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Estate Project

The Lees Court Estate has been involved in a joint Research Project with The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). Also involved is the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).

This flagship Project was designed to evaluate and analyse the conservation and biodiversity benefits of management practices to conserve game at Lees Court and four other control sites.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust is the country’s leading and most respected scientific body involved in research into game and wildlife conservation. DICE is arguably the foremost academic body in the U.K. for biodiversity and conservation. The Project was partially sponsored by Holland & Holland Ltd, a leading manufacturer and retailer of shooting accessories and guns.

The Aims of the Project are:

  • Integrate the best outcomes of both wild and reared gamebird management on a lowland estate to produce a management regime that demonstrates “conservation through wise use”, best practice and economic viability.
  • Calculate the costs and socio-economic impact of such a management regime compared to other management systems at either end of a rearing spectrum.
  • Monitor the environmental and conservation impact of such a management regime.
  • Disseminate the project’s findings to the wider public.
  • To enchance the sporting quality of the shoot.
  • The National Gamekeepers Organisation, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), Holland & Holland and Strutt & Parker have helped in developing and designing a questionnaire on the ‘Perceptions of Stakeholders on Gamebird Shooting in Lowland Britain’.

There is an 11-member steering committee for the Lees Court Estate Project co-chaired by The Countess Sondes and The Earl Peel, which will remain together until the dissemination of the results.

As part of the Research Project, Lees Court commissioned an independent study to demonstrate that Government grant assistance, through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, rarely covers the profits foregone or investment by farmers in capital programmes to enhance the countryside. The issue was raised in The House of Lords and its findings accepted.

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Lees Court Estate Office
Stringman’s Farm
Kent, ME13 0LA