A doctor who took over the running of his family’s 2,500-acre estate ten years ago has won the Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners.
Dr Johnny Wake, managing partner of Courteenhall Farms in South Northamptonshire, was presented with the award at the Royal Windsor Estate.
This year, the Bledisloe Gold Medal, which is supported by Evelyn Partners, was awarded to Dr Wake in recognition of his management of Courteenhall, a diverse rural estate business which has grown substantially over the past decade.
The judges looked at a number of Courteenhall’s projects including a new broiler unit, heated with ground source heat pumps. Since he took over the estate, Wake has installed a variety of renewable energy technologies including multiple ground and air source heat pumps, rooftop solar arrays, solar thermal arrays and a high-tech energy monitoring portal.
Since taking over in 2013, Dr Wake has evolved Courteenhall from being a business based around arable farming and residential property to one on a much more diverse and sustainable footing.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, David Grint, chief executive of RASE, said: “The Bledisloe Gold Medal is awarded to a landowner who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the successful land management and development of an agricultural estate in England.
“Dr Wake puts community, sustainability and legacy at the heart of every decision made, demonstrating an exceptional model of best practice and one which sets examples for estates across the whole of England.”
Dr Johnny Wake, whose family has been in South Northamptonshire since the 13th century and has been farming at Courteenhall for over 350 years, said: “It is a real honour to be awarded the Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners and it’s a testimony to the hard work of the whole team at Courteenhall.
“We’re a family-run business committed to farming as sustainably as possible, working with and protecting the environment, and pushing the boundaries so we can be at the vanguard of positive change.
“We have a long and proud legacy to preserve, and we’re passionate about supporting the local community and protecting the environment for future generations.”