This year, we are working on the following projects. Please visit our blog for the latest news, updates and progress from our teams involved in delivering these crucial projects.
PIONEERING ENVIRONMENTAL GAIN
- The Great Farm Project – a trial farm site to establish if sustainable food production and wildlife conservation can work efficiently and productively on the average UK farm. First year of baseline surveys of breeding birds, butterflies, hedgerows and SOYL analysis completed.
- 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. Our conservation team has undertaken farm surveys of birds and hedgerows for our tenants to identify areas in which they can improve their biodiversity. We are carrying out inspections of our tenant farms so that we can help advise them on more regenerative focused farming practises which will benefit wildlife as well as food production.
Enhancing the Environment
- 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, we have reduced the area mowed by eight acres and in turn, reduced our fossil fuel usage and saved time. New areas to leave across the Estate are being identified for 2022. In addition, a 2m circle of tall grass is left around the base of trees in Holkham Park.
- Wildflower areas – a new wildlife area was created outside the Walled Garden for visitors to explore and enjoy including bird boxes, habitat piles and bird feeders.
- Autumn bird trails on the Holkham National Nature Reserve – two new trails, the Bluetail trail and the Warbler trail, were cut into the reed bed to provide better opportunities for visitors to see and engage with our overwintering and migratory birds.
- Habitats and nest boxes – installed new nest boxes and habitat piles in the woodlands around our holiday cottages in Holkham Park to improve biodiversity.
CHAMPIONING LOW CARBON LIVING
Develop Science-led Solutions
- Baseline data – we completed our first ever carbon audits using the Carbon Trust and Agrecalc. These audits gave us figures on both the amount of carbon we emit and also the amount of carbon we sequester through woodland and soil. We are using this data to create our roadmap to being carbon negative by 2040. We are now working on 2020 and 2021 data.
- Blacksmiths Yard – biodiversity improvements were incorporated in this project with bat bricks installed in all chimneys on site and brickwork altered to include alcoves for swallows and swifts to nest.
- Castle Acre Housing Scheme – these properties include provision for electric car charging points with insulation, LED lights and low carbon heating included as standard.
Leaner, Greener Operations
- Catalyst Farming Project – in collaboration with four other farms, a data specialist has been employed to help reduce our use of artificial inputs as well as increase efficiencies of how we farm. More information can be found here.
- Cycling and Walking initiatives – we joined Good Journey which promotes visits using public transport and cycling to the Estate by providing discounts to those who arrive by these methods. Our team also have access to e-bikes to use around Holkham Park.
- Low carbon weddings – working with our couples and their 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
Minimise our Waste
- Food waste – the Victoria Inn now sends its food waste to an anaerobic digester to create energy.
- Sawdust project – we have installed a briquette machine in the joinery workshop which squashes sawdust to create briquettes which can be used to heat homes.
- Increased recycling rates – we have improved the “binfrastructure” (bins on site across the Estate) signage to help our customers separate their waste effectively. Teams across the Estate also segregate their waste better, reducing the contamination.
- Brown waste – we have increased the amount of waste which we compost by shredding material rather than burning it. Used coffee grounds from the cafes are used to grow mushrooms in at the Walled Garden.
Our Plastic Pledge
- Phasing out single use plastic in cafes – all of our cafes and food concessions on site use compostable, recyclable or biodegradable tableware including cups, sandwich wrappers, salad boxes etc. The only packaging which cannot be composted or recycled are crisp packets and ice cream wrappers.
- Phasing out single use plastic in shops – we have replaced plastic products with more natural alternatives in our Gift Shop at Pinewoods for example crab lines, toothbrushes and washing up cloths. We have also made changes in our Courtyard Gift Shop such as using paper tabs rather than plastic sleeves for our cards.
- Tree Guards – we are trialling the use of corn starch, wool and cardboard tree guards rather than using photodegradable plastic guards which break down over time due to sunlight. All our larger guards are used at least twice before being returned to the manufacturer for recycling.