Situated at the gateway to Royal Deeside, Leys Estate has grown organically over the years; reflecting the demands placed upon it from the changing world but staying true to its long-developed roots in the community.
As the north-east of Scotland enters the post-oil production phase, it is faced with a period of readjustment which will undoubtedly have significant effects on the local economy. Leys Estate recognised this and, as part of the development of a five-year strategy, committed to a flexible, dynamic and integrated approach to land use and management that aimed to get the most out of its land and property to the benefit of all.
With its vision, prime location and diverse property assets, Leys Estate realised that it was in a unique position to support existing food, drink and tourism related tenanted businesses who saw their future in the sector. As part of implementing the estate’s forward strategy, it cemented its commitment to enabling these businesses to thrive whilst also considering new related opportunities where it could.
This included actively forging links between Leys Estate and Opportunity North East (ONE). This proactive approach saw the estate help fledgling businesses in the ONE growth programme by matching their needs with land and property opportunities on the estate. This has included assisting businesses in the food and tourism sector including Hungry Squirrel, Deeside Brewery and Aberdeenshire Highland Beef.
In September 2016, Grace Noble approached Leys Estate with her childhood dream to become a farmer. But her vision stretched much further - to diversify a farming business into one supporting the local economy, promoting pure blood Highland cattle, local produce and bringing tourism to the estate.
The estate worked hand in hand with Grace to find an ideal location, with both property and land, to provide the base for her fledgling business which she now runs entirely on tenanted land and property of two estates.
Almost three years on from initial discussions, Aberdeenshire Highland Beef has been established as its very own beef brand with an on-farm butchery supplying direct to high end restaurants. Grace also has grown her business to include a tourism experience attracting the international travel markets. Grace is passionate about her Highland cattle business and putting Aberdeenshire on the map, helping to boost the local economy and champion the region on a global level.
By working together Grace and Leys Estate have grown Aberdeenshire Highland Beef to become a dynamic food and tourism business which is also helping to inspire other tenants on the estate and future generations of entrepreneurs and tenants to realise their dreams.
The key to developing such a successful partnership was simple – sitting round the table together, speaking through everything and being flexible. Truly working together.