Very strange times. As a boy I spent many nights in our damp cold cellar, sheltering from German bombers; now I’m confined to the kitchen, but at least it’s warm.

Here at Staunton we are adjusting to the new reality. The Nurseries are fully open while at the Ferrers Centre the workshops are mainly open but the Tearooms have closed.

Our Visitors Car Park is open as usual, with Lee, our smiley ambassador, in attendance at weekends. You can walk out of Staunton by six different routes, giving plenty of choices, long and short. Less crowded than Calke Abbey, Staunton is a good place to come in these difficult days.

If you see me coming, better step aside,
Be sure to leave a margin more than six feet wide.


Tumultuous times! Coronavirus, climate change, plastic in the seas – these issues are going to change behaviour throughout the developed world. I think we are at a ‘tipping point’ which will affect a great many individuals and businesses.

‘Localism’ is a catchword I’m hearing quite often. By accident or design it is an area in which the Staunton Estate scores rather well. Our workshops at the Ferrers Centre provide many of the services we need to run the estate, plus our own team of maintenance guys, foresters, and so on, who all live locally.

We haven’t suffered any flooding to buildings, just some roof damage from storm Ciara and some big trees blown down. It is our farmers are having the most difficult time; some of last year’s root crops still in the ground and hardly any autumn planting done. The wet ground conditions are also affecting forestry operations. Felling and extraction is normally done in the winter months, but no one wants heavy machinery in the woods at present. We have good stocks at the sawmill for cutting beams and planks but timber for making firewood may be in short supply.

Firewood is a major part of our forestry business, and this newly energised government is pressing ahead with laws to regulate the moisture content of the logs we sell. 20% moisture or less in the heart of the log is what will be required, – this takes time to achieve by natural methods. Drying the logs in a kiln is one option, but this uses fuel, quite a lot I’m told, which seems counterproductive. We are going to erect a new purpose built drying shed so that, come next autumn, we don’t let customers down. It looks like being an eventful summer for all of us.