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.
They are crunching under my feet almost everywhere I walk, millions of acorns, more than I can ever recall. Is this a consequence of our changing climate? But it’s only the oaks as far as I can tell; the beech nuts are still the shrivelled triangles I find in most years and the sweet chestnuts are too small to be worth prising from their cases.
I have a problem in coming to terms with issue of ‘ash dieback.’ Scientists predict that nearly all the ash is doomed; if they are right we will see many more lost trees than elm disease ever visited on us. In our area I am seeing maybe fifteen percent of the trees affected in varying degrees, and none completely dead. This week I will be marking a twenty five year old plantation for thinning; ash is a major component – do I take them all out? That has been Forestry Commission policy, but I will leave the healthiest plants.
As to the elm, this year has seen the virus sweep through us again. Hedgerow trees which had re-sprouted and reached the critical height were leafless by midsummer. So I have made a pilgrimage to the long term survivors, six in Lount wood and one near Breedon. All are healthy I’m relieved to find. The Breedon tree is now sixty seven inches in circumference; I can barely get my arms round it.
Hope springs eternal – in their autumn colours our woods still look magnificent.