The Ashridge Estate lies to the north of Dartmoor on undulating land of native woods and arable farming. When purchased in 2014, the building stock, grounds and infrastructure were suffering from a lack of investment since the early 20th century. The project brief developed through conversations with our clients about their goal to create a sustainable, ecologically conscious, and economically viable working estate. We prepared a feasibility study and phased masterplan to enhance commercial activities whilst slowly restoring the structures and landscape.
Over the following five years up to 2019, the studio planned and delivered coordinated projects including:
- Removal and recycling of dilapidated unused buildings
- New agricultural barns, hard-landscaping and car parking for farming and logging business
- Restoring a magnificent Devonian long-barn into a rustic wedding venue and community space
- Conversion of derelict outbuildings into lettable holiday accommodation
- Landscaping and repair to re-establish a mature 19th century arboretum and walled garden (local labour and materials resources built into the procurement & build process)
- The complete restoration and contemporary extension of the central estate manor house
- Implementation of sustainable infrastructure so renewable power and resources are ‘off-grid’
Working in a sensitive rural and historic setting, a wide range of enabling studies and consultations were required including; funding bids; liaison with tenants and local users; ecology reports and environmental impact assessments; heritage appraisals; and technical structures and services investigations. This evolving research helped inform the wider sustainable mission of the estate. As well as renewable technologies, such as ground source heating, solar power and on site water collection and waste treatment, projects were designed to use local resources, labour and skills.
Through the building projects, and the hard work of our clients, the estate has developed into a thriving business which interacts with the community for the benefit of both the local economy and environment.