Alnwick Castle is not only a private family home, historic monument and fantastic visitor attraction, but also the centre of a large business enterprise.
The Northumberland Estates manages the business interests of the Duke of Northumberland. This incorporates a diverse range of enterprises including property management and development, farming and forestry, minerals, leisure, heritage and tourism. For more information on The Northumberland Estates or for details of properties to buy or rent, please visit The Northumberland Estates website.
For many years The Northumberland Estates was run along the same lines as most traditional Estates with agriculture at its core. As times have changed so the business has adapted to meet new challenges. Whilst continuing to play an important role, farming is no longer the primary income stream.
Current assets include a growing international commercial property portfolio which is centred on the North East, including over 100,000 acres of land and more than 100 let farms, a large residential portfolio, a number of historical assets including Syon House in London and the Albury Estate in Surrey as well as fine art and treasures, mineral rights, sporting and leisure interests.
As an employer
The wide-ranging responsibilities of property, land ownership and development require the employment of a considerable workforce, making the Estate one of the larger employers in the area with approximately 300 staff.
This covers a wide variety of occupations from accountants, planners and surveyors, to farm and forestry workers and gamekeepers, from catering and maintenance staff to those with more unusual skills such as the preservation of historical records, assets and buildings.
Conservation and the environment
Conservation of both buildings and landscape plays an important role on the Estate. Around 6.5ha of new woodland is planted each year, and this is in addition to the replacement of any commercial woodland which has been felled.
The Estate recently won the prestigious Purdey Award for conservation for ground breaking work to halt the decline in numbers of the wild English or Grey partridge. This project has encouraged tenant farmers, farm staff and keepers to work closely together, and has brought significant benefits for many additional wildlife species.
The Estate also has responsibility for numerous listed buildings, the maintenance and restoration of which is a constant and ongoing process.