Raby

Conservation has always been at the heart of the Raby Estates philosophy. Holding over 65,000 acres of farmland and forestry provides a unique opportunity for the Estate to participate in landscape scale conservation projects to aid the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

Using a range of innovative techniques alongside traditional land management practices the Estate aims to actively preserve the environment by delivering on a range of ecosystem services across both land holdings in Shropshire & County Durham.

Shropshire

We look after our soils, air and water to enhance the great environment we all interact and live in. Environmental management is important to the estate and we are constantly looking at ways to improve it for future generations. The management of the environment works in harmony with the agricultural operations on the estate that produce food. Our woodlands are accessed by many people living in Shropshire and Telford the focus point being the Wrekin Hill. We also produce sustainable and certified quality timber products. Geology, bird life and some unique plant habitats are a few of the important aspects we manage to protect and flourish.

County Durham

Working with stakeholders including Natural England and The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust the Estate has implemented a rigid management policy to help encourage plant growth and wildlife.

On the Raby Estate, conservation headlands six metres wide have been introduced, which encourage the growth of broadleaf weeds and their associated insects, providing an abundance of food on which game bird chicks and small songbirds feed. The prevention of cleavers and barren brome invasion of cereal crops was achieved by the introduction of one metre sterile strips between field boundaries and headlands. This practice has contributed to Raby seeing some of the highest populations of grey partridge in the north of England.

To assist the grey partridge survival, plots of game cover mixture have been introduced to provide the partridge with cover throughout the winter months.

Botany and Ornithology

The Upper Teesdale Estate is nationally and internationally known both for its botany and ornithology. The plants assemblage is unique in Britain and the density and diversity of the birds is arguably the best in mainland Britain. In recognition of this, the majority of the Estate is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Such is the quality of the habitat that much of the Estate is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). This has resulted in Upper Teesdale being very popular with botanists and ornithologists alike.

Some of the Upper Teesdale Estate forms part of The Moorhouse and Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve. The Estate has developed a working relationship with Natural England and in conjunction with the tenant farmers has implemented a number of conservation strategies across the higher fells.

For example, the extensive moorland drainage system that was implemented after the 2nd World war in an effort to boost food production, has led to severe erosion of the peat. Raby Estate, in conjunction with Natural England and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was the first in the country to reverse this damage by blocking all the open moorland drains.

This was done to slow down erosion of the moor caused by peat being carried away with the draining water. It has proved to have been a complete success with the vast majority of the drains now having re-vegetated with sphagnum moss. These drain blocks, which create countless small pools, are beneficial to wading birds as a source of food and have also enhanced the capacity of the moor to act as a carbon sink, soaking up carbon which is deposited from the atmosphere.

Conservation - Raby Estates
Conservation at Raby Estates