Land that was once part of the parkland surrounding historic Oxburgh Hall has been returned to the estate.
After being sold as farmland 70 years ago, 129 acres have now been taken on by the National Trust, who will be working in partnership with a local farmer to continue the tradition of farming in the area.
The land can be seen from the hall and was previously sold when Oxburgh Hall, once home to an estate of 3,563 acres, was auctioned in 1950 and the remaining land sold to a number of different buyers.
The historic home of the Bedingfeld family, the hall and gardens faced demolition in 1951, but were saved when Sybil, Lady Bedingfeld, her daughter Mrs Frances Playford, and niece Mrs Violet Hartcup raised enough funds to buy Oxburgh back before gifting it to the nation in 1952.
Taking on the land represents an investment of £1,065,000 by the National Trust, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of members and supporters and sees the estate partially restored to the time when it was owned and cared for by the Bedingfeld family.
Earlier this year, the National Trust announced ambitious plans to help reverse the decline in wildlife on all land in its ownership, including an aim to create 25,000 hectares of new habitats nationally by 2025.
The current practice of arable farming will continue on some of the Oxburgh land under an agreement with a local farmer, implementing sustainable farming practices for the benefit of nature and wildlife as well as food production.
Long-term plans for the future management of the land are still being drawn up.
Alex Lassoued, property operations manager for Oxburgh Hall said: “The chance to restore land back to an estate like Oxburgh rarely happens, so this was an unexpected but very welcome opportunity. Working with farming partners in the community means we are able to continue the tradition of farming here whilst also working to create habitats and safe spaces for nature to flourish and thrive.
“We’ll be looking for future opportunities to increase access across this part of the estate and it is only thanks to our members and supporters that we’re able to care for places like Oxburgh and ensure they are here for people to discover and explore for generations to come.”