5th June 2020

Featured / Outdoors / Rachel Sedgwick

Good Things are Happening at Glen Dye: A Some Good Ideas Original Interview with Rachel Sedgwick, Glen Dye’s Estate Manager

29 8 mins 0

WWe chat with Rachel Sedgwick, estate manager at Glen Dye about everything that has been happening there since lockdown, from the community Facebook groups that have emerged and rehoming ex-battery hens to a wood fire sauna in an ancient forest and Keanu Reeves on Clachnaben.

Some Good Ideas: Hi Rachel, Glen Dye is feeling very far away at this time, can you paint a picture of your surroundings, to bring us all a little closer?  

Rachel Sedgwick: Right now, I am looking out of my home ‘office’ (dining room) window at what was the old platform of Dess Railway Station. There are blue skies and sunshine.

My daily commute to Glen Dye is 20 minutes of glorious country roads that take me across the River Dee and into Glen Dye. The journey puts a smile on my face every morning. The Estate Office is situated in a beautiful, converted Victorian steading (Scottish for barn) right in the middle of Glen Dye Estate. The steading is surrounded by woodland and fields, with sheep, lambs and pheasants at every turn. And to top it off, the office has a floor to ceiling window overlooking it all; it’s not uncommon to have roe deer wander past, and the odd pine marten making its way back to the pine woodland behind the steading.  

SGI: That office view truly is amazing! How long have you worked at Glen Dye?

RS: I’ve lived in Scotland for 19 years after moving up from Surrey for my husband’s job. I’ve been working at Glen Dye since January 2014, the quickest six years of my life so far!

 SGI: What is your role at the Glen Dye? And what do you enjoy most about your job?

RS: I manage the day-to-day running of the estate: there are many spokes in the estate wheel. We have 3,074 hectares of commercial forestry, a sheep farming enterprise, residential properties, a commercial pheasant shoot, stalking, agricultural lets, and more recently we have added our holiday lets business Glen Dye Cabins & Cottages, Camp Glen Dye and Weddings at Glen Dye.

In all honesty, the thing I enjoy most about my job is the variety of work – I can, hand on heart, say that I never go home bored. It helps massively that I have a great support network in the people I work with.

SGI: What is your favourite thing to do at Glen Dye?

RS: Getting up from my desk and walking, rather than driving, to where I need to be (as long as it’s not more than 10 minutes!). The walk up to Glen Dye Lodge is my favourite – it feels like a huge indulgence, but I have promised myself that I will do it more often… it’s a work in progress. The driveway to the Lodge is lined with the most majestic trees and follows the path of the River Dye, it’s the most soothing thing.

SGI: How did the community deal with and adapt to the changes lockdown enforced?

RS: The Glen Dye community is a fairly close knit one and when lockdown happened, they pulled together to make sure everyone was looked after. We have a dedicated Facebook page for the residents, anyone who needed help can post on there and someone will respond. People have rallied round to support each other, and it has been really lovely to see. 

SGI: I know a lot has been happening during the lockdown period. Can you tell us about some of the new developments?

RS: Yes, there is a lot on. We are coming close to finishing our fifth holiday let, The Bothy. It’s a one-bedroomed cottage that has been beautifully renovated. The private garden has an outdoor kitchen and wood fired hot tub, and guests can just walk from their door through woodland and out onto the hills of Glen Dye.

We have also taken delivery of The Keepers Hut – a rolling cabin – which is going to form another double bedroom down at The Saw Mill. It’s just too good not to share with friends, so we have made it possible for 6 adults to stay there together.

The Glen Dye Arms is starting to take shape – a small but perfectly formed pop-up pub for our Camp Glen Dye guests – we are in the process of converting the old wash house at the steading, it’s going to have such character!

We have purchased a converted horse trailer that will be used as our souvenir and greengrocer shop, it is awaiting some Glen Dye magic, and once it’s ready we will have lots of lovely produce from our own veg garden to fill it. And eggs! A little flock of ex-battery rescue hens have just joined our gang – it’s so lovely to be able to give these poor little souls somewhere lovely to live out their lives.

An amazing wood fired sauna is being planned, this will be sited in the woodlands behind the steading for our guests to use and will feature an outdoor shower for a quick cool down. Forest bathing, Glen Dye-style.

The renovation of two derelict cottages is underway and these will provide long-term residential opportunities for locals.

And finally (for now), we are re-purposing a building near the steading and turning it into a community events space. We are hopeful that it will be completed by the end of 2020.

SGI: Obviously, you can never predict what will happen next but how are you planning/managing the reopening strategy?

RS: With the self-catering nature of the holiday lets, we are in a good position to be able to re-open with little disruption. Government guidance on cleaning and the like will obviously be followed to the letter and we will employ a contactless arrival and departure policy. We love guest interaction and our Head of Guest Experience, Audrey Dykes, has a wealth of knowledge on the Estate having lived here for 30+years. So, we are looking at ways that’ll enable us to impart this in a safe and sensible way, without losing too much of the personal touch. 

 SGI: And finally, who would be your dream guest at Glen Dye and why?

RS: Keanu Reeves. He’s a genuinely good human being. He seems to have a very simple, humble and humanitarian approach to life, and I really admire that. How cool would it be seeing him at the top of Clachnaben!

SGI: Haha! Thanks Rachel, I’ll let him know.

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Rachel Sedgwick

Rachel is the Estate Manager at Glen Dye who expertly manages the 3,074 hectares of commercial forestry, a sheep farming enterprise, residential properties, a commercial pheasant shoot, stalking, agricultural lets, Glen Dye Cabins & Cottages, Camp Glen Dye, and Weddings at Glen Dye. There is not a lot Rachel can't do.

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