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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.
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.
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!
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
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...Read More...