WISTON Estate staff had the chance to speak to the Prince of Wales about their work.
The Prince quizzed head forester Toby Askew on the wood chip operation and renewable energy.
Mr Askew said: “I know he has his own estate but it is nice to see the interest in what we are doing here. He knows all the problems as well.
“I told him about the forestry management on the estate and explained how we have been thinning it out.”
He said they turn the conifers into wood chip and use it to heat the house and the water.
“Most forestries can’t cut them down when they are small but for a chipper, it doesn’t matter,” he explained.
“Before the system was put in here about six years ago, they were spending about £60,000 a year, which is a lot of oil. This new way helps to reduce carbon emissions.”
Head gamekeeper Mark Ansell said the Prince asked about the size of the estate and what they look after there.
“He was very patient,” he added. “He is keen on the land and how it works and the fact that it is working.
“The challenge for us is to keep it like this for the next generation and trying to improve all the time.”
Estate manager Richard Goring introduced the Prince to head gardener Robert Mitchell and told him he had come to Wiston from Kew.
Mr Mitchell said: “This is quite a precious place. It is stunning and hopefully it can stay like this.”
The tour of the estate followed a Reversing the Trend conference at Wiston House, organised by Plantlife, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the Wildlife Trusts.
The three charities are working together on the Coronation Meadows Project and the conference was aimed at finding ways to begin to halt the decline in UK biodiversity.
Justina Simpson, Plantlife publicity manager, said wildflower meadow habitats had seen a 97 per cent decline in the UK since the 1930s.
She said it was the Prince of Wales himself who had launched the project because he wanted to stop the decline.
“The aim is for restoration and recreation and it is not just about planting, it is about the use of rare breeds as well,” she explained.
Earlier in the day, the Prince had met land managers at Coronation Meadows, near Battle, during a private visit to see progress since he launched it last year.