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About Charles Anthony Pearson son of Viscount Cowdray...
Dunecht Estates is a diverse rural property based business extending over 53,000 acres in Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire in North East Scotland. The business covers seven separate Estates, the home Estate of Dunecht, Raemoir and Campfield, Dunnottar Castle, Forest of Birse, Edinglassie, West Durris and Bucharn.
The Estates are owned by The Hon Charles Pearson, the younger son of the late Third Viscount Cowdray, and trusts for his two children. Dunecht’s business interests include farming (in hand and let farms), forestry, field sports, minerals, let houses, commercial lets and tourism.
Dunecht Home Farms (a family partnership) the Estates’ own farming business operates over and is the tenant of Dunecht Home Farm on Dunecht Estate and Toldaquill Farm on Edinglassie Estate. The main enterprises are cereals, oilseed rape, suckler cows and breeding sheep. The 80 let farms are tenanted under a mix of 1991 Act and 2003 Act leases.
The Estates’ forestry business extends to 6,500 acres of commercial woodland. Predominant tree species are scots pine, sitka spruce, Norway spruce, hybrid larch and Douglas fir. There are also substantial areas of native, semi-natural and plantation woodland where the primary management objective is conservation.
Field sports interests include grouse moors at Edinglassie, Forest of Birse and the Hill of Fare on Dunecht. An in-hand pheasant and partridge shoot is run at Dunecht while other Estates have low ground shooting tenants. The Estates’ have two salmon fishing beats on the River Dee, Lower Crathes/West Durris and Birse. The fishings at the former are let to Lax-a while the Birse lettings are managed direct. Other fishing interests include pike fishing on the Loch of Skene at Dunecht. Roe deer stalking is let by the week at Dunecht and Raemoir and Campfield.
The principal mineral interest on the Estates is Craigenlow Quarry at Dunecht. Craigenlow is a hard rock (granite) quarry operated by Breedon Aggregates. Craigenlow also accommodates asphalt and concrete plants.
House lets are a very significant part of the Dunecht business. Most houses are let on short assured tenancies with some regulated tenancies also remaining. The commercial lets on Dunecht includes village shops, garages, and telecommunications masts. The Estate also has Raemoir House Hotel which is let to and operated by Neil and Julie Rae.
Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic cliff top ruined fortress, is run as a visitor attraction. The Castle is open to the public all year round although winter opening is restricted to Friday to Monday. Dunnottar draws between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors each year.
The Estates are actively involved in the promotion and sale of land for development. In collaboration with developer partners (Bancon Developments, Stewart Milne Group) an extensive sustainable extension is being promoted for Stonehaven (‘Stonehaven South’) with this including a mix of residential, retail, industrial and community uses. More modest developments are being taken forward in respect of sites zoned in the current Local Plan with new sites being suggested as part of the preparation of Aberdeenshire Council’s new Local Development Plan.
A positive approach is taken to relationships with local communities on the various Estates. This includes financial support from family trust funds for local Churches and village halls, working with local schools including fundraising and field visits, participation in future development proposals and membership/interaction with community bodies.
The Estates are managed by a professional team based at the Estates Office in Dunecht village. Property and infrastructure maintenance and improvement is carried out by staff based at the Worksyard also located in Dunecht village. As well as professional and maintenance staff there are foresters, gamekeepers, ghillies and farmworkers bringing the total number of full time employees to 60.