8]

The first female students enrolled at the college in 1953 to study general courses covering farming, poultry, horticulture, and beekeeping.[9] In the 1990s, the college introduced the National Certificate in the management of horses, a BTEC First Diploma in agriculture, animal care and rural leisure courses.[10] The college introduced its first higher education programme in equine studies in 1992. The following year, the college became an independent, self-governing corporation run by a board of governors and directorate. It introduced its degree programme in 1994.[10]

Hartpury's link with the University of the West of England (UWE) began in 1997 when Hartpury was awarded associate faculty status.[11] In 1999, the college introduced degrees in Veterinary Nursing Science, Equine Business Management and a Masters Degree programme in Equine Science, which UWE validated .It accepted its first PhD student in 2004.[9] In 2017, Hartpury was granted ‘Taught Degree Awarding Powers’ (TDAP),[12] and in the same year was awarded the Teaching Excellence Framework Gold award.[13][8]


Hartpury College gained full university status in 2018 and changed its name to Hartpury University and Hartpury College.[14][15] Today, the institution offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses to higher education level students based in the UK and overseas.

In February 2024, actor Martin Clunes was named as the inaugural Chancellor for both Hartpury University and Hartpury College.[2]

Academic profile

It offers Undergraduate and postgraduate courses via five departments. Its courses fall under the following subject areas.[16]

Reputation and rankings

In The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, Hartpury University ranked thirteenth the in the South West and 112th nationally.[17]

The Times University guides placed the university in its top ten universities for teaching quality and top twenty for student experience in 2023 and 2024.[18]

It began contributing to the UK's National Research Excellence Framework in 2021.[19] Its research focuses on sport and exercise sciences, particularly in equestrian studies, due to its water treadmill's provision.[1]

In 2023, Hartpury University was awarded Gold in all three areas of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) - Overall, Student Experience, and Student Outcomes.[20]

Ofsted rated Hartpury College outstanding in all areas for academic and curriculum-related provision.[21] In August 2023, they achieved an A-level pass rate of 98.4% and a 99.4% pass rate for BTEC diploma students.[22]

The 2023 Graduate Outcomes survey showed that 97% of Hartpury University graduates were employed, further study, or engaged in purposeful activity.[23]

The university has received awards for its teaching provision, ranking as the number one English mainstream university for teaching in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2022,[24] and in first place for lecturers and teaching quality at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022.[25]


The Bee Shelter, Hartpury formerly stood in the grounds of the college. The Victorian structure, known as a bee bole, was moved to the churchyard and is a Grade II* listed building.[26] Hartpury's campus covers 360 hectares. It includes a 296-cubicle dairy unit and an dairy parlour. In 2023, the university invested £12.75 million into a library and study area named the University Learning Hub. It has also invested £5.8 million in a veterinary nursing centre.[6]

Hartpury Sports Academy

Dame Katerine Grainge opened the university's sports academy in 2019.[27] It has a double sports hall with performance analysis cameras, a rehabilitation suite, human performance and biomechanics laboratories; therapy suites, a performance analysis suite with an assessment and testing laboratory; an altitude chamber with an anti-gravity treadmill; power, cross-training and performance gyms; and 3G-surfaced rugby and football pitches with integrated cameras.[28][29]

Hartpury Equine

Facilities include a rider performance centre, equine therapy centre, competition arenas and stabling for 230 horses.[30] The Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance has three Racewood manufactured horse-riding simulators. Its eventing simulator allows riders to experience dressage, cross-country or show jumping movements.[31] Its racing simulator allows jockeys to work on their techniques and the centre also has a basic simulator for novices.[32][33] Facilities in the Equine Therapy Centre include a water treadmill,[34] high-speed treadmill and ground schooling arenas to support rehabilitation and performance analysis.[35][36]

Home farm

Home Farm is a commercial farm located on the campus and is used by the university's and college's students. The farm raises cows, calves, sheep and manages arable land. Its facilities include a dairy bull-beef rearing unit, a 296-cubicle dairy unit, and a 30/30 GEA rapid exit parlour. The university's farming operations supply companies like Sainsbury's, Müller, and Glencore.[6][37]

Hartpury agri-tech centre

The centre was opened in 2020 by National Farmers’ Union President Minette Batters. The centre's facilities grant farmers, and students at agricultural institutions and organisations access to smart farming technologies.[38]



The institution has ten sports academies.


