The Stornoway Trust is a publicly owned Estate, created in 1923 when the estate was gifted by Lord Leverhulme, Leverhulme having bought the Isle of Lewis from the Mathesons in 1917. The estate extends to 70,000 acres (approx 28,000 hectares). The Trust is administered by 10 democratically elected Trustees. Trustees are elected to serve a 6-year term. There is an image of the standing orders and deed of trust documents here.
The estate office is located at Leverhulme House, Perceval Square, Stornoway and the day to day running of the estate is the responsibility of the Factor.
The Lews Castle Grounds are the 600 acre woodland surrounding the Lews Castle in Stornoway. This magnificent centrepiece in the island's heritage and is a rich mix of trees from many parts of the world alongside species native to Scotland planted by the former wealthy owners of the estate and latterly the Stornoway Trust. The Millennium Forest for Scotland Project has facilitated the improvement and regeneration woodlands.
The history, botany and ornithology of the Castle Grounds attract considerable interest from locals and visitors to the area.
From 1939 until 1945 the Castle was commandeered by the Military Authority and used as a Naval Hospital. In 1948 it was leased to Ross and Cromarty County Council as a Residential Technical College. It was subsequently sold to the County Council in 1970 as a Technical College at a price of £5,000. You can read more about the castle and current developments here.
Following reorganisation of local government in 1975, ownership of the Lews Castle transferred to the Western Isles Islands Council, now Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.