Top 50 land-owning companies in England & Wales
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RankCompany nameAcreageCompany's activitiesNotes
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1United Utilities Water Limited140,124Water utilityIncludes 655 acres registered under United Utilities Property Services Ltd. Tallies closely to UU's publicly stated landholdings of 141k acres. See water utilities investigation: https://whoownsengland.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/liquid-assets-land-owned-by-the-water-utilities/
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2Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water)77,975Water utilityWelsh Water. Not covered previously in water utilities investigation as had focused on England.
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3Yorkshire Water Services Limited68,927Water utilitySee water utilities investigation. Tallies closely with Yorkshire Water's publicly stated landholdings of 70k acres.
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4MRH Minerals Limited67,935MiningCumbrian-based minining firm - https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00371464
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5Harworth Estates67,159Coal miningFormerly UK Coal - Harworth Estates Mines Property Limited (49,162). Comprises a combined figure for various Harworth subsidiaries (including Harworth Estates Investments Limited; Harworth Estates (Waverley Prince) Ltd; Harworth Estates Curtilage Limited; Harworth Estates (Agricultural Land) Limited; Harworth Estates Warwickshire Limited)
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6Severn Trent Water Limited51,668Water utilitySee water utilities investigation. Severn Trent Water have not publicly disclosed the size of their landholdings.
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7Lafarge48,557Mining, cement, aggregatesFrench industrial products company, specialising in concrete, cement, aggregates and tarmac. Lafarge Tarmac Trading Ltd, 22,452 acres; Lafarge Aggregates Limited, 18,985 acres; Lafarge Tarmac Cement & Lime Ltd, 7,120 acres.
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UK Power Networks Services (Contracting) Limited
48,262GridDistribution Network Operator for London, the South East and East of England.
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9L.E.T. Nominees 1 Limited30,269Aristocratic estateLowther & Lonsdale Estate in Cumbria - see both http://lowther.co.uk/ and http://www.lonsdale-estates.co.uk/. Lonsdale Estate website states they own 30,000 acres.
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10Gunnerside Estates Limited27,258Grouse moor, offshoreSee grouse moors investigation: https://whoownsengland.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/who-owns-englands-grouse-moors/. Other sources place Gunnerside Estates as owning between 26,000-36,000 acres.
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11The Boughton Estates Limited25,516Aristocratic estatePart of the Duke of Buccleuch's estate. See http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk/boughton-estate/. States they own 11,200 acres, so the Land Registry figure may perhaps include other land owned by the Duke of Buccleuch?. A map of the Boughton Estate, and other Buccleuch properties, is online here: http://www.buccleuch.com/the-estates/estates-map/
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12Cemex UK Operations Limited25,340CementOwners of multiple cement manufacture and storage sites across England and Wales.
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13UK Coal Kellingley Limited25,247Coal miningFormerly UK Coal - Kellingley colliery, the last deep coal mine in the UK, closed in Dec 2015. Unclear what is happening to the land.
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14Albanwise Limited22,361Real estate companySee http://www.albanwise.co.uk/
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15Beeswax Farming (Rainbow) Limited21,891Farm businessBelieved to be owned by James Dyson - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2889054/Not-bad-fancy-vacuum-cleaner-Inventor-James-Dyson-owns-land-England-Queen.html
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16Woburn Estate Company Limited21,474Aristocratic estateDuke of Bedford. See http://www.woburn.co.uk/
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17Ramsbury S.a.R.L.21,373Offshore estateRamsbury Estates, Savernake - owned by Ramsbury SaRL, based in Luxembourg - ultimate owner Stefan Persson, chairman and major shareholder of H&M retail chain. Estate featured in Private Eye offshore map. Ramsbury Estate say on their website that they manage over 19,000 acres. http://www.ramsbury.com/farming/about-our-estate
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18Northumbrian Water Limited21,032Water utilitySee water utilities investigation. Northumbrian Water have not publicly disclosed the size of their landholdings.
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19Elveden Estates Limited20,664Aristocratic estateEarl of Iveden - Guiness Family - see http://www.elveden.com/
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20Hanson Quarry Products Europe Limited20,534MiningAggregates producer, quarry owner. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanson_plc
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21Swangrove Estates Limited20,502Aristocratic estateDuke & Duchess of Beaufort - see https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00662926
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22Corlands Minerals Limited20,371MiningOwner-operators of gravel, sand, clay pits. Based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
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23Featherstone Estate Limited18,119Grouse moorSee grouse moors investigation
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24Ham Nominees Limited17,908Aristocratic estateTollemache family - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tollemache_family
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25Rathbone Trust Company Limited17,854
Investment management fund?
Appears to be property managed by Rathbones, the investment managers. Unclear.
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26Anglian Water Services Limited17,607Water utilitySee water utilities investigation - tallies well with area of GIS map released by Anglian Water following FOI/EIR request.
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27Mainline Pipelines Limited17,216Multi-fuel pipeline companyOwn a 484km pipeline network that runs from Pembroke in South Wales to Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham. See http://www.fishergerman.co.uk/utilities-infrastructure/news/mlp-appoint-contract-managers
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28Tata Steel UK Limited16,692SteelMultiple steel production sites around England and Wales, e.g. Port Talbot.
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29Wemmergill Estates LLP16,001Grouse moorSee grouse moors investigation.
