It’s like a scene from the TV series Downton Abbey—a classic English estate, complete with a family home, stables, stone church, charming cottages and country schoolhouse. Welcome to Courteenhall, where Charles Wake, whose family has lived on the estate since 1673, uses Cat® equipment and work tools to maintain more than 370 acres of parks and grounds.
Although Courteenhall is a working farm, forestry is also a principal activity. Small groves of trees known as spinneys were planted throughout the estate to help manage soil quality, erosion and ecosystem diversity. But keeping the spinneys maintained was costly and time consuming, says Wake, until the family bought a Cat compact track loader and a set of forestry attachments.
“We had been using nine people, nine chain saws and three chippers to maintain the spinneys,” he explains. “It was expensive and slow. But then we took a look at the Cat compact track loader. It had great capacity because of the range of tools we could put on it. It was also going to be highly maneuverable in tight spaces, thanks to its rubber tracks.”
Wake considered similar models from Bobcat and JCB, but chose the Cat machine because it was “in a different league.”
“We also felt we were going to get reliable and knowledgeable service from the dealer,” he adds.
The Cat compact loader is one of most versatile machines on the estate. Depending on the day, you’ll find it mulching, cutting brush, raking, grading or digging with an auger. Wake calls the mulcher “astonishingly powerful” and the auger “even more impressive.”
When the Cat loader’s not saving time and money at Courteenhall, it’s often out earning revenue. “There’s big demand for this kind of work all over the area,” says Wake. “We can rent the loader for up to £600 per day.”
“That’s another reason we need reliability, both from the machine and the dealer,” he continues. “If it’s broken down and out of use, we don’t want to be losing a day here and a half day there. We need reliability, dependability, ready access of spares and back-up from our dealer. The dealer has delivered all of that.”