The Downton Estate
The Downton Estate extends to about 5,000 acres and is located in the spectacular, wooded and hilly countryside of the Shropshire, Herefordshire borders, close to the Welsh Marches.
Ludlow, with its splendid castle, notable restaurants, ancient buildings and celebrated Broad Street is nearby and the motorway network gives convenient access to Birmingham Airport, London and European destinations.
However, Richard Payne Knight’s fortune was preserved and he made the ‘grand tour’ including Italy, where his interest in architecture and landscape were developed. He built Downton Castle in 1780 and became a leading figure in the ‘Picturesque Movement’, which was popular at the time, furthering interest in ruins, castles and unpretentious natural beauty. He developed his ideas throughout the spectacular landscape of Downton Gorge where much evidence of his achievements can still be seen.
The Downton Legacy
Originally, Downton formed part of Bringewood Forest and was owned by the de Mortimer family. They had a considerable impact on the history of the Marches. In the early 1700s, Richard Payne Knight took a lease on the Estate to provide charcoal for his fast expanding iron smelting business. With the discovery of coal smelting at Iron Bridge and the Industrial Revolution that followed, Downton was no longer a viable enterprise.
An International Reputation
As long as anyone can remember there have been pheasants at Downton. However, it was not until 1988 that the current shoot was developed and the international reputation for some of the finest, high pheasants in the country, followed. A traditional set of farm buildings on the Downton Estate have been converted to a Shoot Lodge providing comfortable accommodation for Shooting Parties close to the Downton Shoot.