From bike hire to zorbing, from a wide range of commercial properties to offering expertise in land management and rural business, mixed use estates are in a unique position to offer a range of benefits to the communities they are part of – including creating business opportunities.

Buccleuch is a prime example of a company turning that unique opportunity into tangible benefits with a diverse portfolio of businesses which help generate economic activity in communities across the country. Part of that portfolio is Dalkeith Country Park.

Dalkeith Country Park is a 2,200-acre estate with 600 acres of predominantly broadleaved woodland located only five miles from Edinburgh city centre. A £7 million investment by Buccleuch has transformed the 18th century stable yard, adventure playground, grounds and walking/cycling trails into a landmark destination known as Restoration Yard and Fort Douglas. Together these twin attractions are encouraging both locals and visitors from across the UK and beyond to appreciate what Dalkeith and Midlothian has to offer.

The redevelopment has already created around 40 new jobs, and has established itself as a flagship destination.

“Restoration Yard is a tremendous example of what can be achieved with a really clear and compelling commercial vision,” says Duncan Mackison, Chief Operations Officer at Buccleuch.

“We wanted to create a new destination at Dalkeith Country Park and early on we brought in Amanda Pratt, former commercial director at Irish luxury retailer Avoca to help shape our brand.

“As a result Restoration Yard is quite unlike any other retail outlet in the capital. The combination of a top level food and drink experience alongside superb shopping, a coffee shop and the children’s attraction of Fort Douglas means we are on track to attract 300,000 visitors in our first year.”

Partnership Opportunities

The new development has also given rise to partnership opportunities for micro businesses such as Criterium Cycles and Primal Bushcraft & Survival. These small businesses are now able to be part of an excellent, well-established facility with access to large numbers of potential customers.

Criterium Cycles was established in Edinburgh in 2013 by brothers Paul and Richard Bowker and they have since been voted one of the top 20 independent bike shops in the UK. Through the partnership with Buccleuch, Criterium has a brand new cycle hire facility open every day during the holidays and Thursday-Monday during term time at Dalkeith Country Park. There are a full range of bikes for the whole family with hard tail mountain bikes, kids’ bikes to cater for most sizes, tag-alongs and trailers for the little ones.

Primal Bushcraft & Survival have brought together professionals from civilian sectors and experts from the military special forces to run archery sessions in their brand new ten-lane outdoor archery range within the park. These sessions are open every day during the school break to everyone from four years upwards.

Duncan Mackison says: “We are delighted to be able to provide opportunities for local businesses to add value to the visitor experience at Dalkeith. We have created a prime visitor destination and our aspiration is to develop and grow what we offer. We welcome the opportunity to work with local business partners who have bought in to our ethos of exemplary customer service. By choosing local partners, we can maximise the economic and social benefit in the wider Dalkeith community.”