DAWNAY Estates has won a prestigious national award recognising its achievements for successful land management and development of the estates, which are based at Wykeham, near Scarborough, and Danby, near Whitby.

The estates have been awarded the Bledisloe Gold Medal for 2018, by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) for its high standards of modern rural estate management, including successful diversification and development of new rural enterprises.

A spokesman for RASE said: “The Bledisloe Gold Medal was created by the first Viscount Bledisloe to mark his 90th birthday in 1957.

“As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the award, the Royal Agricultural Society of England is delighted to award the Dawnay Estates, who have exemplified the high standards of modern Estate management.”

Farming remains very much at the heart of the estate, but over the last 40 years it has diversified its operations creating the following businesses:

l Wykeham Mature Plants, now the largest grower and supplier of semi-mature trees, shrubs and hedging in the North East of England;

l North Yorkshire Water Park, which was established in 2017 on an 85 acre lake, a by-product of ongoing gravel extraction, and offers kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing as well as a popular Aquapark;

l St Helens Caravan Park, an award-winning 250 pitch touring park;

l Dawnay Sporting, one of the finest pheasant, partridge and grouse shoots in Yorkshire managed in-hand by the Estate at both Wykeham and over the Danby Moors;

l Wykeham Business Centre, a successful conversion of dilapidated farm buildings to create high tech commercial premises for 24 companies employing more than 180 staff.

Lord Downe said: “The estate is truly honoured to receive the Bledisloe Gold Medal. I hope the award shows that it is possible to diversify a rural estate, producing successful businesses and

new jobs, while at the same time maintaining and improving the local environment.

"I pay tribute to all those who live and work on the estates both at Wykeham and Danby, who have made such success possible.”

Robert Sword, Dawnay Estates’ director, said: “We are thrilled to receive such a prestigious award.

“It is recognition of the hard work from everyone who works on the Estates and of Lord Downe’s leadership to achieve the vision he set out when he inherited the estates 15 years ago.

“I am delighted for everyone and it is encouragement for us to continue with our work to maintain and improve the estate for the future, which not only benefits the 35 businesses based on the estates, but also employment and the rural communities living on both estates.”