National honour for North East landowner

The innovative and forward-thinking way in which the land on a private estate is managed and utilised has led to the landowner winning a prestigious national award.

Viscount Ridley, owner of the Blagdon Estate in south-east Northumberland, has been chosen by the Royal Agricultural Society of England as the winner of its Bledisloe Medal for 2015.

It recognises a landowner who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the successful land management and development of an agricultural estate.

It has a particular focus on the creation of features of benefit to the local community, the environment or for the wider public good, and the development alternative sources of income.

The estate is a thriving rural centre for enterprise which provides a home for dozens of North East businesses and supports local charities, schools and community activities.

Around a quarter of the Estate land is farmed by Blagdon Farming Ltd, with just under half farmed by tenants and the remainder occupied by woodland, roads and properties.

Most of the residential properties on the Estate are let to tenants, with the remainder occupied by current or retired estate workers. It is also home to Northumberlandia.