Press Centre

For any PR enquiries relating to the family, the Holkham Estate and its related businesses, please contact our Press Centre - managed by Hunt Communications:

Email:

Harriet Hunt - harriet@hunt-communications.com
Sophie Comyn - sophie@hunt-communications.com
Emma Bowman - emma@hunt-communications.com

Telephone:

+44 (0) 7886 969086

High resolution images can be obtained by using our image library or by contacting Holkham’s Marketing Team on 01328 713103 or email marketing@holkham.co.uk

Photography taken for any commercial use must have prior written consent from the Holkham Estate.

29th March 2021 - Holkham National Nature Reserve Announces New Zoning Initiative to Help Protect Nesting Birds and Wildlife

Holkham National Nature Reserve is working with West Norfolk District Council and dog owners to help protect breeding shorebirds.

The Holkham National Nature Reserve is one of England’s largest reserves, comprising of approximately 10,000 acres, half of which is owned and managed by Holkham Estate and the remainder managed by Natural England.

Last week, following public consultation over the winter period, and with support from West Norfolk District Council’s Habitat Monitoring and Mitigation fund, seasonal zoning of the beaches at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea for visitors with dogs was announced.

The team at Holkham warmly welcome dogs across the Estate. However, these new steps are necessary to protect the most vulnerable areas and help reverse the steady decline of breeding shorebirds seen throughout the UK, which are significantly impacted by large visitor numbers, particularly those with dogs. Currently, the existing rules and good practices are that dogs must be kept under close control or on the lead.

The new restrictions will be implemented from 1st of April to 31st August annually, and only in the most sensitive of areas. As always, visitors are asked to take responsibility of their dog whilst visiting, clean up using the bins provided and be mindful of their surroundings. Visitors are also urged to keep their dog away from the cordoned zones, as these are positioned to protect ground-nesting birds that are easily disturbed.

There is no proposal to ban dogs, as the Estate and partners involved understand how important enjoying the wide-open, natural spaces are for responsible dog owners. It is important to clarify that more than 70% of the open and permissive access will remain available to responsible dog owners year-round to do what they have always done and enjoy their canine friend off lead, including space within the pinewoods and sand dunes. In highly sensitive areas, roped cordons will be in place to protect ground nesting Terns, Oyster Catchers and Ringed Plovers

At Wells the restrictions remain largely unchanged, apart from including the areas where the seals haul out onto the sands – a popular suggestion from respondents during the consultation process.

This new zoning forms part of the important work being undertaken by the teams at Holkham, together with partners along the AONB. The shared aim is to raise understanding and awareness of these incredible habitats and the importance of enjoying, respecting and protecting them when visiting.

Jake Fiennes, Director of Holkham Nature Reserve says: “The Holkham National Nature Reserve must be one of the most amazing stretches of coastline in the UK. Visited by many, it is the responsibility of us all to ensure that these natural places remain rich and vibrant. We share these special places with a range of wonderful wildlife, so let us jointly protect it.”

1st February 2021 - The Holkham Estate Embarks on a Significant Conservation and Forestry Project at Lady Anne's Drive to Enhance Biodiversity and Increase Carbon Benefits

The new biodiversity and conservation project, led by the Holkham Forestry and Conservation teams, will allow local wildlife and natural habitats to flourish, whilst also protecting the safety of visitors.

1st February 2021 – The Holkham Estate, set on one of Britain’s most beautiful stretches of coastline in north Norfolk, is embarking on an important conservation project at the iconic site of Lady Anne’s Drive, with the aim of allowing local wildlife to flourish and increasing the area’s carbon benefits. The project, which has been approved by the Forestry Commission, North Norfolk District Council, AONB, Natural England and Historic England, will be conducted in phases from this February, with all work being carried out by Holkham’s in-house Forestry Team and supported by the Director of Holkham National Nature Reserve – Jake Fiennes. The first phase of the forestry operation will last one week, with the permissive footpath also being closed.

The Holkham National Nature Reserve contains 145 hectares of woodland, including that along Lady Anne’s Drive which was established in 1823. The main access route to Holkham Beach, Lady Anne’s Drive is located just off the A149, opposite The Victoria Inn, and allows visitors to access the beach and The Lookout year-round. The original avenue of Holm oak trees (Quercus ilex) was largely replaced by non-native, fast growing hybrid Poplar trees (Populus/Canadensis), after the 1953 flood killed the majority of Holm oak through saltwater damage. The aim of this planting was to screen the vehicles from the wildlife which thrive on the freshwater Grazing Marshes on either side of the drive, as well as to hide the visual containment from view. Over time, the trees have rapidly grown, with their canopy now too high to provide shelter and also providing a safety concern. As a non-native species, Poplar trees have a limited ecological value compared to native Hawthorn which supports over 300 species of insects including bees and other pollinating insects.

