RURAL POLICY AND PRACTICE (LE 5524)
1. To integrate the content from other courses to ‘real-life’ situations.
2. To apply existing knowledge, understanding and skills to practical case
3. Through the use of case studies provide an enhanced understanding of the
decision-making, management & marketing of different rural activities for
the benefit of individual businesses and the wider rural community.
4. To develop the evaluative and practical skills necessary for a career in
5. To gain an appreciation of the practicalities associated with the
implementation of new ideas.
Lectures: Introductory lectures to each of the two projects will be given.
Project Classes: Each project will include, where appropriate, field visits, reading
lists, and be supplemented with discussion/ help classes to monitor your progress.
Formal Assessment & Course Assignments:
The course includes two assignments (accounting for 100% of the overall marks).
There is no written examination. A detailed brief will be provided at the start of each
Assignment 1: Practical Estate Management (50%) (with A Stockdale)
Output: One group report of 3,500 words (35%) and one group presentation (15%)
of 15 minutes presented to the estate owners.
Groups: Jamie Allison, Ian Wood and James Presly
Nikki Bailie, Rob Sanderson and Michael Sedgwick
Ant Brown, Jackie Fisher, Gillian Semple and Geoff Laird-Portch
Submission Date: Report & Presentation - Tuesday 2nd May (pm).
(submit two copies– one copy will be passed to Mr Gladstone)
Working in teams you are required to prepare a management plan for Fasque Estate
(Fettercairn). The Estate is owned by Mr Charles Gladstone. Your Plan should relate
to one of the topics provided. Projects will be assigned on a first come first served
basis following the first Fasque visit.
The basis of this project is to provide an opportunity for you to integrate your existing
knowledge and apply this knowledge to a ‘real-life’ estate. The project is typical of
the work undertaken by a land agent who has been asked to provide advice and
guidance to an estate on the management of specific activities. You should therefore
approach the project in a professional manner seeking to provide comprehensive and
reliable advice to your client – Mr Gladstone.
Background information and a list of projects will be provided prior
to the first estate visit. In the meantime, visit the Estate’s web site: -
a) Any assumptions made during the course of your project should be clearly
highlighted and justified.
b) Funding – If your project recommends new proposals for the Estate you
should identify relevant funding sources and assume that any remainder of
funding will need to be borrowed. As such all calculations into the financial
feasibility of your proposals should take into account this bank loan. The
owner will therefore wish to see a return on his investment (capable of paying
off the loan) as soon as possible.
Depending on your choice of project and proposals you will need to consult a
number of policy, planning, legislative and land use literature. You will also, in
some cases, need to refer to current funding schemes and/ or official documents/
At the very least, depending on your project, you will need to consult the:
Grampian/ Aberdeenshire Structure Plan and Kincardine Local Plan
NPPG 15 Rural Development (search Scottish Executive web site)
SAC Building Handbook
For up-to-date policy, management and grant guidance: Consult the following
useful web sites:
Scottish Executive web site http://www.scotland.gov.uk
SNH web site http://www.snh.org.uk
Forest Authority web site http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry
Government strategy for rural Scotland http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics
Farm Diversification http://www.sac.ac.uk/management/external/diversification/
Deer Commission http://www.dcs.gov.uk
Scotland’s moorland http://www.moorlandforum.org.uk/documents/statement-
Land Management and National Parks
Scottish Agricultural College http://www.sac.ac.uk
Game Conservancy Trust http://www.gct.org.uk
Remember there are staff in the University who can help in terms of tracking
down relevant sources of information:
Watson Bell (Estate Management)
Neil Dunse (Valuation and Investment): Edward Wright Building
William Walton (Planning matters): Geography Department
To do this project successfully you will need to–
a) set a timetable for team meetings and keep minutes of all meetings (including
tasks and deadlines). A copy of Minutes should be submitted with your
b) undertake some research prior to visiting the estate, and identify key questions
that need to be asked? For example, what can you find out before visiting the
estate? To get the most from a visit/ meeting with your client you need to
prepare well in advance.
c) Come up with ideas, and debate their feasibility,
d) Make decisions (or compromises) on the best way to proceed,
e) Allocate tasks within the group and work as a team – meeting deadlines and
f) You will not have all the information readily at hand, some aspects will need
to be researched in greater detail than you have covered so far in your
programme of study, - you may for example, need to arrange meetings with
other ‘experts’ or consult various organisations,
g) Keep in mind at all times, the owner’s wishes and continually ask yourself if
you have covered all the angles?
h) Remember at the end of the day, the financial implications of your proposals
are paramount – how much will your proposals cost? What returns are
projected? Are your calculations realistic?
