Press and Media contact:


For all press and media enquiries please contact:

Debra Hinde – d.hinde@swintonestate.com

Latest News

  • Susan Lilian Primrose Cunliffe-Lister, Dowager Countess of Swinton

    It is with deep sadness that we announce that Susan Lilian Primrose Cunliffe-Lister, Dowager Countess of Swinton, has died at the age of 87.

    Lady Swinton became a wheelchair user following a riding accident in 1958 and was a lifelong champion for causes related to disability rights. Her love of horses and riding remained with her throughout her life, continuing to run the Masham Riding Centre in Masham, until her death.

    She also enjoyed a prominent sporting career. Two years after her riding accident, in 1960, she became a Paralympian winning a gold medal in the 25m breaststroke at the Paralympic Games in Rome, followed by a second gold medal in the women’s doubles table tennis in Tokyo in 1964.

    In 1970, Lady Swinton became a life peer, holding the title of Baroness Masham of Ilton DL, and maintained a prominent political career throughout her life, sitting as an independent crossbencher in the House of Lords for a total of 53 years, and more than any other female peer in history. As part of this role, she founded the Spinal Injuries Association in 1974, a charity that has continued to champion, fight, serve and support thousands of spinal cord-injured people. Throughout her time in the House of Lords, the Baroness sat on various committees, including the HIV and Aids Committee, Administrative and Works Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. In 2011, she became Patron of the charity Disability Action Yorkshire and in the same year, she was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Nursing.

    Whilst Lady Swinton never lived in the castle, many people may recall the parties held in the drawing rooms, which they often used for entertaining prior to the whole site being sold. It was in 2000 that her nephew Mark, the current Earl, and Felicity bought back the building and started transforming it into the luxury hotel it is today.

    Lady Swinton is survived by her two children, Clare and Jessie.

    A Funeral service for the late Dowager Countess of Swinton, Baroness Masham of Ilton, will be held on Friday 24th March at 2pm in St Mary’s Church, Masham. The wake will then follow at Swinton Park Hotel, all are invited. Family Flowers only and any donations in lieu will go towards the Spinal Injuries Association charity.

  • 6th February

    BBC 'Spring Walks' with Sara Davies

    Last spring we hosted Sara Davies, businesswoman, Dragons’ Den investor, and the BBC Four ‘Spring Walks’ film crew on the Swinton Estate, where the Earl and Countess of Swinton met Sara and discussed the management and preservation of the Swinton Estate. Her walk took her through breath taking scenery where Sara also met local farmers and spent a little time at one of our local churches, St Paul’s Healey.

    A lovely gentle, watch as we approach spring – watch the episode on BBC iplayer now.

    Watch here
  • press release

    Ruth Hansom goes to the Swinton Estate and back to her northern roots

    The Swinton Estate, Masham, North Yorkshire is delighted to announce that Ruth Hansom will be taking up a six-month residency at the historic Samuel’s Restaurant at Swinton Park, launching her first Signature menu on Saturday 1st of April 2023.

    Ruth originally from Darlington trained at Westminster College, followed by a three year apprenticeship at the Ritz under John Williams MBE.

    Both a finalist in the Roux Scholarship and winner of a Caterer Acorn Award in 2022, Ruth is also now a familiar face on the small screen as a finalist on the Great British Menu and regular appearances on James Martin’s Saturday and Saturday Kitchen.

    Ruth said ‘Swinton is a fabulous environment, aligned very closely to my love of cooking with seasonal, local and regional produce. I’m particularly looking forward to developing a signature menu, encapsulating the flavours of produce from across the Swinton Estate’.

    Ruth is looking forward to establishing some new positions in the kitchen to work alongside the existing team, and will be planning the re-design and build of the new Samuel’s kitchen later this year.

    Iain Shelton, CEO of the Swinton Estate said ‘Ruth is an incredibly talented chef and we are looking forward to her developing a menu that demonstrates the amazing produce we have here and reflects the elegance and heritage of the Estate’.

  • press release

    Swinton Estate is partnering with Climate Solutions Exchange Ltd

    We are delighted to be partnering with Yorkshire based Climate Solutions Exchange Ltd (CSX), through its investment in the company. This builds on the existing Estate involvement in the development of ground studies of CSX’s innovative natural capital measurement and audit systems.

    CSX’s earth observation technology will help accelerate private sector investment into localised environmental recovery projects and allows land managers to strengthen delivery of nature-based solutions. CSX’s earth observation technology is already providing the estate with a good baseline of data in Carbon Observatory woodland sites, and the partnership will be advantageous in the development of Swinton Estate’s ‘Ecosystem Services’ offering.

