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Our work on the Felbrigg Estate

Volunteer collecting seeds on the Felbrigg Estate
Volunteer collecting seeds on the Felbrigg Estate | © National Trust Images/Matthew Usher

Felbrigg has a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest across the estate, within the Great Wood and some of the parkland. There are ancient beech which are reputedly the furthest north on acid soil, and also some rare fungi and lichens. Discover the work of our ranger team to conserve the estate to protect it for future generations.

A helping hand for nature

A large part of the estate is in High Level Stewardship (HLS) with currently 240 hectares in our direct management. As part of the HLS, tenant farmers agree to maintain seed and nectar strips and reduce stocking levels of grazing animals. We use no fertiliser, insecticide or pesticides although a minimal amount of herbicide is used to control thistle and ragwort.

Current projects

Restoring the River Bure in Norfolk

We're working on our biggest river restoration project to date, to revive five of the UK's most precious rivers, including the River Bure in Norfolk, which runs through the Blickling and Felbrigg estates.

Discover more about the project

Grey heron in the stream near the lake at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
Grey heron at Felbrigg Hall | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Previous Projects

Scarrow Beck

The realigning of the beck was part of a Higher Level agricultural Scheme (HLS). The stream now no longer runs in a straight line but meanders, flowing into the small pond close to the footpath and then into the lake through the newly constructed weir which will allow the stream to behave in a much more natural manner mean that much less silt should reach the lake.

This work has encouraged wet loving species to spread, providing a greater diversity of plants and insects and we hope to see wading birds, such as Snipe and Lapwing, return to nest on the pasture.

We have seen greater numbers of duck and geese using the water and a bittern – normally coming for a quick look round – has stayed for several months. We have seen oystercatchers prospecting and our grass management should mean that they will stay with us in the coming years.

Reconstituting the heath

On the right as you drive into the main entrance of Felbrigg, about 25 acres has been returned to the heathland that it would have been in 1860. The wavy hairgrass has come up in the heathland restoration area, a typical heathland grass which hadn’t been recorded at Felbrigg for 10 years. We have removed the non-native species such as conifers, digging up and grinding out the stumps. The nutrient rich soil/leaf mould is then stripped off to get back to the basic seed bed. It is hoped that this heathland will encourage nightjar and woodlark to nest there, and this environment will increase the biodiversity.

Ranger working at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk
Ranger at Felbrigg Hall | © National Trust Images/Matthew Usher

Saving the nation's beech trees

The team at Felbrigg have helped to ensure the survival of Norfolk’s rare beech trees, with rangers lassoing seeds that are now stored in the UK’s first national collection of tree seeds, at Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank at their Wakehurst estate in West Sussex.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

Wildflowers in June at Godolphin, Cornwall


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