Welcome to Staunton Harold Hall
The Staunton Harold Estate is a traditional country estate of some 2000 acres, centred on the great Georgian mansion, Staunton Harold Hall. Family run, and ‘hands on’ in its management style, the estate has embraced modern uses for its diverse assets.
The Hall itself became a family home again in 2003, after fifty years of institutional use. With some eighty three rooms, the main building easily accommodates three generations of our family. Son-in-law, Tony Cantrill, has taken over the West Wing, now converted into high quality managed offices and conference facilities, known as LION COURT.
The suite of fine ‘State Rooms’ on the east and north front lend themselves to large functions, and here we host weddings and other events up to twelve times a year.
Our family’s involvement with Staunton Harold began in 1955, when we purchased the three farms at the core of the estate. These included the large Georgian stable block, which stood abandoned and ruinous. We put it in good repair, and in 1974 began its conversion to craft workshops and studios. Now known as the FERRERS CENTRE FOR ARTS AND CRAFTS this is a true ‘making’ centre with some eighteen businesses covering a range of disciplines. Most of our land is let to local farmers, but the four hundred acres of woodland we manage ourselves with a forestry team based at our estate sawmill. From here we sell firewood through the TEN MILE TIMBER COMPANY, and sawn material, mainly oak and larch, cut to customers’ requirements.
Our family business centres around maintaining and renting out property and a recent addition to this, built from our own timber, is DEERPARK LODGE. This is a holiday cottage, sleeping six, set among trees on a hill above the Hall. The hamlet of Staunton Harold includes a garden centre, in separate ownership, and a fine 17th century church, now in the care of the National Trust. We have become something of a walking and cycling centre, with adequate car parks and restaurants and seven routes radiating from the settlement.
……And like some boys who, unaware,
Ranging the woods to start a hare,
Come to the mouth of the dark lair
Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
Lies amongst bones and blood. Lord Macaulay
Well, the bears are long gone and now, within a generation, the boys have gone too. I spent my childhood exploring the fields and woods around Melbourne, my children did much the same, but now everything is changed.
Yes, the roads are much busier and no pleasure to walk beside, but we have a network of footpaths second to none. Media coverage is largely to blame, but there are other factors. Boredom drove us out to explore, where now there is the X box, television and the like. I might have said that mothers were the protective ones, but I’m finding that fathers are just as concerned about their children’s whereabouts.
One result here at Staunton is a burgeoning of ‘survival courses’ and ‘forest schools’. We already have five in different parts of our widespread woodlands, and more in prospect. Their leaders carry millions of pounds worth of insurance and are bound by ‘elf and safety’ considerations. It is a very different world to the one I grew up in. Maybe it’s time to bring back the bears.