Situated in the Trough of Bowland, Lancashire, Abbeystead is a traditional rural estate renowned for its grouse moor and private, non-commercial, pheasant shoot and consists of heather moorland and upland hill farms that principally farm beef, sheep and dairy.

Abbeystead is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and more than two thirds of the estate is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its rare habitat and the flora and fauna it supports. The site is also home to some of the UK’s rarest birds.

More than 8,000 hectares of moorland is managed for shooting and agriculture and our land management practices are helping other moorland birds and waders to flourish. The estate is home to some of the strongest populations in the UK of red listed species such as curlew and lapwing, which the estate received a Life on Land Award for having a density higher than the UK standard benchmark.

Because the estate is not intensively farmed, the land can be managed more sensitively. For example, this has led to the creation of what Natural England have described as England's largest contiguous upland hay meadow SSSI which boasts a diverse mix of more than 140 species of herbs and grasses.

We support the restoration of peat, encouraging the growth of sphagnum moss which needs a damp environment to flourish. A programme of peat restoration is reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and the risk of flooding downstream. Peatland provides an important habitat for flora and fauna, stores water – which helps to reduce flooding – and is a natural store for carbon, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Surveys carried out on the Abbeystead estate showed there were 39.2 hectares of bare peat, eroded by a population of gulls polluting the soils, leading to overgrazing. We have since restored over 78% of these areas to bring a reduction of more than 60% in the C02 emissions they emit annually. Environment Agency research has shown that water runoff from treated areas has already been reduced by 50%, slowing the flow into the headwaters of the catchment and alleviating the risk of flooding downstream

There are more than 300 people living and working on the estate. The main hamlets are Abbeystead village (which has the thriving Cawthorne Primary School and a village hall), Lower Lee (a collection of six houses in the Wyre valley) and Tarnbrook.

The estate installed 8km of hyper-fast 1,000mb fibre optic cable to help deliver one of the fastest and most reliable broadband services in the world to a network of 3,000 homes and 23 parishes in and around Abbeystead.

Biomass boilers, fuelled by woodchip from the estate, provide a renewable source of heat and hot water to properties on the estate, including Abbeystead village.

A hydroelectric generator based at the reservoir on the estate, a legacy of the mills in the region, provides another source of renewable energy.

To learn more about opportunities to explore this area of Lancashire, click here