Beyond our welcome for tourists, holidaymakers and visitors, Somerleyton is a fully working estate, committed to the best practices of modern stewardship, land management and farming. We’re proud of our history, and taking care of the estate today is about preserving that legacy for future generations, from near and far.
A natural commitment
Over the past 10 years alone we have planted approximately 10,000 trees, over 8 kilometres of hedgerow as well as restored 6 ponds, a mile of the water edge habitat around Fritton Lake and created grazing meadows on former arable land as part of the government’s Countryside Stewardships Schemes. This process continues as we roll the entire estate into a higher tier of stewardship. One of the greatest successes of Somerleyton’s conservation policies has been the return of the otter as well as a huge increase in the number of local song birds including skylark. We have also seen the rise in numbers of grey partridge, barn owl, marsh harrier and lapwing.
Working with the local community
We renovate our properties using local suppliers and traditional techniques (lime mortar, render, paints) as well as natural materials for insulation and work surfaces. Wherever possible we also restore, rather than replace, period features such as timber frames, tile floors, fireplaces, doors and windows. Our team spend a great deal of time working with both Great Yarmouth and Waveney councils clearing up fly-tipped rubbish and litter from the roadsides which is endemic in rural areas close to towns throughout Britain and a serious blight to residents and tourism.
An energy efficient future
A huge estate has the potential to use a lot of energy, no question. That’s why in 2008, with the help of a specialist consultant, our teams audited our practices to ensure the best standards. Today we compost green matter, use eco-friendly packaging, recycle, save energy and monitor our power sources and vehicles as well as harvest rain water. Each of our tourism businesses joined the Green Tourism Business Scheme as a result.
Our commitment is ongoing, and we’re currently developing strategies to increase the estate’s power provision through woodchip boilers, optimising our water use and examining the possibly of growing our own fuel for the farm.
It is our aim over the next few years to use substantially more game, wild herbs and edible flowers in our kitchens, taking advantage of the most untapped source of food on the estate: wild food. Somerleyton is naturally abundant in deer and game as well as many wild foods often overlooked or forgotten. Somerleyton is home to Red Deer, Fallow Deer and Muntjac, pheasant, partridge, wild duck, woodcock, rabbit, hare, pigeon and eel. Wild garlic, bullaces, damsons, sloes, haw berries, blackberries, elderflower, mushrooms and even stinging nettles and pike all have their own valued placed in the kitchen.