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, through Staunton Hardwoods, 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.
On my early bike ride this morning three deer tittuped daintily across the drive, from the direction of New Plantation. Lady, trotting beside me, held to her principle of not chasing anything bigger than herself. A pretty sight, but that wood is supposed to be deer-fenced. Later Ken told me that a branch has fallen across the fence, so that’s where they are getting in.
The seven acre New Plantation was ‘new’ about a hundred and fifty years ago, planted as a fox covert by the tenth earl Ferrers. The trees, largely hawthorn, are coming to the end of their lives, and every few years we replant an area. Excluding the deer removes one of the hazards. It is one of four areas on the estate where we are planning to put in some trees this winter.
But what to plant? Ash is off the list, though I’m not felling our healthy trees in the hope that many will survive the disease. Oak is an obvious one, and cherry, hazel, larch, walnut, holly. What opportunities will climate change bring? Asking around among my forestry friends Wild Service tree has been recommended, though I’ve yet to learn more about it. Fifty years ago I planted a dozen Coast Redwood, but frost killed them all. Now we have one in the hall grounds, planted twenty years ago in the ‘hospice’ days, which is making a fine tree. And what about Douglas Fir? It’s time to be experimental.