    CSX’s technology is being trialed alongside the Estate’s DEFRA backed Environmental Land Management (ELM) Landscape Recovery Test and Trial, and a Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) project into sustainable woodland creation with the Environment Agency.

    Of the partnership, Mark Cunliffe-Lister, owner of the Swinton Estate, said ‘Farmers and landowners are increasingly conscious of the need to deliver environmental benefits alongside primary food production. In addition to public funding, it is imperative that private natural capital markets can expand with confidence to support continued sustainable land management. CSX provides a valuable component in that service and we are very excited to be supporting the development of their platform’.

    Andy Howard, co-founder and CEO of CSX Carbon, said ‘This investment not only signals a great vote of confidence in our business, but also demonstrates the need for technology solutions to underpin the Natural Capital markets. CSX is developing real market solutions, providing land managers with the confidence to deliver nature recovery and businesses the data they need to make informed purchases of carbon and biodiversity credits. Working in partnership with the Swinton Estate has been incredibly useful in the development of the platform to date’.

  • Press Release

    Swinton Estate wins the AA Sustainable Award 2022-2023!

    Absolutely over the moon to be awarded the AA Sustainable Award 2022-2023 at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London! The AA Sustainable Award ‘recognises an independent establishment or group which has demonstrated a clear commitment to sustainability, integrated its approach as a fundamental part of their business and really champions this across its team and customers’.

    We couldn't be more delighted to receive this recognition.
    What a fantastic evening!

  • Press Release

    Swinton Estate working with Loxley Homes

    Swinton is working in partnership with Leeds-based housebuilders Loxley Homes Limited to take forward the residential development of land to the north of Swinton Road, Masham. This is an area of land that has been designated for housing in the Harrogate District local plan. The development will provide a high-quality development of lasting benefit to the community. Of the 48 new houses proposed on the site, 19 are designated as one-, two- and three-bedroomed affordable homes to be owned and managed by the Broadacres Housing Association.

    Over the years, Swinton Estate has invested in and developed numerous properties in the Masham community. These include the construction of Masham Town Hall, Masham School and the Almshouses, and the gifting of the recreation fields and market square to the Parish Council. In addition, the Estate maintains many rural residential properties for the letting market. “We know that there isn’t enough housing in Masham, especially for the families and young adults who want to stay in the area but have been squeezed out. We are really pleased to support this application, and to be working alongside Loxley Homes who are a trusted local building company.”, commented Mark Cunliffe-Lister, the owner of the Swinton Estate.

    The site is allocated for housing development in the Harrogate District Local Plan 2014 - 2035. A full planning application has been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council by Loxley Homes and was validated on 27th September 2022 (Ref 22/03438/FULMAJ). The consultation period is due to run until 22nd October 2022. Any further enquiries please contact Laura Angel at the Rural Office, Swinton Estate, 01765 680912, laura.angel@swintonestate.com.

  • Press Release

    Swinton Estate unveils England’s first live Hen Harrier webcam

    In partnership with the Moorland Association, Swinton Estate has unveiled the first webcam in England to live stream a rare Hen Harrier nest in real time.


    The birds are nesting now, providing an extraordinary insight into the daily life of one of England’s rarest birds of prey.


    The Moorland Association has championed efforts to help re-establish a breeding population of Hen Harriers in England since 2016, in partnership with Defra and other conservation partners.


    Mark Cunliffe-Lister, Chair of the Moorland Association, said:


    “This is the first time we have been able to set up a webcam to allow people to feel close to these beautiful birds and watch their progress, thanks to funding from the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust. As ground-nesting birds they remain exceptionally vulnerable and it is only through the concerted efforts of land managers that we have been able to create the right conditions for them to nest here for several years in a row.


    “There are chicks in the nest now, so the webcam is absolutely enthralling.”


    The Moorland Association is one of the partners in the Hen Harrier brood management scheme trial, which has proved to be a key element in delivering improved fledging rates for this species.


    In the five years before the trial began, only 51 chicks fledged in England. Since its introduction in 2018, 224 Hen Harrier chicks have fledged successfully. The fifth year of the trial is now underway.


    Swinton has also recorded 44 other species of birds on the estate including Curlew, Fieldfare, Lapwing, Skylark, Song Thrush and Woodcock.

    Watch live
  • Press Release

    Swinton Estate wins conservation award

    Swinton Estate is to receive a ‘Life on Land’ award from Red List Revival for its conservation work for the benefit of rare birds. It has been found to rank in the top 1 per cent of landholdings in the UK for its breeding hen harrier population and also in the top ten per cent nationally for curlew.

    The estate in North Yorkshire is one of the leading sites championing conservation of the rare hen harrier, with 23 hen harrier chicks fledging successfully on Swinton since 2013.