Rugby union

Hartpury University and Hartpury College is known for its development of rugby players, with many former students playing at the highest level.[41]

Hartpury University is the only UK university to have a team playing in the RFU Championships.[40] The institution is also home to Gloucester-Hartpury, the unified women’s team of Gloucester Rugby and Hartpury University RFC. Gloucester Hartpury won the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby competition in 2022/23.[42]


In 2020, the institution launched its first non-league football club Hartpury University FC.[43] The squad comprises players from the academies at Hartpury University and Hartpury College. In 2022, the team won the Herefordshire FA County League Premiership Division and were promoted to the Hellenic League One.[44][45]


In 2010 Gloucester Rowing Club and Hartpury College set up a centre to enable Hartpury students to participate in one of the Great Britain's rowing team centres. Students are members of the Gloucester Rowing Club and can use its rowing facilities. In return the senior rowers from the club can use the training facilities at the college. The relationship has brought significant success at national and international level.[46]


Hartpury University and Hartpury College host three annual events Hartpury Festival of Dressage,[47] Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular and Hartpury Horse Trials.[48] In additional the facilities are used for a number of affiliated and unaffiliated competitions and shows. Standout events held at the facilities have included in 1994 World Championships for Disabled Riders.,[49] in 2000 the venue was selected to host all three disciplines of the European Young Rider Championships.[50] In more recent years in 2022 the venue hosted the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) Dressage and Evening European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.[51]

Alumni association

The college has an alumni association, with membership extending to former students from both Further and Higher Education programmes, as well as current and former members of staff.[52]

Chancellor and honorary degree holders

Martin Clunes was appointed the inaugural Chancellor of Hartpury University and Hartpury College in February 2024.[53]


2017 student expulsion

In June 2017, the college expelled one student and suspended several others following a police investigation into images circulated online and on social media depicting students from Hartpury College apparently killing a fox cub and posing with a dead cat.[55][56][57]

The College and Gloucestershire police both issued statements concluding they were satisfied the killing of the fox was not an act of cruelty, and that one of the students, who was training as a gamekeeper, had killed the animal to end its suffering after it had been hit by road traffic. The police declined to take further action.[58][59]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms was granted to Hartpury University in 2019. The shield is at the centre has three red acorns that symbolise their students' growth and development. The black chevron contains a gold book encircled by a wreath of olive leaves. The book denotes lifelong learning, and the wreath symbolises the university's sporting accomplishments. The crest sits above the shield and features a black boar holding a red acorn, that represnts their agricultural history and specialism. The horses holding either side of the shield represent Hartpury’s interests in equine education, research and commerce. The institution's motto, 'Proud to Belong' sits below the shield.[60]


  1. ^ a b "UK University Rankings 2024". The Times. Retrieved 22 May 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Martin Clunes becomes Hartpury University and Hartpury College's Chancellor". FE Week. 15 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  3. ^ "Meet the team". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "About Us". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
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  7. ^ "History". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "ABOUT HARTPURY UNIVERSITY". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
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  10. ^ a b "Our history". Retrieved 13 May 2024.
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  24. ^ SoGlos (13 July 2022). "Gloucestershire university rated number one in England for teaching". www.soglos.com. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
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  28. ^ Merrell, Andrew (28 September 2022). "10 Hartpury sports academies Gloucestershire businesses can sponsor and celebrate with". SoGlos. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
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  30. ^ "Equine facilities". Hartpury College. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
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  32. ^ Godding, Nicky (9 March 2020). "Hartpury University launches degrees to help students into global horseracing industry". The Business. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  33. ^ "Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance". Hartpury College. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  35. ^ "Equine Performance and Rehabilitation" (PDF). Hartpury College. 25 April 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  36. ^ "Hartpury Equine Therapy Centre". Hartpury College. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  37. ^ "Agriculture facilities". Retrieved 6 June 2024.
  38. ^ "NFU President Minette Batters Opens Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre". Rural Services Network. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2024.
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  40. ^ a b Schofield, Daniel (5 March 2020). "Hartpury College a breeding ground for top talent". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  41. ^ "evealed: The staggering number of Hartpury College products playing national level rugby". 27 October 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
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