The Swinton Estate is one of the largest estates in England, situated in North Yorkshire and stretching from the River Ure in Wensleydale up onto the moorland Dales. Comprising 20,000 acres, about two thirds of the land is forestry, reservoirs and farmland and one third open moorland, and there are upwards of 90 properties situated both within the charming market town of Masham and the surrounding countryside. The Estate borders The Yorkshire Dales National Park and falls within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Mashamshire is recorded in the Domesday Book and there is a rich history dating back to the early Britons, with a fine Norman church and the remains of a Saxon cross in the churchyard. The geology of the area is predominantly millstone grit with some thin coal seams, and it is these that led to the main dale on the estate being called Colsterdale.
The Estate has been in the ownership of the Cunliffe-Lister family since the 1880’s, when Samuel Cunliffe-Lister bought the estate on retiring from his mill in Bradford, Manningham Mills. His grand-daughter Molly and husband Philip Lloyd-Graeme then took the family name on inheriting the estate and the family home, Swinton Park, and Philip was appointed Earl of Swinton in 1955. Molly’s grandson Nicholas is the current Earl of Swinton, and his son Mark the Baron of Masham. Mark is now responsible for the running of the Estate, and he and his wife Felicity converted the family home into a hotel in 2001. Please go to the Swinton Park website for further information about the hotel.
Access to the countryside on the Estate comprises an extensive network of approximately 63 miles of public footpaths and bridlepaths (please see an OS map for detailed routes), with car parking available at Nutwith Woods, Druid’s Temple, Gollinglith Foot, Leighton Reservoir, Roomer Common, Ellington Firth and Masham Town Square. Please see our countryside activities pages for further details about the walking, riding and other activities available on the Estate.
For further information about the history of the Estate and Mashamshire, please refer to “Days of Yore” by Susan Cunliffe-Lister.