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The rising stars of Raby Estates’ renovation programme

Raby Castle and Estate, in the heart of County Durham is supporting the expertise of local contractors in all areas of its five-year renovation scheme known as The Rising, as well as across the Estate’s agricultural enterprises.

The Rising, which began its works in 2021 will see the restoration and modernisation of several historic buildings, plus the creation of a café and thoughtfully designed visitor centre, retail and event spaces as well as surrounding landscaped areas.

Working with local contractors is the sign of positive things to come at Raby Castle and Estate, says CEO Duncan Peake, “We want to invest in our community, securing and enhancing skills that have been used on the Estate for hundreds of years. When searching for the right teams for The Rising project, we didn’t have to look far to find highly skilled contractors, who understood our development ethos.”

As part of the development, North Yorkshire landscape designer Alistair Baldwin has been entrusted with creating the new landscaped areas surrounding the historical buildings, whilst the 18th century walled gardens are being restored and rejuvenated under the guiding eye of Lady Barnard, with Raby Castle’s head gardener, Tim Marshall overseeing the transformation.

The first part of the walled garden’s transformation begins with the East Garden, and local landscape specialists Trevor Atkinson has been contracted to undertake the works, which have already commenced, including building beds in the northern part of the garden, constructing supporting walls and commencing work on the groundworks for the grass amphitheatre.

“Working with Raby Estates on The Rising development is an important contract for Trevor Atkinson,” says company director Richard Atkinson. “Not only do a large proportion of our employees live in the locality, such as Barnard Castle and Staindrop, it is also a huge honour to be part of the future of our local estate. We know this area extremely well so are able to bring a unique level of local knowledge to the project.”

Trevor Atkinson has been working with Raby since the inception of the five-year programme, having been initially contracted to build the new car park, which joins The Plotters Forest Adventure Playground to The Rising site.

“We pride ourselves on our expertise across all sectors of ground works, including civil works and landscaping. My father started the business within the agricultural sector, and we have built it to have the capacity and skills to undertake large, prestigious projects, of which Raby now leads the charge.”

Trevor Atkinson’s landscaping expertise can be seen across the UK, most notably at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where its team worked on the well-known Grand Cascade, and surrounding ground works.

Like Trevor Atkinson, bespoke steel manufacturers, Middleton Forge, have been operating at the Estate since the inception of the five-year programme, fabricating and installing fencing, gates and cattle grids. They have also produced the bespoke steel elements for the recent Dutch Barn and walled garden renovations.

With a forestry operation of over 3,200 acres, the Estate invests in an environmentally secure enterprise, turning to local company Low Impact Forestry, to assist the internal team.

Formed in Richmond in 2019, Michael Tyson’s multi award-winning company utilises specialist forestry equipment to manage woodland and timber extraction, in an environmentally sensitive manner, leaving as small a footprint as possible. The majority of the product is used by the Estate as biomass fuel or firewood, keeping the carbon impact extremely low.

“Locality is so important to us as a company, and it is refreshing to work with a client like Raby who champion the same ethos”, comments Michael Tyson.

“Trevor Atkinson, Middleton Forge and Low Impact Forestry bring a unique skillset to our working practices,” continues Duncan, “We look forward to a rewarding future relationship”.

The renovation and development of The Rising is an important part of a progressive Estate-wide five-year plan, bringing together a programme of conservation, restoration and upgrades to historic buildings, such as Gainford Hall, Raby Castle Park & Gardens, Unthank, Spring Hill Cottage, The Scar Farm, Bowlees Farm, Beck Foot Farm and the recently completed Hilton Hall.

For more information about The Rising, visit: www.raby.co.uk/about-us/development/

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