In 2030 St Clere will turn 400.

In 2010 St Clere Trustees set 4 goals to achieve by the time St Clere turns 400 in 2030. We are now half way through. How are we doing with our four goals?

1. To flourish financially in order to preserve the heritage assets and natural assets.

Farming is no longer reliably profitable (even Dyson say they don’t make a profit on 35,000 acres of farmland) and therefore St Clere has diversified into events; including weddings, film shoots and festivals. Annually, we now  welcome approximately 200,000 people onto the estate.

The entire income from all the events from 2009-2018 paid for the essential once-in-a-century restoration of the Grade I listed manor house roof.

St Clere has spent £250,000 since 2010 making improvements to the forestry enterprise and hedgerows in order to improve the landscape and biodiversity of our district.

When budget allows, the next targets are to do essential work to preserve the Grade I listed garden buildings and improve the fences and field edges around the estate.

2. To support the local economy

Where possible St Clere uses local businesses for goods and services, providing many local companies with much of their custom. Events, such as festivals and filming, benefit local businesses from increased income when people stay, eat and shop in the area.

St Clere has initiated, completed and partially funded two fibre broadband schemes benefiting hundreds of local homes over the past ten years and improving connectivity for local businesses. 

10 local people are employed and dozens of others work for St Clere as contractors.

2 apprenticeships were offered to local young people, both then took up full time jobs.

50+ people are employed in businesses based at St Clere.

8 local families live on St Clere in free or truly affordable housing.

3. To ensure the local community benefits from St Clere.

Eliza launched and led Care for our Community from St Clere which was the District’s 1,500-strong volunteer response to Lockdown.  She has also launched and led CleanUp which is an annual District wide anti-litter campaign in which 1,000 bags of litter are collected mainly by school children.  Care for our Community Ukraine followed to support people to host Ukrainian refugees and supports 200 families.

Day to day the team at St Clere work full time to keep the estate, properties and events running smoothly, but also when necessary undertake voluntary work on the public areas and roads around the district; clearing fly tipping and litter, fallen trees, flooding and snow.

Charities and community groups have benefited by an estimated £300,000 since 2010 from using St Clere for events and fund raising.

We control access to the estate to prevent nuisance, littering and any negative impact on the fragile ecosystems we are trying to establish or encourage. At the same time, we have opened access and by arrangement locals can now enjoy walking, cycling, off-roading and horse riding on certain routes across the estate.

4. To be a leader in environmental management

We were proud to be one of the first estates to become a member of the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship scheme and will take the necessary steps to be one of the first to join any post-Brexit environmental schemes as they become clear.
We are in the process of appointing a recognised wildlife charity to assess our biodiversity, advise on meaningful enhancements and oversee delivery of improvements.

Working with the Forestry Commission, we have bought our woodlands back into management, have planted over 40,000 trees and have begun the removal of thousands of trees suffering from Ash Die Back. Although woodlands always look worse before they look better, the work we are doing will lead to meaningful improvements in the landscape and biodiversity of the estate, not to mention contributing to essential carbon capture.  The intention is to plant 200 acres of new woodland by 2030.

Green Energy from wood chip produced on the estate now heats St Clere and the surrounding cottages. Every property we have built also benefit from biomass heating.

Are these the goals you would have chosen? What do you think of the goals and how do you think we’re doing?

A St. Clere Estate, Kemsing, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 6NL
T 01732 761309