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30Thames Water Utilities Limited15,987Water utilitySee water utilities investigation.
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31South West Water Limited15,816Water utilitySee water utilities investigation. South West Water have not publicly disclosed the size of their landholdings.
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32Weardale Estates Limited15,523Grouse moorSee grouse moors investigation - suggested Weardale Estates own 10,024 acres, so total according to Land Registry data is higher.
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33Peel Estates15,041
Property, energy, shipping, retail
Peel properties overall including all subsidiaries is 15,041 acres. Biggest firm is Peel Investments (North) Limited; other subsidiaries are PEEL AIRPORTS (LIVERPOOL) LIMITED; Peel Environmental Limited; PEEL ESTATES LIMITED; Peel Investments (Intermediate) Limited; Peel Land (Intermediate) Limited; Peel Land And Property (Ports No 3) Limited; PEEL LAND AND PROPERTY (PORTS) LIMITED; Peel Land And Property Investments Plc; Peel Property (Investments) Limited. Manchester Ship Canal Company, owned by Peel, adds a further 3,729 acres. Peel themselves claim to own 15,000 hectares, ie. 37,000 acres. ExUrbe 2013 report on Peel argues the conglomerate owns around 33,000 acres in total.
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34Taylor Wimpey UK Limited14,684HousebuildingTotal including subsidiaries is 14,684 acres. Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd is main landholder; other subsidiaries are Taylor Wimpey Holdings Ltd and Taylor Wimpey Developments Ltd.
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35Knarsdale Estate Limited14,538Grouse moor, offshoreSee grouse moors investigation; had thought Knarsdale Estate was smaller than this, so missing some bits of the picture. See also Whitwham Farm Holdings, the ultimate parent company (based in Jersey), which has a separate entry below for 4,200 acres
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36Arago Limited14,533Grouse moorBollihope Estate, owned by the Sheikh of Dubai, potentially offshore.
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37Methley Trustees Limited14,397
Grouse moor/ aristocratic estate
Mexborough Estates, Arden Hall, North York Moors - see http://www.mexboroughestates.co.uk/history.html and https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07397496
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38Pencelli Limited14,209Military training groundPencelli Estate in the Brecon Beacons, owned by the Honorable Artillery Company - https://www.hac.org.uk/home/about-the-hac/estate-treasures/pencelli-estate/
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39British Gypsum Limited13,661MiningOwners of quarries to produce plaster.
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40Ford & Etal (Trustees) Limited13,622Aristocratic estateFord & Etal Estates - Baron Joicey, Northumberland - near Scottish border. See www.ford-and-etal.co.uk
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41Strutt & Parker (Farms) Limited13,463Farm businessLarge farm business in Essex/ Suffolk. http://spfarms.co.uk/
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42Percy Northern Estates Limited13,193Aristocratic estatePercy family - Duke of Northumberland
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Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust Limited
12,870Aristocratic estateBaroness Willoughby de Eresby (Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby) owns Grimsthorpe castle in Lincolnshire. Drummond Castle is in Scotland - unclear if Scottish acreage is included in this figure (presumably note as Land Registry covers just England & Wales).
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44Farmcare Trading Limited12,615Farm businessWellcome Trust - formerly the Cooperative Group's farms. Acquired by Wellcome Trust in 2014. Wellcome Trust state in their press release about the purchase that it was of 39,533 acres, so this doesn't seem to reflect the full acreage.
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45Badgworthy Land Company Limited12,526Hunting societyOperate on Exmoor. See e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/3315663/When-the-law-has-its-clause-into-you.html and http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/anti-hunt-group-sell-safe-haven-land/story-19967612-detail/story.html. Unclear whether the figure of 12,526 acres is its entire estate, as also listed under 'corporate bodies' by Land Registry as owning 42,324 acres.
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46College Valley Estates Limited12,395Farm businessEstate left by businessman Sir James Knott, now managed by a Board of Directors. Lies on northern edge of Cheviot Hills, Northumberland. Farming and forestry underpin the estate's business. See www.college-valley.co.uk
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47Rose Chaplet Nominees Limited12,129Aristocratic estate?Unclear, but appears to be the estate of Lord Michael D'Arby Benson, an investment banker. See https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05678129/officers
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48Blankney Estates Limited11,909Farm businessLincolnshire farming estate owned by a Norfolk farmer - see http://www.blankney.com/
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49Tesco Stores Limited11,743SupermarketTesco total including all subsidiaries = 11,743 acres. Main firm, Tesco Stores Limited = 8,333 acres. Subsidiaries: TESCO AQUA (NOMINEE 1) LIMITED; Tesco Atrato (Nominee 1) Limited; Tesco Blue (Nominee 1) Limited; TESCO DISTRIBUTION LIMITED; Tesco Navona (Nominee 1) Limited; Tesco Passaic (Nominee 1) Limited; TESCO PROPERTY (NOMINEES) (NO.1) LIMITED; TESCO PROPERTY (NOMINEES) (NO3) LIMITED; Tesco Property Holdings Limited; Tesco Property Nominees (No 5) Limited; TESCO RED (NOMINEE 1) LIMITED.
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50Insite Development Limited11,411Real estate company?Insite Development Co Ltd on Companies House states the firm became insolvent and has been wound up…
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TOTAL1,302,103
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Data source: Extract from FOI response from Land Registry, June 2015 - figures accurate up to that date.
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