Barn Owl Success

Hanbury Grange Barn Owl Nesting Box 1 Hanbury Grange Barn Owl Nesting Box 2

Barn owl chicks have been found nesting at the Duchy’s Hanbury Grange property in Staffordshire for the second consecutive year. Two new chicks were discovered in the box two weeks ago by the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group, an organisation affiliated to the Wildlife Trust and who monitor more than 400 nest boxes across the county.

The discovery is particularly encouraging given the levels of breeding among barn owls this year and a consequent drop in brood numbers.

Commenting on the news, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “It is so important that we all play our part to help preserve appropriate habitats for these magnificent birds. As a responsible landowner, the Duchy is more than happy to put up nesting boxes in key areas and to encourage others to do the same. We know that the barn owl has declined dramatically in number here in Britain over the last century or so and a simple thing like a nesting box can make a significant difference.”

Helen Cottam from Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group agrees: “We are grateful to landowners and farmers who are prepared to support us in our efforts to help monitor barn owl numbers through the installation of nest boxes across Staffordshire. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort and it can really help. Barn owls have been decline over the last 70 years due to changes in farming practices, especially the loss of traditional hay meadows. In more recent years, unseasonal weather and prolonged cold winters have had a negative impact on barn owl numbers. We encourage landowners to provide nest boxes where farmland provides good barn owl habitat”.

The Duchy installed five nesting boxes at Hanbury Grange back in 2008. However, this particular box has proved a clear winner, with last year’s young chicks also found sharing the very same nest!

For further information on the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group, please visit the website: http://staffordshirebarnowlactiongroup.weebly.com.

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Lancashire Hot Spot

19th century cottage refurbished to the new Duchy standard
19th century cottage in Dunsop Bridge refurbished to the new Duchy standard and let within six weeks.

A 19th century cottage in the heart of Dunsop Bridge is the first to be refurbished to the Duchy’s new quality standard for residential properties. The refurbishment included interior and exterior decoration, and the installation of a new kitchen and ironmongery to accord with the recently introduced Duchy specification.

On completion, Ivy Cottage was let to a new tenant – a young family moving into the area from Bolton by Bowland.

Mum Erica said they are delighted with their new home: “Ivy Cottage is everything we were looking for – a period property with plenty of character, but with a luxurious finish throughout. The attention to detail is first-class and has meant that we can move our furniture straight in to the property without major disruption.”

 “We are delighted to welcome Erica and Matthew to their first Duchy property,” added Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow, “and to Dunsop Bridge and Ivy Cottage in particular. We have committed significant investment to a rolling programme of improvement works over the next couple of years and will be applying the new Duchy standard wherever possible. The Duchy of Lancaster should be synonymous with quality and excellence in all of our properties to let, wherever they may be.”

For information on Duchy of Lancaster properties for sale or to let throughout Lancaster, please contact Simon Waller at Savills Smiths Gore on 01200 411052.

 

 

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Supporting Growth In Dairy Farming

Cheshire farmlandThe Duchy of Lancaster has agreed to allow one of its tenant farmers in Cheshire to almost double the size of his land-holding from the Duchy.  The agreement forms part of an existing strategy to encourage efficient agricultural units.

Dairy farmer David Peacock is to take on the lease from September this year of approximately 150 additional acres adjacent to his existing farm near Barthomley in Cheshire. The additional land will allow David and his family to expand the herd and grow sufficient arable crops and forage to remain self-sufficient.

Commenting on the deal, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “The Duchy is committed to encouraging tenants to develop and expand their businesses. We are also very supportive of any steps taken to ensure self-sufficiency and environmental sustainability. We are of the view that larger farms are more commercially viable over the longer term and this is exactly the sort of expansion that we would like to see. David has been a Duchy tenant for 35 years and we look forward to working with the family for many years to come.”

The Duchy of Lancaster’s rural lands and properties are divided into five Rural Surveys across the country: Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Southern. For further information, please visit our website: www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk.

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Duchy Acquires Manchester Industrial Estate

The Duchy of Lancaster has acquired an industrial estate in Greater Manchester in its third commercial investment since the start of the year.

Wardley Industrial Estate lies five miles to the North West of Manchester city centre on the main link road between Liverpool and Manchester. Extending to 6.81 acres (2.75 hectares), it includes a purpose-built distribution warehouse and three trade-counter units. It is fully let to Clipper Logistics Plc, Design 2 Fit Ltd and Armordor Ltd.

Commenting on the acquisition, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrew said: “This investment follows similar acquisitions by the Duchy in Blackburn and Liverpool earlier this year. The high demand for conveniently located, purpose-built warehouses is strengthening across the country. We will continue to invest in high quality industrial/warehouse properties wherever we believe that we can add value through our proactive management.”

Knight Frank acted on behalf of the Duchy and DTZ acted for Aberdeen Asset Management.

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Hive of Activity

Bee-keeping
12-year old Daniel Peach helps settle the bees into their new home

Following the launch of the Duchy’s new Beekeeping Grant last year, a number of families across the country have taken up the challenge and are now actively keeping bees.

For many this is a real family affair, providing a great opportunity for the younger generation to learn about bee keeping and the importance of bees to the ecosystem. Claire and Steve Peach in Staffordshire, for example, look after their bees with their 12-year old son Daniel and have enjoyed taking the opportunity to learn something new together.

Cloughton resident Christine Fishburn originally applied for a grant because her grandson Joseph who lives with her was interested in learning how to keep bees. With the help and support of Christine’s neighbour Andy, 14-year old Joseph now has two busy, healthy hives on the go, as well as two more nucleuses for which they are actively looking for queens. They have already extracted over 20lbs of natural honey from their hives which they have been selling to local residents.

The Duchy of Lancaster Beekeeping Grant, which has been over-subscribed since its launch last year, is intended to support and encourage the learning of traditional skills, while also ensuring the long-term survival of the indigenous UK bee population. In the last 12 months it has provided funding as a contribution towards the cost of training, start-up equipment and bees with which to start honey production.

Commenting on the initiative, Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “As a major owner of agricultural land, the Duchy takes great care to ensure environmental sustainability across the estates. This might mean investing in green energy sources, supporting the diversification of our tenants’ businesses or encouraging the passing on of traditional skills to successive generations. This has been a great initiative in terms of engaging youngsters and teaching them how to look after a creature which is vital to the long-term survival of the ecosystem.”

Although the Grant scheme is now closed, interested tenants are free to contact the Duchy via their local agent to express their interest.

 

 

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