Nurturing Nature

Holkham will remove the Poplar trees over a phased period to enable wildlife to continue to flourish. The first phase of the project will remove 30% of the Poplars and will be completed by 8th February 2021. During the planting season the team will replant the avenue with a mix of native trees and shrubs including Hazel, Hawthorn and Field Maple, which will create a hedge-like screen and wildlife corridor. This will provide habitats and food for insects, small mammals and migratory birds including Fieldfares, Redwings and Thrushes.

Carbon Benefits

Trees will be planted with environmentally friendly guards around them – to prevent grazing from deer, hares and rabbits. These younger trees will take our carbon dioxide, sequesting the carbon and releasing oxygen faster than the older Poplar trees, which are now reaching their maximum rate. The Holkham team will be leaving the stumps and root balls in situ, as they are a carbon sink. They will also rot down as a habitat for biodiversity of invertebrates, fungi and bacteria. The timber extracted will be used as chip for biomass – a renewable energy source.

Jake Fiennes, Director of Holkham Nature Reserve, explains, “The work we are about to undertake on Lady Anne’s Drive will offer significant benefits for the wildlife, flora and fauna of the Holkham National Nature Reserve. The new scrub creation will also enhance the experience of our visitors, whilst the carbon paybacks are icing on the environmental cake.”

Harry Wakefield, Holkham’s Head Forester, concludes, “We are thrilled to be starting work on this project, following many months of collaborative studies and planning with our local, ecological and environmental partners. Woodland management is a pivotal element of Holkham’s aim of being the UK’s most sustainable rural estate. Projects such as this are evidence of the estate’s long-term investment into biodiversity and a healthier environment for future generations.”

This project forms part of an estate wide sustainability and conservation action plan: WONDER. Focussing on three core objectives, WONDER commits Holkham to pioneer environmental gain, champion low carbon living and stamp out waste. For more information and to watch the launch film, click here

13th January 2021 - Holkham Hosts Festival of Sport This Summer

A weekend of family fun with sporting legends

The inaugural Festival of Sport is coming to Holkham in August 2021, providing an amazing opportunity for children to discover new sports, improve skills and play against sports legends. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Holkham Estate in North Norfolk, families can join for the day or stay for the whole weekend with camping and glamping experiences available. (August 13th to 15th 2021, Prices from £105 for a day ticket: https://festivalofsportuk.com/)

Centred around a programme of core sports, Festival of Sport will give children aged between 5 and 16 a unique opportunity to learn more about the sports they love, discover new ones and develop their skills, regardless of age or experience. Sports include rugby, hockey, cricket, football, gymnastics, netball, tennis, rowing and athletics. Exciting taster sessions in trampolining, boxing, MMA, dodgeball and climbing will also be offered.

On hand to lead the coaching sessions are some of the best names from the sporting world, from British World Champions to Olympic medallists. Confirmed legends to date include: England rugby greats Will Greenwood, Austin Healey, Rachael Burford and Mike Tindall, former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, former international hockey player and Olympic gold medallist Alex Danson, double Olympic and three time World champion rower Helen Glover, Commonwealth and World Championship medal winning netballer Pamela Cookey, 2013 World Synchronised champion trampolinist Amanda Parker, double Olympic medal winning rower Anna Watkins, goalkeeping coach and former professional goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, TV naturalist, explorer and television presenter Steve Backshall and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox.

The weekend is designed with the whole family in mind, with activities available for everyone whether they share a love of sport or not. Adults can partake in wellness workshops, 5k fun runs and play against some of the sporting legends themselves. Little ones are welcome in the crèche and specific sessions are provided for under 5s. Evenings will play host to a mix of live music, delicious food, silent discos and an open-air cinema providing entertainment for the whole family from dawn to dusk.

There is also ample opportunity to explore the 25,000 acres of parkland, beach and countryside at Holkham, including waymarked routes for walkers to take in the wildlife, scenery and incredible monuments and a Cycle Hire Centre offering the perfect way to explore the park on two wheels. Families can also take advantage of Holkham’s pristine mile-long beach with a swim followed by a delicious picnic from The Lookout Café. For those looking for a thrill, Holkham Adventure promises hours of family fun with their ropes course taking you through the treetops.

Attending Festival of Sport at Holkham provides a unique and memorable experience to all children in the most beautiful setting on the British coast. Families will leave refreshed and even a future Olympian or world champion!

12th November 2020 - Holkham Launches WONDER: A Sustainability and Conservation Action Plan

Wonder: A feeling of amazement, admiration or awe, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar

Holkham is incredibly excited to launch WONDER, an ambitious estate-wide sustainability and conservation action plan setting out ambitious goals to be achieved over the next five, ten and twenty years.

