The management of land and property is the estate’s main activity. Over generations the estate has evolved in response to social, environmental and economic influences in order to secure Holkham as a sustainable place for people to live, work and visit. One only has to look through the archives to see that the built and natural environment around Holkham has changed dramatically over the centuries and it will continue to develop in the future. Change is rarely welcome, but no one has a greater interest in preserving the integrity of the landscape than those who live in it and who have been responsible for shaping it.
Fifty years ago the farm would have employed hundreds of agricultural workers but today’s farm requires a workforce of only thirteen people. Changes in agriculture and fishing have had a major impact on the rural economy which is now dominated by seasonal work in the tourism sector. North Norfolk has become a desirable location for second homes which now make up more than 70% of some villages. People are divorcing and living longer and the children of families who have lived here for generations can no longer afford to live near their parents. The estate projects aim to re-use redundant buildings, provide affordable houses, adopt renewable energy technologies and support the creation of jobs.