Sharing Our Sustainability Ambitions

As part of our shared journey towards greater long-term sustainability, we continue to encourage our farming tenants to enter into appropriate environmental schemes. On our Needwood Estate in Staffordshire, no fewer than 65 per cent of our farming tenants have already seized the opportunity. Furthermore, three of the 900 farms in England accepted onto the Sustainable Farm Incentive Pilot scheme are Duchy tenants on the Estate (Castle Hayes Park Farm, Hanbury Park Farm and Daisy Bank Farm) while a further five have entered the main Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) scheme.

Some of the additional measures we have introduced to support our tenants on this journey include the regular publication of an online ‘knowledge-sharing’ forum (The Duchy Farming Family), closer relationships with organisations such as Pasture for Life and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and the programming of regular ‘pie and pint’ nights where tenants can share their practical experiences, problems and insights with their peers in a relaxed and convivial setting. 

Commenting on the response from the farming community across the Duchy estates, Head of Rural Investment Mark Coombs said: “We have been greatly encouraged by the positive response to these initiatives, particularly given the current pressures and challenges faced by UK farmers. Although it often takes a bit of time and effort to get involved in these things, they inevitably pay dividends in the long term, providing useful tips on ‘lessons learned’ from colleagues who may already have tried to introduce new regenerative methodologies. We would urge all of our farming tenants to proactively engage with their neighbours, share their knowledge and experience and then apply that learning to their own individual businesses.”

The Duchy of Lancaster’s Needwood estate is one of the most ancient parts of the historic inheritance that makes up the portfolio, having come into the Duchy in the thirteenth century. Originally in large part a Royal Hunting Forest, today the Estate covers 7,398 acres and is home to a mix of arable, dairy, sheep and beef farms, as well as residential properties and a range of commercial, sporting and miscellaneous lettings.