A forest reawakening
Hampshire Life|September 2020
A forest reawakening
Few are better equipped to help navigate the New Forest’s post-lockdown recovery than Beaulieu’s Mary Montagu Scott
Viv Micklefield

“I think it will make us all more resilient in the long term and will force change to happen more quickly for many businesses. It will be tough for a few years, we may all have to go through difficult times, but as a result will become stronger.”

Mary Montagu Scott, the daughter of the third Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, and sister of Ralph, the current Lord Montagu, has a far-reaching insight into many different aspects of life in the county. She is both a director and vice-chairman of Beaulieu Enterprises, which runs the commercial side of the estate, including the National Motor Museum founded by her late father. She’s a former High Sheriff of Hampshire, and remains actively involved with numerous committees and groups. And she is characteristically upbeat in her assessment of the world we all find ourselves in, now that the reset button has be pressed following lockdown.

“I am very, very fortunate because I live in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world,” she says from her home on the Beaulieu estate overlooking the sparkling waters of the Solent. In late March it provided a comforting, if slightly surreal, refuge. “Being near the sea, every day I’d look out and there wouldn’t be a single boat passing my door which was so unusual. A bit like living on a busy road and seeing no-one drive past. I am a very keen sailor myself – I’ve a Cornish crabber yawl, plus enjoys dinghy sailing – and we couldn’t access our boats at all. But we [the family] survived it well and I have some very nice memories of during that time.”

This, in spite of the fact that caught-out by the sudden imposition of travel restrictions, Rupert, her husband of more than 20 years was trapped for three months in Turkey. Which left Mary holed-up with her two teenage children: Emelia then 17 who saw A-level exams abandoned, and Ben 19, who should have been at university.

With normal day-to-day routine suspended, energy was channelled in new directions.


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September 2020