Blagdon Hall, in Northumberland, has been home to Matt Ridley’s family since 1700. The first three generations of owners were all named Matthew White. The next nine generations of owners have all been named Matthew White Ridley.

The Estate is a business that includes farms, woodland, residential and commercial properties; its tenants provideĀ around 340 full and part-time jobs. The Milkhope Centre has become a popular destination for visitors with a number of small privately owned retail businesses, including the Blagdon Farm Shop, which sells local produce from Blagdon and the surrounding area.

Blagdon welcomes public access through maintained public and permitted footpaths. In addition, the Estate acts as host to charitable organisations which fund-raise through open days. Typically Blagdon Estate has over 30 events a year with around 4,500 visitors. The Estate also offers regular training facilities to the Police, Armed Services, Scouts and the Guides, as well as hosting fishing clubs, a cricket club and other organisations.

Surface coal mines have operated on Blagdon Estate almost continuously since 1943. H.J. Banks Ltd is currently producing coal from the Shotton and Brenkley sites. Coal from Blagdon is low sulphur and high quality. The majority of production is used locally, supporting businesses and jobs. Blagdon estate and Banks are joint sponsors of Northumberlandia, an iconic land form park adjacent to Cramlington.

For more information visit theĀ Blagdon Estate website

I have a financial interest in coal mining on my family’s land. The details are commercially confidential, but I have always been careful to disclose that I have this interest in my writing when it is relevant; I am proud that the coal mining on my land contributes to the local and national economy; and that my income from coal is not subsidized and not a drain on the economy through raising energy prices. I deliberately do not argue directly for the interests of the modern coal industry and I consistently champion the development of gas reserves, which is a far bigger threat to the coal-mining industry than renewable energy can ever be. So I consistently argue against my own financial interest.

Matt Ridley on Blagdon estate and coal mining