Parkland restoration project at Oxburgh Estate
Thanks to funding from Natural England, Historic England and the generosity of National Trust members and supporters, we’ve been able to embark on an exciting 10-year parkland restoration project. Discover how we're restoring part of the Grade II-listed landscape at Oxburgh to a species rich, native wood pasture that will attract more wildlife and increase biodiversity.
Restoring a historic parkland habitat
The historic estate at Oxburgh once stretched over nearly 3,000 acres including arable farmland, villages and over 400 acres of parkland habitat. By the time Oxburgh Estate was saved from demolition in 1951 and given to the National Trust, much of its vast estate had been sold off.
But in 2017 we were able to acquire 125 acres and today we’re working to restore 175 acres of the original 400 acres of historic parkland habitat.
Uncovering the parkland’s past
The land, which was used for arable farming for over 70 years, was left fallow while we conducted research. Using an Ordnance Survey map from 1904, the team has been able to research how the landscape looked when it was at its peak.
Fortunately, we have the 1951 sales details for the trees sold at auction (to be cut for timber) and we’re using this to identify the individual locations and suitable species of trees to replant.
Support for the project
Wood pasture and parkland is a rare and threatened habitat. It’s been in decline since the 1950s due to the repurposing of land to help feed the nation after the Second World War.
Although we’re moving to a type of farming that's more aligned with creating woodland pasture, we’ve received incredible support from neighbouring farms, the former landowners, tenant graziers and our partners to restore this rare and vital landscape.
‘It’s humbling and a privilege to be part of a restoration which will still be in its infancy in my lifetime, knowing it will benefit people and nature for centuries to come.’
– Russell Clement, General Manager at Oxburgh Estate
How the project will benefit nature
Bats and moths
The parkland project will benefit a range of wildlife, from deadwood-loving insects such as the nationally scarce hornet moth to woodland birds such as the lesser spotted woodpecker. Once fully matured, the wood pasture will also create new roosting sites for bats such as the brown long-eared bat and the barbastelle.
We’ve started the first phase of the project to restore this landscape. During 2021 and 2022, we’ve planted 227 specimen trees, including oak, white willow and the rare black poplar. This will help to recreate the look of the original parkland and will grow alongside the 10 ancient trees that remain in the landscape.
We will also be recreating ponds and planting areas of scrub and lowland meadows to create a resilient habitat that will endure for centuries to come.
We’ll be opening up access so that visitors can explore the wider estate. Look out for new pathways when you visit and speak to our friendly Welcome Team who will be happy to let you know where you can explore.
Find out more about the £6 million project at Oxburgh Estate, which included repairs to the roof, windows, chimneys and medieval gatehouse façade, securing Oxburgh’s future and the collection within.
Oxburgh Estate was built as a family home, and the Bedingfelds have now lived here since 1482, surviving Civil War, periods of near dereliction, and the threat of demolition.
Oxburgh has been home to the Bedingfelds for more than 500 years, and they still live within private apartments at Oxburgh today. Discover what you might see on your visit.
Wander around the parterre, discover what’s in season in the walled garden and explore the less formal areas, including the Wilderness and My Lady’s Wood on your visit to Oxburgh.
Oxburgh Estate is nestled on the edge of the Norfolk Brecks, where the land meets the wide-open Fenlands. Discover the wider parkland, and the wildlife that makes their home here.
We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.
Find out more about the funding the National Trust receives from grants, and the projects it has helped support.