Responsible Land Management Supporting a Community
Kincardine Estate observes a simple principle of trying to support the community of which it is part through sensible, considerate and long-term stewardship of land and buildings in the context of a sustainable rural community. Here's a quick summary.
Providing Affordable Housing
Kincardine Estate is a major provider of affordable rented housing in and around Kincardine O’Neil where we rent 61 affordable homes compared with 13 rented by the Local Authority. In common with other local estates 85% of our housing portfolio is leased at these modest rents thus trying to meet local housing needs. Through our letting programme we are giving very direct support to young and vulnerable households and families.
Providing Opportunities for Business in the Community
Kincardine Estate also provides opportunities for small businesses in and around Kincardine O’Neil try to stimulate and support the local economy and maintain essential services. The classic example is the excellent Post Office and General Store. Other premises are leased at modest rent to encourage business start-ups.
By letting farmland the estate supports local small farming enterprises and considers long-term tenancies a priority over profit maximisation.
Of course Kincardine Estate and Kincardine Castle also provide employment locally through our varied enterprises, details of which can be found in other pages on this website. Currently we sustain 8 full-time, 3 part-time and about 20 casual jobs.
Community and Schools
Kincardine Estate has been working with communities and key stakeholders since the 1880s. We’ve donated land for community and social needs. Council Housing on Pitmurchie Road, The Village Hall, Sports and Bowling Club and Playing Field are all on such land.
Today the estate continues to liaise and engage about numerous matters in connection with community life.
The walks around the village and through the Boat Wood, a woodland managed for long-term retention, are popular and the same wood has been used by the Primary School as a Forest School.
The castle and estate also liaise closely with local schools, hosting visits and providing information as often as required.
The estate also provides gardening allotments for the community.
With development land legacy development is favoured over profit maximisation.
Trees for Life, Employment, Enjoyment and Biomass
The estate has been responsible in planting and establishing over 1.4 million trees since 1960 and these are sustainably managed using a local co-operative established with neighbouring estates over 25 years ago. The co-op ensures stable employment for harvesting teams in the normally rather volatile forestry marketplace.
The timber goes to make processed building materials and larger trees go to local sawmills where they’re converted into pallet-wood and building timbers.
A small proportion of the output, about 5%, is retained and used as biomass fuel for Kincardine Castles’ wood-chip heating plant. Re-stocking of woodland continues today so that the carbon capture by our forests can continue indefinitely.
While they’re growing the woods are also used for a variety of recreation by local groups including Bon-Accord Motorcycle Club, Buchan Off-roaders and Mar Orienteering Club. Our woods have been used for World Championship Orienteering Events.
Caring For The Environment
It is a measure of Kincardine Estate’s care for the environment that some 500 acres of land around Kincardine O’Neil was long-ago designated an Outstanding Conservation Area, principally for the built environment.
Other land designations of SSSI and for Local Nature Conservation and Landscape are direct results of the estate’s caring management of the natural environment over the last 130 years. Every acre of the estate is under at least one designation.
Buffer-strips to protect water courses from agricultural run-off were established many years ago to protect the spawning salmonids in the Neil Burn.
We are conscious of the need to reduce energy use and to embrace green technology and energy efficiency in our operations. We’re working constantly to upgrade the quality of our existing buildings. With over 50% of our land under trees we are well above the national average.
In 2012 we were pleased to fire up the castle’s biomass heating plant. The fuel comes mainly from our own grown timber.
Our early adoption of an electric vehicle was a measure of our determination but our enthusiasm exceeded the practicalities. We shall try again when we're certain the technology has made sufficient progress.
Support For Charities
The estate and castle have been constant supporters of charities. The main beneficiary of our efforts has been the national charity Children 1st with which we have been associated for more than 30 years. We also support local interests such as the local branch of the WRI, the Village Hall and a Kincardine O’Neil charitable trust. The castle is often used as a venue for fund-raising events and it also provides meeting spaces at no, or greatly reduced, charge for numerous meetings of the various charities and organisations that it supports. In 2019 an event held here for Maggie's raised £100,000.
Paying Our Taxes
Not being tax-exempt like charities, we also pay taxes and thus contribute significantly to the common good.
To sum up
Kincardine Estate, through our responsible and long-term stewardship, aim with your help to continue our support for our rural community.