FARMING AND LAND
Farming and land are significant features of the Belvoir Estate. Our beautiful Estate stretches across 16,000 acres – made up of arable (12,000 acres), woodland (1,654 acres) and 2,000 acres of permanent grassland.
In terms of farming and land, the Estate is divided into two categories:
- The ‘in-hand’ estate, where all farming and other businesses are managed by the Belvoir Estate – 2,000 acres of arable land, 1,654 acres of woodland and 1,000 acres of permanent grassland
- The ‘let’ estate, which is rented out to tenant farmers and other businesses – 10,000 acres of arable land and 1,000 acres of permanent grassland
A breakdown of the Estate’s farming and land
This consists of a rotation of crops including wheat, peas and oilseed rape. The red loam soil is also ideal for growing potatoes with the perfect skin finish demanded by supermarket standards.
A variety of cattle and sheep graze the parkland surrounding the Castle. The new farm shop at the Engine Yard will allow us to produce and supply locally reared meat.
The Belvoir Estate includes over 1,600 acres of beautiful woodland, which is home to many native and exotic tree species – some of which are several centuries old.
From the earliest times, Belvoir’s woodland was a significant resource – and it has been well managed over the centuries with ongoing programmes of thinning, felling and replanting.
Forestry management today
We run our current forestry management programme in accordance with the Woodland Bird Project – a Forestry Commission grant scheme. This scheme aims to reverse the worrying decline in woodland bird populations by helping landowners to improve habitats for birds and wider biodiversity. Activities include thinning, coppicing and woodland ride management.
- Larch felling: We recently felled around 52 hectares of mature larch trees. Originally planted for timber in the 1920s, these non-native conifers were more than ready for harvesting. Larch is also susceptible to Sudden Oak Death which kills larch, oak and other tree species. We replanted the area with around 21,000 native broadleaves. These included oak, small-leaved lime, wild cherry and sweet chestnut – each with a tree guard to protect them from the local Muntjac deer and other wild animals.
- New native woodland: 57 acres of new woodland now break up large areas of agricultural land to provide shelter, enhance the landscape and improve sporting opportunities.
The Belvoir Estate woodland team also cares for veteran trees in the Castle grounds, as well as looking after the trees on the Estate’s rental properties.
You’ll find quality oak, cherry, ash, sycamore, yew and softwoods grown and sold commercially – with a full replanting and management programme to ensure future supplies.
Did you know?
Each year, we fell sixty cubic metres of ash trees which are sent to Ireland and used to make hurley sticks. In addition, we grow willow for cricket bats.
You can find out more about the history of Belvoir Castle here.