The Elveden Estate comprises a mosaic of habitats of which arable land, forestry and shelterbelts and Breckland heathland are the major components.  The twelve heathlands cover around 3600 acres; the largest being the 1500 acres of Lakenheath Warren.

Each is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), principally due to their floristic composition, having a number of exceptional and specialist plants that have adapted to the dry, frost-prone Brecks climate and nutrient-poor sandy soils.  Speciality flora includes Breckland thyme and speedwell, Spanish catchfly and Perennial knawel.

The heaths also support a number of rare and specially-protected birds including Woodlark, Nightjar and Stone Curlew. The latter species also readily nests on the arable fields so, in order to best project the eggs and chicks from potential harm, the conservation team works very closely with the farms department and, under a special license, helps safeguard this iconic bird.

In addition to the SSSI management, the Estate has its own conservation group which helps monitor and advise us on many conservation matters such as the management of our 14 County Wildlife Sites, rare plant sites and targeted field margins.  Surveys are also carried out for farmland birds, reptiles, bats and barn owls with appropriate boxes being sited around the estate for the last two on the list.

In 2014 Elveden carried out further conservation enhancements including pond restorations and the construction of a bespoke 30 metre-long bat hibernaculum to help provide bats with a safe winter roost site.  We estimate that 3500 man hours, from January to August 2014, were spent on all sorts of conservation work including habitat management, species monitoring (including stone curlew, bats and reptiles) and heathland grazing on the estate.

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