Research & Innovation

The estate contributes to cutting-edge research and innovation within our industries. We see this as crucial to the estate’s long-term success and role, as well as that of the rural and conservation sectors in the UK which are under increasing pressure from political and economic change.

Our research includes specialist agronomic research in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire as well as environmental research with various partner organisations to monitor and evaluate wildlife and habitats across the estate. For example, we work with the River Beane Association, which monitors water species in our rare chalk-stream habitats, the Herts and Middlesex Butterfly Group, as well as various individual researchers concerned with rare species.

Case Study: Phoma Stem Canker and Rlm7 Resistance

For several years the estate has partnered with the University of Hertfordshire to carry out research into phoma stem canker pathogens on oilseed rape, a devastating disease for the crop that is widely farmed in the UK. The estate has provided land for this research and technical input. The research consortium is led by Dr Yongju Huang of the University of Hertfordshire and includes Innovate UK, BBSRC Bioscience for the Future and Monsanto, as well as other seed producers.

Phoma Stem

Nigel Watchorn, Head of Farming, with Dr Yongju Huang, Plant Pathology at the University of Hertfordshire, inspecting field trials at Woodhall Estate

Learn more about this leading research and its results in Dr Huang’s paper at University of Hertfordshire.

Learn more about wider Farming and Food on the estate.

Case Study: Wildlife Research

We work with several wildlife and conservation experts to monitor and evaluate wildlife across the estate. One of these experts is Ben Sale, who conducts surveys and research on rare moth populations on the estate. His research team works at night in the Bramfield Woods, using latest light and photographic technology to capture the moths.

Over 200 different species of moth have been identified on the estate. Species of note are Scare Silver, Ancylis diminutana, Apotomis Capreana, Argyresthia Pygmaeella, Cosmiotes stabilella, Epinotia fraternana, Euspilapteryx Auroguttella, Pseudosciaphila Branderiana and Scoparia Subfusca. 19 sightings of Gravitarmata margarotana have been recorded, which we believe is more than all of the other British records combined for this species.

The Scare Silver moth, a rare moth found and photographed by a research team at Woodhall Estate

Learn more about wider Nature Conservation across the estate.

Case Study: PortaPods

Our Buildings & Facilities Department never stops innovating. We are lucky to have a talented pool of experts who can usually find a solution to any problem, and can manufacture high quality bespoke products in our workshop for use on the estate. We hand-make most of our own windows and doors, which is part of our commitment to building preservation, as well as a range of other bespoke fixtures and fittings for our buildings.

The estate’s innovative team recently turned their hands to the manufacture of our own PortaPods: bespoke portaloos and showers built of timber in a chic Scandinavian style whilst optimised for efficiency, hygiene and transport. They are used for Oppidan Camps in the Walled Garden and other events on the estate.

Learn more about loo/shower hire in Event Support Services.

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