Stately home parkland to return to the 19th century

Moat work at Oxburgh Hall in the 19th century.

Moat work at Oxburgh Hall in the 19th century. - Credit: National Trust

Historic Norfolk parkland will be returned to the Victorian era as restoration work worth £190,000 begins.

The National Trust will piece back together the landscape at Oxburgh Hall near Stoke Ferry in a project which will take a decade to complete.

Restorers will use a Victorian survey map and aerial photographs taken by the Royal Air Force after the Second World War to ensure the parkland is faithful to its heritage.

An Ordinance Survey map from 1904

An Ordinance Survey map from 1904 - Credit: National Trust

Area ranger Tom Day, overseeing the project, said: "We’re really excited to get started.

"This area of the Grade II-listed historic parkland can be seen from the hall and until a few years ago, was the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle.


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"You can see from old maps, the landscape once looked very different to what it does today."

How the newly restored parkland at Oxburgh may look in the future. Credit National Trust

How the newly restored parkland at Oxburgh may look in the future. Credit National Trust - Credit: National Trust

The project will see 227 trees planted, making the project one of the most ambitious the conservation charity has created.

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In the winter, the first 150 trees will be planted according to the original design using satellite positioning.

The trust will also be recreating ponds and planting areas of scrub to create a habitat more resilient to climate change.

Three gamekeepers in the Oxburgh Hall courtyard in 1890.

Three gamekeepers in the Oxburgh Hall courtyard in 1890. - Credit: National Trust

A wide range of wildlife is set to benefit from the work including insects, woodland birds and bats, as well as native breeds of cattle and occasionally sheep.

Parkland has been in decline since the 1950s due to the repurposing of land to help feed the nation after the Second World War. 

Area of land to be planted with wood pasture. Credit National Trust

Area of land to be planted with wood pasture. Credit National Trust - Credit: National Trust

Russell Clement, general manager at Oxburgh Hall, said: “This project will root Oxburgh Hall back in the landscape once more, as well as creating habitats for nature to flourish and thrive. 

"We’ll also be opening up access to visitors so they can explore the wider estate, and offer people chances to get involved with the work.

“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.”

The project is being funded thanks to the Natural England countryside stewardship scheme, Historic England and National Trust members and supporters. 

Ditch reprofiling at Oxburgh Hall

Ditch reprofiling at Oxburgh Hall with the aim of holding the water for longer, to create a better environment for wildlife. Credit National Trust. - Credit: National Trust

Fencing is underway at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk - part of the parkland restoration project. Credit National Trust

Fencing is underway at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk - part of the parkland restoration project. Credit National Trust - Credit: National Trust


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