Kiplin Hall and Gardens: Historic North Yorkshire estate creates flying zones for drone pilots

A historic estate in North Yorkshire has created flying zones for drone pilots to explore to wonders of the area in a move believed to be the first of its kind.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens photographed from above by drone pilot @bigladderphotographer during test flights for the Drone Access Policy.
Kiplin Hall and Gardens photographed from above by drone pilot @bigladderphotographer during test flights for the Drone Access Policy.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens has published a 'Drone Access Policy', explaining how pilots can enjoy exploring the skies over the rural North Yorkshire estate.

The estate says the move is the first of its kind for recreational flights, and the two flying zones take in its stunning lake and parkland areas.

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The move comes as flying drone has become a popular hobby for many people - with a quarter of a million people thought to be hobbyists, with 10,000 professional drone pilots in the UK.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens photographed by @bigladderphotographer showing the lake zone in the foreground and the estate zone beyond the house and lime tree avenue.

A number of historic estates have banned the flying of drones above their grounds, but the the director of Kiplin Hall said they have a long tradition of recreation - and they want to continue that.

James Etherington said: “Kiplin Hall and Gardens is a large estate offering 90 acres of land and the lake. The estate has a long tradition of recreation.

"Built as a hunting lodge in the 1620s and throughout its life as a family home Kiplin has hosted various pursuits including boating, fishing, orienteering, walking and trail running, even curling on the frozen lake in winter.

"As technology advances so do our hobbies. As a venue we must keep up with trends in how people want to enjoy our outdoor spaces. As an independent charity tasked with preserving the Hall and estate we rely on ticket income to continue our work.

"Appealing to a new audience of drone pilots will help us to do that. Kiplin’s grounds have a lot to offer with ample space for pilots and regular visitors to enjoy. Kiplin provides the ideal backdrop for drone pilots."

Mr Etherington said the estate has worked with a company called Drone-Prep - a specialist organisation connecting pilots and landowners - to create a policy that clearly defines when, where, and how pilots can fly in the estate's airspace.

The fly zones mean the drones will not be close to the listed buildings or the hall, while access to the estate area will be paused during lambing season. Bird nesting season will also be taken into account.

He added: "We will pause access to the Estate Zone during lambing season and will assess any issues at the Lake Zone during wild bird nesting season. We are thrilled to be launching our Drone Access Policy. It’s a trial for the autumn months, which are often quieter for us, so we hope that pilots will be a new audience for us.

"The drones will not alter other visitors' enjoyment, and some might even find them an interesting addition.”

Chris Gorman, a pilot and aerial drone photographer, who took test flights at Kiplin as part of the creation of the policy said: “Kiplin Hall is a unique location for drone users. Set in the stunning Yorkshire countryside the hall provides a beautiful backdrop for those jaw dropping drone images.”

Claire Owen, Co-founder and CTO of Drone-Prep, said the first have created a map application to help people plan their drone flights.

She said: "The map contains lots of useful data from Ordnance Survey, ESRI, HM Land Registry, Registrars of Scotland and what3words. You can view airspace interactions, access landowner information and plan your route using our drawing tools.

"You can also check daylight hours, find new places to fly and save sites for later. Kiplin’s policy offers a sensible approach to drone flight to the benefit of both hobbyist pilots and other visitors to the estate.

"Kiplin Hall and Gardens recognises the benefit of responsible drone use, encouraging visitors to share flight footage on social media which will promote sensible drone flight as well as the venue as a visitor attraction.”

Pilots wishing to fly at Kiplin Hall and Gardens will need to produce their Flyer ID, Operator ID and insurance on arrival, and must follow the UK Drone Code. Pilots will need to be ticket holders to access the site and will be required to check in and out at main reception. The full Drone Access Policy can be viewed online at www.kiplinhall.co.uk/visit-kiplin.