Glendale Agricultural Society members were invited on a personal tour of the Ford and Etal Estate by recently appointed Society president, Lord James Joicey.
The visit gave a personal insight into its history, key locations, business and role that the Estate plays in the community.
It was part of the ongoing programme of activities that all members of the Society, which prides itself in providing a view of rural enterprise for its members, can take part in.
During the tour, the group learnt about how the Estate has adapted itself for a role in the community in the 21st century.
A combination of heritage buildings, public investment and modern enterprise is key to Lord Joicey’s vision of the future – where local entrepreneurs run their businesses in premises rented from the Ford and Etal Estate.
He said: “What is healthy for us, we hope, is healthy for our tenants – our aim where possible is to provide them with ideal premises for a niche product which can be sold over the internet, or a specialist baker or tourist-related business.
“We are always looking to improve the way the redundant buildings of the past can serve new roles and purposes in the future.
“We are particularly pleased when we can help a business that can earn money and employ people throughout the year and not just during the summer.”
The tour of the Estate, which amalgamated shortly after the Joicey family bought it in the early 1900s, also took in its timber business at Letham, Ford Castle and Etal Manor.
The Estate now specialises in managing its assets for the future, managing its woodlands and making sure the 193 dwellings it owns are efficient to run and up-to-date.
Lord Joicey also gave his view of the Estate’s future.
He said he believed the essential partnership approach which underlies the relationship between those who work or live on, or are tenants of, Ford and Etal will continue in years to come.