Rural Estates of all sizes will continue to play a vital positive role in shaping our rural economy and communities, CLA Director General Helen Woolley told the Oxford Real Farming Conference this morning (7 January).
Helen Woolley was speaking at a discussion on long-term stewardship of rural land and landscapes, in a session titled ‘The big estates of the future’. National Trust Director-General Dame Helen Ghosh; Alistair Martin of the Duchy of Cornwall; and John Varley of Clinton Devon Estates also spoke at the session.
In her address to delegates she set out the variety of elements that make up a modern Estate business from agriculture and forestry to providing homes, workspace and running a range of leisure and tourism businesses. She talked about the positive contribution Estates make to shaping local communities and the investment being made in the environment.
She said: “The quality of the countryside and its natural resources are of vital importance to rural landowners. Any vision for the future of the countryside which is strong in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits relies on landowners and land managers. Equally, a healthy environment relies upon a thriving rural economy and financially viable agricultural businesses. With over two thirds of land in England privately owned, continued investment in land management will be key to continue protecting and improving the natural environment.”