Bute Estate

A significant privately-owned estate which extends to some 10,900 ha (26,934 acres) and occupies the majority of the Isle of Bute, the Bute Estate is centred on Mount Stuart, home of the Marquesses of Bute, on the east coast of the island. Once run from the Bute Estate Office in Rothesay, it is now run from offices at Mount Stuart. The estate includes forty tenanted agricultural holdings, including thirteen dairy farms, arable farms lying towards the south end of the island and hill stock farms in the north. Their sizes range from smallholdings of just a few hectares to farms of over 890 ha (2200 acres). More than 1300 ha (3212 acres) is forested, an area extended through the purchase of much of the Rhubodach Forest in the north of the island for £1.25 million in 2010. The community had bought the forest from Lord Attenborough but immediately had to sell part of it owing to a lack of funds. The Bute Community Land Company negotiated rights to use the land for walks, cycle paths and renewable energy projects. Sitka spruce the predominant tree species, providing timber for the Bute Estate Sawmill, which was established in 1948 close to Mount Stuart, and moved to its current location at Piperhall in 1967. The sawmill supplies posts for fencing and finished timber for construction on the island as well as exporting timber products to the mainland. The Estate also has a revenue stream from commercial property, self-catering holiday accommodation, Bute Estate Foods and a farm shop, which opened in 2010. The Estate manages wildlife corridors, has installed several bird hides and provides a Countryside Ranger Service.

John Crichton-Stuart, 6th Marquess of Bute (1933-93) created the Mount Stuart Trust in 1985 to preserve his home and gave the Estate to the Trust to provide it with an income. Crichton-Stuart believed that the public should be able to enjoy Mount Stuart, its gardens and policies, to benefit from its collections and archives and to promote education and research. The Marquess of Bute remains Chairman of the Mount Stuart Trust.

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