Holker Conservation - Holker Hall

Holker Conservation

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The Estate has a rich natural and built environment.  Many of the buildings and structures on the Estate are listed or designated Scheduled Ancient Monuments for their special importance.  In addition to this over one third of the Estate has some form of environmental designation, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, National Nature Reserves, local Nature Reserves and Limestone Preservation Orders.

The limestone outcrops around Old Park Wood support many rare plant species, including Squinancywort, Limestone Bedstraw, Green-Winged Orchid, Spring Cinquefoil and Lancastrian Whitebeam.  The woodland and surrounding farmland provides a habitat for many wild birds.  The Leven Estuary and nearby fishponds are a haven for wildfowl.

The Estate is working with national bodies to protect habitats and conserve wildlife, such as the native red squirrel.  This involves controlling grey squirrels using humane cage traps.

Much of the woodland is managed for coppice production which involves cutting the young trees to ground level to encourage vigorous re-growth and a sustainable supply of timber.  In previous centuries coppiced material was used in gun powder production and to fire the Lime Kilns in the locality. 

Today coppicing is carried out primarily to improve the biodiversity of the woodland and create habitats for wildlife.  Opening up woodland rides and creating open spaces encourages smaller native shrubs and flowers which benefit moths, butterflies and birds.  The coppiced material is now used to make craft products and charcoal using traditional charcoal burners.

The Estate runs a Deer Park and has one of the few ancient closed herds of fallow deer in the country.  The deer have been resident for over 200 years.  These are run partially for amenity but also as a commercial operation for venison.

In addition to the fallow deer there is a considerable wild deer population consisting mainly of roe deer and red deer.  The Estate undertakes positive management of the wild deer population through stalking and culling to ensure a sustainable population.

The Estate has a grouse moor at Kirkby Moor which is common land and a SSSI. The Estate is working with the commoners to put proper heather management practices in place, control bracken and reduce the problem of ticks with the objective of regenerating the moorland and reintroducing red grouse.