Sustainable Land Stewardship – Agroecology, tree cropping, beaver wetlands and biodiversity net gain on a traditional lowland estate

Archie Ruggles-Brise, Partner & Estate owner


Archie will cover his approach to managing land and how that is leading to a new set of opportunities in addition to the traditional land use menu of options. He will range widely from bringing beavers back to East Anglia to fight flooding, to the natural capital approach and public good policy, pioneering biodiversity net gain and dip into water stewardship in arid Essex.


Archie Ruggles-Brise is the 11th generation of the Ruggles-Brise family to take the helm since the family purchased Spains Hall in 1760. Since he took on the role as Estate Manager from his father Tim Ruggles-Brise in 2018, he has reshaped the direction of the estate towards a nature-first approach and is repurposing the land towards a more environmentally sustainable future.

A Chartered Water and Environment Manager, with 20 years experience, a 1st Class Honours
degree from Newcastle University in Applied Biology and a Master’s Degree in Rural Estate and
Land Management, Archie is committed to transforming farming to take better care of the environment and providing greater habitats for wildlife on farmland.

Archie manages the day to day running of Spains Hall Estate’s 860 hectares of ancient woodland, grassland, tenanted farms, holiday cottages and a ground-breaking beaver and natural flood management project. He masterminded the reintroduction of beavers into a fenced enclosure in 2019 to combat village flooding – the first project of its type in East Anglia.

Archie also leads Spains Hall Estate’s external engagements speaking at events and working with other organisations to explore new sustainable land use projects. He is a trustee of the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust (having worked for the Rivers Trust movement prior to taking on the reins of the estate), a Climate Change Panel member of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and advisor to both the Essex Climate Action Commission and Essex Local Nature Partnership. He also sits on the Braintree District Council Climate Change Working Group championing the rural environment.

Archie Ruggles-Brise