The Badminton Estate

The Badminton Estate


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After the dukes November hunt meet had cleared, i walked up the enormous drive to his private estate – this long strip of grass in a ‘chase’, a line cut through the once dense forests, to facilitate horses running at speed to chase deer. This is an example of how the landscape was scoured and changed at the whim of those that wanted to engage in recreational blood sports. But i’m not thinking about that at this point in time. This is one of the first trespasses i did for the book, and i’ve never trespassed anywhere so grand before. My heart is thumping, and i feel a distinct sense of unease.

So i stop, turn around, sit down and sketch the view at my back, the gatehouse that marks the perimeter of the dukes private seat. This isn’t the limit of the land he owns, just the bit that he’s designated for prettiness, his own private conception of how the countryside should be. This private zone is several thousand acres, which is a heck of a lot of privacy for one man.

I step into the more militarised zone, and the guilt-mine signs are laid everywhere.

This is the cute little root-house folly as described in the book. I took this photo having numbed my bum through drawing, just about to turn the corner and see Marlon, the horny stag, staring at me.

Then i stumble upon the carcasses of two deer.

One of them being completely ravaged, perhaps by a hungry duke, or perhaps by his hound. You gotta wonder why the duke is feeding his hounds the blood of deer, being that theyre no longer allowed to act on their impulse to chase deer. Maybe it was an early christmas treat, or maybe they’re keeping their hounds trained on the blood of deer in the hope that the hunting ban will one day be repealed. Who’s to say? Either way, these views are not for the public facing side of the estate.

This is the Duke of Beaufort, pictured during the pageantry before the trespass. By all accounts, he seems like a nice chap, he sings in a band, he’s convivial. But, according to Who Owns England ( he owns 50,000 acres of England and Wales. Maybe one man should be allowed to own that much, but should that ownership allow him to exclude all other from his land, or charge Swansea council £280,000 to build a bridge over the River Tawe?


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