A COUNTRY estate which has diversified by creating a water park, business centre and tree supplier has been awarded a top accolade.

The Dawnay Estates, which are based at Danby, near Whitby and Wykeham near Scarborough have been awarded the Bledisloe Gold Meal by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) for outstanding achievement.

The judges selected the estates for their “high standards of modern estate management”.

While farming remains at the heart of the estate, over the last forty years it has diversified to create businesses including Wykeham Mature Plants, which supplies trees and hedging, North Yorkshire Water Park, which offers water sports and an Aquapark, St Helens Caravan Park, Dawnay Sporting, which offers grouse shooting and Wykeham Business Centre.

Robert Sword, Dawnay Estates’ director said: “We are thrilled to receive such a prestigious award.

"It is recognition of the hard work from everyone who works on the estates and of Lord Downe’s leadership to achieve the vision he set out when he inherited the estates 15 years ago.

"I am delighted for everyone and it is encouragement for us to continue with our work to maintain and improve the estate for the future, which not only benefits the thirty five businesses based on the estates, but also employment and the rural communities living on both estates.”