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.
The Staunton Harold Estate is made up of the remnants of two ancient estates, with other pieces added at various times. My parents bought Staunton Harold in 1955, and then the former Coleorton Estate in 1966. They adjoin each other and were only separated by the A453 Nottingham to Birmingham Road.
Staunton has seen few changes in the last sixty years, but Coleorton has been less fortunate. First the Coal Board turned half of it into a moonscape with their opencast coal operations, which went on for fifteen years. Then the A42 motorway was constructed running parallel to the A453, with forty acres of our land trapped in between the two roads. And now we have received what look to be the definitive plans for HS2, the high speed railway to Nottingham and the north.
This line will run for half a mile through our land, trapping another fifty acres between rail and motorway. A noisy area will one day be much noisier. There are voices calling it a waste of money but on balance I think it should go ahead. Not so much because of the journey time saved as for freeing up capacity on our existing network. Half of its length will run through woodland planted after opencast mining twenty five years ago. How do we manage this? Nothing to be done but prune and thin the trees as though they will grow on for another hundred years.
Looking at the plans, where it leaves our land to the north HS2 follows the line of the old Derby to Ashby railway, opened in 1867 and closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960’s. The bridges are still there, built as it happens, by my great, great grandfather in the days of Victorian expansionism. What would he make of all this? ‘Go for it’, He’d say, ‘and stop shilly shallying with all the ifs and buts.’