    In addition the estate has curlew, golden plover, skylark, meadow pipit and red grouse. Curlews and skylarks are also red-listed species, requiring urgent conservation action.

    Red List Revival is a charity established eight years ago to provide a register of species and their abundance, with a focus on Birds of Conservation Concern.

    By recording data in a consistent format, using standardised criteria endorsed by Natural England and the British Trust for Ornithology, Red List Revival documents trends in biodiversity to support ongoing work.

    The hen harrier is one of our rarest birds, with only about 600-700 breeding pairs in the UK, the majority in northern Scotland.

    A member of the Moorland Association, Swinton Estate has been a key partner in the government’s hen harrier action plan since 2016, undertaking a range of conservation actions to help the birds re-establish territories on suitable habitat in the north of England.

    Mark Cunliffe-Lister of Swinton Estate, Chair of the Moorland Association, said: “Our commitment to help the hen harrier population return to ‘favourable conservation status’ is working - as more and more of these charismatic birds are now being seen on the land we manage, coupled with the remarkable increase in breeding success. Hen harriers, curlews and other ground nesting birds are all flourishing on our carefully managed moors, bucking the trend of severe decline elsewhere.”

    “Practical conservation action in the uplands is a key element in boosting England’s biodiversity.”

    Swinton Estate identifies and monitors hen harrier winter roosts, and nests, to protect them from potential persecution, predation, and possible disturbance by members of the public.

    Some of the birds are satellite-tagged in partnership with Natural England, to enable conservation monitoring of their behaviour and migration patterns.

    Gamekeepers on the estate provide supplementary food to adult hen harriers to boost fledging success of their young, whilst helping protect chicks of other rare species from predation. The estate is also engaged in the trial Brood Management Scheme, which has proved a vital element in conservation work since 2018. The research trial aims to investigate the feasibility and effect of taking eggs from nesting hen harriers in the wild, rearing them in captivity, and releasing them to become healthy adults.

    In 2021, 84 hen harrier chicks fledged in the north of England, the highest number for 35 years. There were 24 successful nests, 19 of them are on moors actively managed for red grouse, in Northumberland, North Yorkshire, County Durham, Cumbria, South Yorkshire and Lancashire.

  • Press Release

    Swinton Estate Awarded Government Funding for Innovative Woodland Enterprise

    Swinton Estate has successfully secured funding from the Natural Environment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) to design an integrated woodland enterprise delivering both commercial and environmental benefits.

    The grant will be used to increase the Estate’s woodland by half, from 700 hectares to 1050 hectares, in the next 20 years. Using an innovative new business model, revenue will be generated from the sale of ecosystem services produced by the new woodland, including carbon, biodiversity units, water management and recreation opportunities.

    Mark Cunliffe-Lister, Proprietor of Swinton Estate and Chair of the CLA Forestry and Woodlands Committee said,

    ‘We are delighted that our funding bid for this ambitious project has been successful. We have set ourselves this goal, of increasing our woodlands by 350 hectares, because we know the environmental gains that woodland delivers, but to achieve it we need a strong business model to ensure that woodland creation and management is sustainable for the long term. The NEIRF grant will enable Swinton Estate to deliver valuable environmental benefits for years to come.’

    Holly Story, Senior Environmental Management Consultant at GSC Grays, who helped the Estate design the application explains,

    ‘With the NEIRF funding, we hope to demonstrate that planting and management for conservation can be integrated with commercial interests. Our aim is to generate income on a par with or exceeding that that would be achieved from the sale of timber alone, creating an innovative new business model for forestry that can be replicated across the country.’

    The NEIRF, run by the Environment Agency, aims to stimulate private investment and market based mechanisms that improve and safeguard the domestic natural environment.

  • Hotel of the Year - Independent

    Shortlisted for a Catey Award

    Here on the Swinton Estate we are absolutely delighted that Swinton Park has been shortlisted for 𝐇𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫 – 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭, in the 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐲 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏!

    It has been an extremely tough year for all in the hospitality industry. To be shortlisted is hopefully testament to the unfailing support of our guests, hard work of our teams, our care and the ‘Swinton Family’ values we have for our colleagues and our support for our local community.

    Please keep your fingers crossed for September when the winner is announced!

  • Now available on iPlayer

    Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

    We were incredibly honoured, delighted and excited to be featured in the BBC Two series of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. Now available on iPlayer.

    Watch Now
  • Charity of the Year

    The Archbishop of York Youth Trust

    The Archbishop of York Youth Trust are thrilled to announce a partnership with the Swinton Foundation as they choose the Youth Trust as their charity of the year...