The Trust’s Estates in Buckinghamshire
The Boarstall Estate
The Boarstall Estate is situated in the western part of the Vale of Aylesbury, about ten miles west of Hartwell and five miles north of Oxford. The estate was originally purchased by Ernest Cook in 1941 from the Aubrey Fletcher family, who continue to retain land at Chilton not far from Boarstall. At the time, the estate extended to about 3,200 acres but during the 1960s and 70s the Trustees sold much of the estate and reinvested in land at Fairford, Trent and Little Dalby.
Today the estate extends to about 630 acres comprising one arable and stock farm together with a large area of woodland, Boarstall Wood, which is noted for its richness in butterfly species.
In the centre of the estate is Boarstall Tower, which was originally part of the 18th century house on the site and was given to the National Trust by Ernest Cook. In 1981 the Ernest Cook Trust Trustees also decided to give the Boarstall duck decoy to the National Trust: this was a working duck decoy which was managed by the former Wildfowlers Association of Great Britain and Ireland, now the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Duck decoys were originally constructed to gather ducks for food; these days, where they are still in use, they are used to collect wildfowl for research purposes.