Holkham’s Vision is to be the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate. One part of this Vision is to protect, enhance and revitalise Holkham for the benefit of future generations. WONDER focusses on three core objectives, committing Holkham to:

1) Pioneer environmental gain - increasing natural capital every year with every decision made.

2) Champion low carbon living - become a carbon negative estate by 2040.

3) Tread lightly to stamp out waste - reducing the amount of non-recycled waste generated by 10% each year for the next ten years.

For more information and to watch the launch film, visit: holkham.co.uk/wonder

Following the launch of WONDER, Holkham will release the results of an in-depth analysis of their carbon emissions after completing an audit of the land-based and leisure businesses. This will be followed by the release of their Biodiversity audit next September. Data is incredibly important to ensure the goals, and projects helping to achieve these ambitions, are informed and measurable.

Set within 25,000 acres on the majestic north Norfolk coast, Holkham offers a diverse plethora of landscapes and is home to a rich variety of wildlife and biodiversity. The estate has already made advancements in renewable energy with: a 100-acre solar farm; a number smaller roof-mounted solar systems; an anaerobic digester; and biomass, ground and heat source heating systems. Holkham is also already respected for delivering sustainable food production - including reducing tillage; planting cover crops; extending the crop rotation; bringing livestock back into the rotation - as well as delivering biodiversity enhancements and habitat provision across the farms and the Holkham National Nature Reserve. Through WONDER Holkham is pushing the boundaries further still and setting new standards.

Tom Coke, 8th Earl of Leicester, explains: “Sustainability is not a new phenomenon at Holkham, quite the opposite in fact. Sustainability has been front of mind for hundreds of years. From the pioneering agricultural approaches of my ancestor ‘Coke of Norfolk’ back in the late 18th century, to present day investments, innovative sustainable practices are, simply put, a natural Holkham behaviour. I, together with my team, look forward to continuing this sustainability journey – one that will help ensure Holkham is enhanced and revitalised to benefit future generations and for a healthier planet.”

By prioritising sustainability in everyday behaviours and decisions across the estate, WONDER will enable Holkham to connect habitats, enhance the biodiversity of landscapes, develop science led innovations, deliver responsible construction, make operations leaner and greener, phase out single use plastics and minimise waste. From forestry, farming and conservation to game, horticulture, leisure and hospitality, every member of every team across the estate is essential to the success of WONDER.

Spearheading the approach towards sustainability across the estate is Sue Penlington (Holkham’s dedicated Sustainability and Learning Manager). Sue carried out an initial estate sustainability report across all Holkham businesses during 2020. As well as shedding light on the fantastic things that are already being done, her report identified ways each area could improve, leading to the creation of WONDER’s three key themes. As Sue explains, “Sustainability is not just about rubbish and bins. It is about leaving Holkham, the surrounding countryside, villages and communities in a better state for our grandchildren and their children too.”

Jake Fiennes, Holkham Nature Reserve Director adds: “More and more we hear of the importance of the natural world and how it sustains us and protects us. Species loss, habitat degradation and climate change are all things we need to address with immediate effect. Enhancement and protection of the natural world are key values we all need to uphold in working with our partners, neighbours and visitors.”

In this first year of the Wonder plan, Holkham is underway with the following projects:

PIONEERING ENVIRONMENTAL GAIN

• The Great Farm Project – a trial farm site to rejuvenate depleted soils, establish sustainable food production and ensure that alongside, wildlife conservation can work efficiently and productively.

• North Norfolk Farming Partnership – working with neighbouring farmers and tenants to encourage them to farm in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, providing habitats and biodiversity alongside food production. Holkham’s conservation team has undertaken farm surveys of birds and hedgerows for tenants to identify areas in which they can improve biodiversity.

• Reduced grass mowing – leaving specific areas uncut which provides a food source for important pollinators, homes for insects and small mammals, as well as improving the diversity of plant life present. This year, the area of mowed grass has reduced by a massive eight acres and in turn, reduced fossil fuel usage and saved time.

• Autumn bird trails on the Holkham National Nature Reserve – two new trails, the Bluetail trail and the Warbler trail, have been cut into the reed bed to provide better opportunities for visitors to see and engage with overwintering and migratory birds.

• Habitats and nest boxes – installing new nest boxes in and around newly developed properties, and habitat piles in the woodlands in Holkham Park to improve biodiversity.

CHAMPIONING LOW CARBON LIVING

• Baseline data – Holkham is undertaking a carbon, waste, energy and water audit of all businesses to identify areas for improvement. This data will help to set annual targets to reduce waste and increase recycling rates across the estate. Holkham are also undertaking a detailed carbon audit of the farm and woodland, including the areas which are managed for wildlife so that they can understand how much carbon is taken in and stored, as well as focus operations on reducing Holkham’s carbon footprint.

• Blacksmiths Yard – delivering sustainable enhancements to new houses being built including bat boxes, swift nests, energy efficiencies via insulation, and use of other sustainable materials.

