While our Rural and Coastal portfolio is managed by people with distinctive and varied experiences, they all have a common sense of purpose. On this page you'll find stories from people who work across our Rural and Coastal portfolio, giving accounts of life in our business.

Andy Wells

As The Crown Estate’s Head of Countryside Management, Andy Wells has a broad ranging role that encompasses the active management and stewardship of not only substantial rural estates but also coastal environments too.

Based in Edinburgh, Andy has spent the majority of his Crown Estate career working at the award-winning Glenlivet estate in the Cairngorms, an opportunity he describes as “one of those career chances that was like a dream come true.”

“It’s a very special place, a beautiful landscape with a wonderful local community to match, they’re an absolute pleasure to work with. One of my big challenges is to build a broader awareness and understanding of these environments as places to be managed, visited and enjoyed. And how, at the same time, we have to behave responsibly and to protect these places for future generations. It’s about a constant process of engagement and education, building partnerships and relationships, and this is an aspect of my work that I find so satisfying.

“I’m immensely proud to work for The Crown Estate and the fact that I have stayed so long suggests that I share it’s values and principles and that’s very reassuring. I have witnessed over the years, if you have an ambition and you are prepared to grasp the opportunities that present themselves, then The Crown Estate will help and support you to build the career that suits you best. The encouragement and flexibility that is required to allow that to happen is quite unusual in my experience.

“In addition I think there is a very healthy and confident environment in which colleagues, wherever they are on the career path, are encouraged to get involved in policy making, to join the debate and contribute, and so our decisions are all the more robust and considered as a result.”

Sean Wheeler

Sean manages a wide range of rural and coastal assets in the south of England, from Kent to the Bristol Channel.

“I’ve had lots of different experiences around the business, managing residential, rural and coastal assets, as well as being offered training opportunities to enhance my skillset. The working environment here is excellent for picking the brains of anyone, from any team, whatever their expertise. We work in a dynamic environment focused on revenue and value, but at the same time we’re conscious of stewardship and encouraging community involvement.

“A recent re‑organisation gave me an opportunity to apply for a promotion and I have received nothing but support and encouragement here. It really helped with the new challenges I’ve faced, and shows that if you apply yourself the opportunity to progress can present itself.

“Engaging with people who are touched by our projects is one of the most satisfying parts of my role. For example I’ve recently been working alongside our agents and stakeholders to establish the framework for the construction of a new marina development in East Cowes, which represents an important phase in the regeneration programme of this region.”

Sean is currently studying for his RICS qualifications. “I’ve been very lucky. I am privileged to have been given the responsibilities I have, to manage a such a fantastic set of assets and I enjoy the fact that every single day is different – just the other day I was sitting in the Chelsea captain John Terry’s house talking to him about the land he leases from us, along with a few questions of a footballing nature!”