How embracing sustainability became the latest status symbol

Forget prioritising pheasant numbers – now some of the largest estates in the country are swooping up the latest solar equipment, installing state-of-the-art wood chip burners, and it seems the bigger your plantation, the better. International airlines are investing in acres of land across the United Kingdom in order to offset, and fashion giant Kering (who boast a portfolio of brands including Gucci and Saint Laurent) are funding the preservation of vital forests and biodiverse farming around the world.

British landowners are transforming age-old estates into sleek and sustainable operations. Look to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond’s booming organic farm at Goodwood, Aldred and Fiona Drummond teaming up with royal interior designer Ben Pentreath to build an entirely sustainable town, and the Bamford family’s ever growing energy-efficient empire needs no introduction. There is no doubt that embracing sustainability is the new status symbol.

  • Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, Goodwood

    Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, Goodwood

    When Susan, Duchess of Richmond first introduced Goodwood’s organic farm in 1989 after reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, she became one of the pioneers for Britain’s clean soil movement. Fast forward a few decades later and the current Duchess of Richmond and Gordon has continued to grow her mother-in-law’s vision, where Goodwood’s produce is assembled on the shelves at Fortnum & Mason and throughout the menu at The Ritz. Alongside Goodwood’s award-winning organic farm, the Duke and Duchess have also introduced an offsetting programme which will see 78,000 trees planted around the estate as well as 40 hectares of plantation. The future is ever growing at Goodwood.

  • Aldred and Fiona Drummond, Cadland

    Aldred and Fiona Drummond, Cadland

    Drift through the picturesque southern shoreline and you will find Britain’s most magnificent coastal estate, Cadland. Set within Capability Brown parkland, the 19th-century house boasts dazzling David Hicks interiors and a private beach as well as miniature Shetland ponies which roam freely across the family’s lawn. Since taking over Cadland in 2007, Aldred and Fiona are on a mission to reduce emissions. Introducing expansive renewable energy and solar power farms, a saltwater lagoon for a bird sanctuary and the largest expansion of New Forest since the Normans. The couple’s latest venture Fawley Waterside has to be the most impressive yet – a car and plastic-free town (designed alongside royal interior designer Ben Pentreath) where residents will be able to enjoy food grown by the estate.

  • Duke of Roxburghe, Floors Castle

    Duke of Roxburghe, Floors Castle

    The Innes-Ker family has been at the forefront of Scotland’s conservation movement for decades and the 39-year-old Duke, Charles Innes-Ker, is continuing his father’s legacy. The former Household Cavalry Officer has introduced Floors Forestry, where the young Duke updates the castle’s Instagram page with snaps of ‘Jim the forester’ planting a sea of pine trees across the 52,000-acre estate. Further into the highlands you will spot Floors Farmings, one of the most efficient wind farms in the United Kingdom (providing energy for the National Grid).

  • Earl of Leicester, Holkham

    Earl of Leicester, Holkham

    Fans of Lady Anne Glenconner’s best-selling memoir, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, will have a vivid image of Holkham in their minds. The grand 18th-century pile sits within 25,000 acres of glorious green meadows stretching far to the coast – where the current Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke, is making the land much greener. Launching his sustainability initiative ‘Wonder’, Coke is promoting soil rejuvenation, waste reduction and transforming Holkham into an entirely carbon negative estate by 2040. In the meantime, Thomas has constructed his latest renewable residence, Creake House – a magnificent manor designed to be energy efficient, fit with a slick solar system and a ground source heat pump. Eco-efficient and elegant.

  • Lord and Lady Bamford, Daylesford Farm

    Lord and Lady Bamford, Daylesford Farm

    Continuing their eco empire, the Bamford family has released the first ever hydrogen-powered excavator, meaning Anthony or Carole will be lining up another eco-friendly automobile by the charging points at the glossy Daylesford Farm Shop. Daylesford Estate now boasts an impressive 2,000 solar panels, 120,000 mixed trees and the farm is now 75 per cent energy self-sufficient. Not only are Daylesford’s organic products swooped up by the smart set across London, now locals in Toyko are also indulging in Cotswolds classics after the brand’s cafe opens in the upmarket district of Aoyama-Dori. The most sought after items on the menu? Organic chicken pie and lemon curd.


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