• Good Journey – promoting visits using public transport and cycling and walking throughout the estate.

• Green Tourism Awards – Holkham Enterprises (the visitor businesses) and Pinewoods holiday park are undergoing an assessment to hopefully join The Victoria Inn as holders of the Green Tourism Award.

• Low carbon weddings – working with couples and suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of weddings through reducing the waste produced, using local, seasonal produce, and offsetting transport through planting trees on the estate.

TREAD LIGHTLY, STAMP OUT WASTE

• Reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and refuse – reducing the waste produced, improving recycling rates and not sending any waste to landfill are all projects being worked on across the estate. Holkham is undertaking a feasibility study to turn waste sawdust from their carpentry workshop into briquettes to heat local homes, as well as working out how best to deal with compostable waste. Recycling bins have been installed in The Courtyard and by the Woodland Play Area, and they have a compactor on-site which reduces the number of bins used. The Victoria Inn now sends food waste to an anaerobic digester where it is turned into electricity and compost, rather than going to landfill.

• Phasing out single-use plastic – Holkham is auditing the cafes and catering concessions with the aim of removing items made from single-use plastic and those which cannot be recycled. So far, all drinks are in cans, including water, and the coffee cups and other packaging are made from plants, not plastic.

Holkham will report annually on these projects and progress towards the goals.

Peter Mitchell, Holkham Managing Director concludes, “In late-2019 we set Holkham on a path towards fulfilling a Vision to become the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate. The launch, now, of Holkham’s Sustainability and Conservation Strategy illustrates one important part of that Vision. We are guardians of amazing natural resources, stunning landscapes, and breath-taking biodiversity. We chose the word Wonder to remind us that understanding, protecting, improving, enjoying and sharing these assets are central to our commitments to sustainability and conservation. There is excitement and ambition across the estate to make a big difference over the next 20 years.”

28th October 2020 - Holkham Announces A New Curated Programme For The Festive Season

Marking The 10-year Anniversary Of Christmas At Holkham, Reimagined For 2020

There’s cause for celebration this Christmas at Holkham! A full and wonderfully varied programme, brimming with events and workshops to suit all interests, will commence from 28th November. After a frosty year, children and adults alike are in need of some Christmas merriment, and what better way to embrace the festive spirit than at Holkham, the magical 18th-century mansion in Norfolk set in 25,000 acres of stunning parkland.

Holkham’s passionate and dedicated team have worked hard to ensure guests will be warmly welcomed, despite the postponement of the much-loved Christmas Candlelight Tours and An Audience with Father Christmas until 2021. From private behind the scenes tours of the hall to nature tours and wildlife excursions around the park, this year visitors can enjoy even more of the estate, including some areas which have rarely been seen by visitors.

Meet the many different people that manage and juggle the huge variety of tasks and specialisms at Holkham. Hall Manager, Jon Haggerwood, will lead insightful tours through the spectacular state rooms meeting housekeepers, the butler and housemen sharing their secrets along the way. Head gardener Mark Morrell, together with librarian and historian Mac Graham, will be hosting a rare event to observe how Holkham’s art collection relates to the parkland landscape surrounding Holkham.

Green fingered enthusiasts and creative thinkers alike can challenge themselves at wreath and floristry workshops, willow weaving, bushcraft lessons and even a Silversmiths workshop. There’s also a Christmas Market, with food, drink and gifts, that will be running each weekend and a new Christmas Tree Shop offering fantastic, locally grown, premium Nordmann fir trees. Finally, there will be audiences with Lady Glenconner, best-selling author of ‘Lady in Waiting’ - the story of her remarkable life, spent her childhood at Holkham Hall as she prepares to launch her first novel.

A full list of festivities with dates and prices can be found on the Holkham website - please click here

2020 may not be the Christmas for large gatherings, but it does mean it is a time perfect for more personal and private experiences in smaller numbers. From meeting the team in the hall to wild walks on the nature reserve, tractor trailer tours (with a tipple included), Holkham has organised events to savour, all of which must be pre-booked.

The Countess of Leicester says, “Christmas at Holkham has always been an extremely special and heart-warming time of year – it is something I always look forward to, with planning starting as early as February! This year will be wildly different, but we cannot wait to welcome visitors with uplifting experiences that have been thoughtfully crafted, to ensure there’s something for everybody to look forward to. I have personally been so impressed, touched and proud to witness the ongoing drive shown by the estate team to bring cheer to locals and visitors at Holkham. We hope you enjoy your visit.”

Please note, all visitors will need to wear face coverings whilst in Holkham Hall and any other indoor spaces visited throughout their visit. Social distancing measures and hand sanitisers will be in place throughout the property. Please see Holkham’s website for further information on safety measures that are in place. For those wanting to plan a Winter staycation at Holkham, accommodation is still available via Original Cottages.

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