Preserving Highclere Castle’s Heritage and Nature
Highclere Castle’s Commitment to Sustainable Stewardship
Our mission is to leave Highclere Castle for the next generation in a more sustainable condition. We aim to conserve our heritage buildings, ancient landscapes, and woodlands so future generations can enjoy them.
Balancing Agriculture and Biodiversity: Highclere Castle’s Conservation Farming Approach
In agriculture, we aim to preserve our soils and permanent pastures so they can continue to grow quality crops and support our sheep while allowing space for the natural world to thrive in and around them. We are not organic but conservation farmers where we optimize output in relation to the capacity of soil types to grow crops. We use minimum till cultivation to preserve soil structure and save on the fuel and machinery costs of deep plowing. We have significant areas of hedges, uncultivated grass verges, wildflower strips and meadows, low input grassland, and sites devoted to helping more rare birds such as Stone Curlews and Lapwings. One thousand acres of permanent grass pastureland are never cultivated, so it remains a store of carbon in its soil structure.
Forestry is managed to preserve ancient woodland with its essential ecological habitats, and we are aiming to plant new areas of woodland where arable farming is no longer efficient on steeper gradients. In addition, we have a 50KvA solar panel area that helps power our oat processing plant, where we make quality oats palatable for performance horses.
In the Castle and surrounding buildings, all light bulbs are LED , saving much power compared to older lightbulb types. We also aim to build a thriving community that enjoys living and working at Highclere Castle and create sustainable, interesting, and long-term support for the Highclere Castle Estate.
Highclere Castle Gin is produced with partner vendors who commit equally to sustainability. For example, Stoelzle Glass Group creates the glass bottle in the UK and invests substantially in technology and facilities to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2018, they were awarded a silver medal by Echovadis in recognition of their corporate sociability rating. Through their reuse of cullet (used glass), approximately 164,000 tons of raw materials and 42,000 tons of CO2 emissions are saved.
Highclere Castle Gin is distilled at Langley Distillery in the UK. Langley operates an environmental management system that complies with the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 through BSI, one of the world’s largest certification bodies.
Forestry is managed to preserve ancient woodland with its critical ecological habitats, and we are aiming to plant new areas of woodland where arable farming is no longer efficient on steeper gradients. We have a 50KvA solar panel area which helps power our oat processing plant where we make quality oats palatable for performance horses.
View from high track on Crux Easton farm back towards Beacon Hill and its Iron Age fort (all of Beacon Hill is untouched ancient chalk downland special SSSI area – site of special scientific interest including Iron Age Fort ) with wildflower strip & summer poppies alongside the track. Not having the arable crop right up to the track gives ground-nesting wild birds and insects a chance to live with no chemicals etc.
High on the clay cap plateau at Crux Easton farm, not far from the Wayfarers Walk byway (horses/walkers path goes for some 60 miles towards Emsworth in Sussex), is an old oak and beech wood where Bluebells have grown for hundreds of years and this is a typical scene in late April early May. Apart from some forestry management this is an untouched area and no chemicals or fertilizer so just nature in our temperate climate and the glory of the fantastic Bluebells in spring.