The final report should include the following (where appropriate):
a clear statement of your remit
brief background information to the estate
an identification of the estate’s objectives
a recognition of the owner’s wishes
a brief description and evaluation of the activity(ies) covered
proposals for ‘development’/ ‘management’
constraints to the ‘development’/ ‘management’
an assessment of grants/ funding sources available (e.g. from LECs, SNH).
a recognition of local planning strategies (incl. relevant NPPGs)
its feasibility and expected return (this will involve costing the
proposed venture (materials, labour, professional fees etc), and making
judgements about possible income generation based on comparable
a schedule of operations (i.e. timetable of when key stages of the
development will take place) where relevant.
its likely impact on other estate activities (is the proposal complimentary
to other activities on the estate?)
appropriate monitoring procedures (how should the project be monitored?)
a recommendation/ advice to the ‘client(s)’- professional advice should be
given in terms of its potential, cost to the Estate, likely returns, potential
pitfalls, compatibility etc. The owner must have accurate and realistic
information on which to consider your recommendations.
Relevant appendices including Minutes of group meetings.
List of sources of information (i.e. bibliography)
2. Presentation to client(s) – Room 117
Based on the content of your group report you will give a 15-minute group
presentation to your clients – Mr Charles Gladstone, Mr Andrew Hamilton
(Strutt & Parker, Banchory), Watson Bell and Aileen Stockdale. Note: Prof
David Macdonald (Head of Geosciences School) may also attend. Overhead/
slide projector and PowerPoint facilities will be available.
The presentation should be of a professional standard and focus on the key
points of your proposal. The detail is given in the written report. For the
presentation you need to identify the main points/ considerations for presenting
to your clients. Dress appropriately for such a business meeting and be
prepared for some questions on your presentation.
Marks will be given for: overall content, clarity of proposals, use of visuals,
timing, answering questions and overall professionalism.
Assignment 2: Land Use and Land Management in Slovenia (50%) (with A
Stockdale & John Loder)
Output: One group report of 5,000 words (35%) and one group presentation (15%)
of 20 minutes to Aberdeen University staff.
Jamie Allison, Nikki Bailie, Ant Brown, Rob Sanderson and Geoff Laird-Portch
Ian Wood, Michael Sedgewick, Jackie Fisher, James Presly and Gillian Semple
Submission Date: Report & Presentation - (tbc: provisionally week 12/13)
Further details will be provided in due course.
TIMETABLE: Note that projects do overlap.
Project Week Room Activity Other
Introduction 1 ( Tues 128 Introduction to course Aileen
31 Jan) 9- and Project 1
Project 1 2 (Wed 8th Field Visit to Dunecht Estate: Depart St. Mary’s
Feb) introduction to estate 1.15pm. (Aileen)
3 (Tues. Visit to Fasque Estate Depart St. Mary’s
14th Feb) With Andrew Hamilton 12.30
(S&P, Banchory) Aileen & Watson Bell
4 (Tues 21 128 Progress with Project Aileen
5 (Tues 28 128 Progress with project Aileen
7 (Tues. 14 Visit: Fasque Estate Depart St. Mary’s
March) With Andrew Hamilton 12.30 Aileen & Watson
(S&P, Banchory) Bell
9 (Tues 18 128 Progress on projects Aileen
April) 9-11 1&2
10 (Tues Residential Field trip to Aileen & Watson Bell
25- Wed Highlands. Details to
26th April) follow.
11 (Tues 2 Room 117 - Project 1 Estate Owners, Aileen
May) 2pm Presentations/ Submission & Watson Bell
Project 2 tbc 128 Commence Project 2 Aileen & John Loder
tbc 128 Progress on project 2 Aileen & John Loder
8 (Sat 18th Slovenia Visit Aileen & John Loder
27th March – 17th April Easter vacation
9 (Tues 18 128 Progress on projects Aileen
April) 9-11 1& 2
(tbc) 128 Project 2 Progress Aileen & John Loder
12 (Tues 9 128 Project 2 Progress & Aileen
May) feedback Project 1
12 or 13 117 Project 2 Aileen & John Loder
Two-day Residential Field Visit.
Sponsored by The Rt. Hon. Charles Pearson (Dunecht Estates, Aberdeenshire).
The two-day residential field visit is an important element of this course. Provisional
dates are: Tuesday 25th – Wednesday 26th April. It will be based on a visit to the
Highlands. Accommodation and transport will be arranged. The visit should be used
to develop themes covered in lectures and illustrate ‘good practice’ in various aspects
of Estate Management.
Students will make a contribution to the cost of this and other half-day field trips
(maximum £75) but on the whole they are subsidised from a Dunecht Estate award
(for the residential field trip) and the Department of Geography & Environment. A
finalised programme for the visit will be provided in due course, and you will be
invoiced directly by the Department regarding payment.