The wider Attingham Estate
There’s more to the Attingham Estate than its Mansion, Walled Garden, Pleasure Grounds and Deer Park which makes up around 200 acres (80 hectares). When you visit Attingham you are visiting the heart of this Shropshire Estate – the whole estate is around 4,000 acres (1600 hectares) in size. The wider estate includes woodland, parkland, tenanted farms and farmland, and properties. Like all great country estates Attingham’s land has always played a vital role in providing food for the table, fuel for the fire, and income for the estate.
People have lived on the land here for over 2,000 years, since at least the Bronze Age, farming the rich productive soil in this fertile valley of the Rivers Severn and Tern which provided water, food and transport. Now, these rivers are also an important wildlife corridor.
There are three Scheduled Ancient Monuments on the estate including one third of the Roman City of Viroconium (now known as Wroxeter).
The estate today is around half the size it would have been in the 1800s. Today, the Attingham Estate includes tenanted residential, agricultural and commercial properties that raise valuable income to maintain the properties as well as funding conservation work across the estate.
Buildings on the estate
There are nearly 60 houses and cottages on the estate ranging from one bedroom terraced cottages to large 8 bedroom farmhouses. Some of the current tenants and their families have lived on the estate for over 100 years. From time to time houses and cottages become available to let.
Cronkhill is an architecturally important Italianate villa built for Francis Walford, a friend and agent of the 2nd Lord Berwick (1789-1832).
It was designed by John Nash, the renowned architect behind many famous landmarks such as Regent Street in London and Brighton Pavilion. Nash also designed the Picture Gallery in the Mansion at Attingham.
A home for wildlife on the estate
Spring 2021 has seen the first stage of work begin at Attingham to create a wetland habitat to reintroduce water voles on the wider estate.
Once a common sight along the country’s waterways, water voles have been in decline in the UK since the 1960s. They have been described as Britain’s fastest declining mammal, having disappeared from 94% of places where they were once present.
Water vole populations have declined due to habitat loss, pollution and the introduction of non-native, American mink.
The project is funded by the Environment Agency who are also providing expert advice on creating the right conditions to reintroduce water voles next year. We’re also working alongside students and potentially undergraduates from Reaseheath College and University Centre Reaseheath in Cheshire, who will be carrying out research and monitoring of the area.
Two parallel ditches and a pond on an Attingham Estate tenant farm, is being enhanced to provide the ideal habitat for a water vole population to thrive in. Working with the tenant, the rich silt removed from the reinstated ditches will be spread on farmland.
Only materials from the estate have been used within the ditches, including the installation of dams and shelves along the water corridor to provide the water depth and areas needed for a water vole population.
Over the summer of 2021 the ditches and pond will be ‘re-vegetated’ to create a wetland habitat. Reeds and grasses will be planted to support birds, amphibians, mammals and insects that will make the habitat their home, and will provide a source of food for water voles. Once the habitat has been established we aim to reintroduce a water vole population in the summer of 2022.
Farming on the estate
There are 12 farm tenants on the wider estate at Attingham. They farm over 3500 acres of land, growing a variety of crops including cereals, pulses, oilseeds and root crops. Milk, beef and lamb are also produced on the estate. Woodchip and firewood are sustainably produced from 300 acres (120 hectares) of woodland and used to heat the Mansion and Stables Courtyard buildings.
All of Attingham’s farm tenants are in a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. These agreements, funded by Natural England, support farmers to farm in a nature friendly way as well as protecting the archaeology of the estate.
We work with farm tenants to plant and manage hedges and trees across the estate as well as to create ponds to benefit nature and wildlife across the estate. Over 200 acres (80 hectares) of land at risk of flooding has been converted to permanent pasture, protecting soils and water quality, as well as the underlying archaeology.
Businesses on the estate
The wider estate is also home to a number of diverse commercial businesses including a bed and breakfast, cookery school, car sales and an environmental consultancy.
These businesses utilise both our farmhouses and cottages as well as old farm buildings no longer suitable for modern farming.