Take a peek behind the scenes at Goodwood - a photographic portrait of the world's most successful country estate

Chichester was named as the best place to live in the South East in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. As part of our series of articles looking at what makes the area so special, this week we reveal the magic of Goodwood – the most successful and renowned country estate in the world. This special and intimate portrait includes stunning photography kindly supplied by the estate.

Goodwood is England’s greatest sporting estate. Seat of the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years, Goodwood is a family business built on a centuries-long tradition of sharing sporting passions. Motor racing, horseracing, golf, flying, shooting and cricket are all part of Goodwood’s sporting story.

Within its 12,000 acres, Goodwood is home to one of the largest lowland organic farms in Europe, a famous Battle of Britain airfield, an historic racecourse and motor circuit, two golf courses, hotel and one of the oldest cricket grounds in the country, all centred around Goodwood House.

Today, Goodwood hosts some of the largest and most popular events of the summer season. These include the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival –two of the most important automotive and motorsport events in the sporting calendar – as well as the GRRC Members’ Meeting, Goodwoof (a dog event like no other) and 19 days of top-tier thoroughbred racing at Goodwood Racecourse.

The estate welcomes over one million visitors each year for a countryside getaway, whether to enjoy one of the headline events or the pleasures on offer year round: a newly introduced Health Programme; the field to fork food philosophy of award-winning restaurant Farmer, Butcher, Chef; a day’s golf on one of two championship courses; touring the most recent exhibition in Goodwood House; watching vintage warbirds take off from the Aerodrome or simply relishing the restorative natural setting of the South Downs.

Strong links to the local community have always been important to Goodwood, alongside creating positive social, cultural and economic impact. The estate employs almost 650 permanent staff and a recent economic impact study conducted by London School of Economics (2020) found an estimated economic contribution of over £300 million annually into the local economy.

It’s not only sporting passions that are shared at Goodwood. The Goodwood Education Trust (established in 1976) ensures that learning in nature can also be shared by giving both local children and those who live in urban areas the chance to understand the natural environment. The Education Trust welcomes over 4,000 pupils each year. Residential programmes allow children without regular or easy access to nature to enjoy extended time learning outdoors and special programmes have been created for vulnerable children.

At the Festival of Speed, a STEM programme supports local children to inspire the next generation to discover motorsport, design, technology and mobility, while older students are invited to attend engineering and automotive seminars during the event.

Goodwood also partners with local charities, raising money and awareness throughout the year. In 2022, the estate raised just under £1 million for charity. This year, Tangmere-based Dementia Support is the estate charity and Goodwood has proudly supported The Aldingbourne Trust, Chestnut Tree House and Canine Partners in previous years. It has recently welcomed a Ukrainian family, providing a furnished property on the estate for them to call home.

With a vision to be the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate, many projects are underway to ensure Goodwood will be the first major estate to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Among these many initiatives is Goodwood’s on-site biomass energy centre which has reduced the estate’s CO 2 emissions by around 5,000 tonnes per year. Biomass now provides carbon neutral heat and power to the Hotel, Goodwood House, Home Farm and a proportion of the Festival of Speed site.

Goodwood has run a self-sustaining organic farm for generations and the produce from Home Farm features in restaurants across the estate and at its events, with almost zero food miles. It has trialled sustainable fuel in racing cars, classic cars and modern combustion engines and it is now encouraging adoption across all our motorsport events.

With one of the largest tree planting schemes in the South of England, it has planted 75,000 trees since 2019 with another 75,000 plantings planned.

These, of course, are just a handful of initiatives. The estate has evolved over generations with an ethos to always look forward, to explore new ideas, while being at the heart of its local community.

It is a cornerstone of what makes Chichester the best place to live in the South East.

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