Historic restoration project supports Clumber Park’s conservation work

Farmland at Clumber Park

At Clumber Park, we care for more than 3,800 acres of gardens, woodland and farm estate.

Conservation is at the heart of what we do, protecting rare species and habitats and restoring historical landscapes for our visitors to enjoy.

Over the past two years, as part of our Clumber Park Revitalised project, we’ve planted more than 2,000 trees, including oak and sweet chestnut, with the help of our local community.

A collaborative approach

We have been working closely with our long-term tenant farmer, Will Pringle, alongside Natural England, to create crucial habitats for wildlife and restore the historic landscapes at Clumber Park.

The work on the farmland has been part of the Higher Countryside Stewardship Agreement and involved converting 190 hectares of arable farmland to woodland pasture using a variety of land management techniques.

Cabin Hill, Clumber Park, taken in the 1930s
Cabin Hill, Clumber Park 1930s
Cabin Hill, Clumber Park, taken in the 1930s

The Pringle family has been working the land for generations, they arrived at Hardwick Grange farm in 1938 and since then the land has been used for arable and pasture and in the 1950s the farm was host to a dairy farm.

By 2019, all 190 hectares of land was managed for arable use. The change of land management to wood pasture has been done in the interest of sustainability to the farmland and increase the benefits to wildlife that the land can have.

The last of the trees were planted just before the first national lockdown in 2020, concluding four months of collaboration between the National Trust and local community volunteering groups.

Unparalleled wildlife benefits

Speaking about the project, Countryside Manager, Jago Moles said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity for us to support the work of our tenant farmer as he moves into a new phase of farming.

“The delivery of this project has built on our previous work together and has allowed a dramatic transformation of the farm landscape. There are huge benefits to this project. Firstly, there is the direct environmental benefits, enhanced carbon capture and retention, massively reduced water usage, and prevention of soil erosion.

“There’s also the landscape benefits, restoring this area to its historic management and feel of broad open areas with scattered blocks and individual trees.

“Thirdly is the nature conservation benefit, we are already seeing an increase in insect and bird diversity, and long term this land will help support the rare heathland species that Clumber Park is renowned for.”

At the core of the project was the desire to recreate this area of the park as it would have appeared historically.

While it may take up to 50 years for the trees to mature and look as the Dukes of Newcastle intended, the benefits for wildlife will be present immediately.