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Hereford Times: Duchy of Cornwall

Hereford Times: The Duchy of Cornwall

Hereford Times: The Duchy of Cornwall

Hereford Times: Duchy of Cornwall

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The Duchy of Cornwall has, apart from the years of the Interregnum, been in continual existence since 1337. The Duchy’s primary function, and that for which it was created, is to provide an income from its assets for the heir to the throne.

Today the Duchy consists of around 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties most of which is in the south west of England. By far the largest holding is approximately 28,425 hectares on Dartmoor in Devon. The remainder is mainly agricultural land made up of about 258 farms, smallholdings and other let farmland, and woodland. In addition the estate owns residential and commercial property, together with an investment portfolio of stocks and shares.

His Royal Highness, the 24th Duke, runs the estate on a commercial basis as prescribed by its parliamentary legislation – The Duchy of Cornwall Management Acts 1863 to 1982. The estate’s principal business is the management of its holdings, carried out in accordance with the Duke’s wishes to apply environmental and agricultural good practice within its overall management approach and to consult local communities about the style of proposed development activities.

The agricultural estate consists of arable and livestock farms, including some smallholdings for those just starting on the farming ladder. The Duchy promotes high quality residential and commercial building programmes where its land is designated for development by local authorities and, where possible, converts its redundant farm buildings to work places in order to encourage small businesses within the countryside. Conservation is particularly important and the Duchy encourages its farming tenants to pursue practical conservation measures alongside commercial farming.

The acquisition of the Prudential Assurance Company’s rural portfolio in 2000 is one of the most important land transactions in the history of the Duchy. The jewel in the crown of the Duchy’s new estate, due to its size, makeup and geographical location, is the Guy's Estate in Herefordshire.

The Guy’s Estate today extends to some 4,620 hectares consisting predominantly of Grade 2 land, with equal small amounts of Grade 1 and Grade 3 land. It covers some 15 miles from the southern end at Ross-on-Wye to just north of Hereford, and falls into six sections, mostly agricultural, with around 806 hectares of spectacular woodland and a scattering of residential and commercial properties. There are 130 tenancies of various kinds. The Guy’s Estate added to the Duchy’s presence in Herefordshire where it already owned the Cradley Estate some 749 hectares close to the Worcester border.

The management philosophy of the Duchy is a combination of statutory requirements and the wishes and aspirations of The Prince of Wales. It includes commerciality, long term stewardship, environmental, architectural and social elements together with the practical implementation of The Prince of Wales’ views and aspirations in all areas of activity.

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