Conservation on the Highclere Estate
Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England to deliver effective environmental management.
The Highclere Estate is in Entry Level Steward-ship schemes and Countryside Stewardship scheme.
Until the launch of Environmental Stewardship, Countryside Stewardship was the UK Government’s main scheme for the wider countryside, aiming to improve the natural beauty and diversity of the countryside, enhance, restore and re-create targeted landscapes, their wildlife habitats and historical features, and to improve opportunities for public access.
The Highclere Estate is very proud to record a considerable increase in its wild bird population. Lapwings have bred, skylarks can be heard throughout the chalk downlands, and the single pair of red kites seen some years ago have increased in number. Now, over 20 pairs can be seen circling overhead.
Pairs of stone curlews, a species with a critically low population, have also bred on the uncultivated land. Beetle banks provide an excellent diversity of habitat from small mammals to birds and insects, whilst the lowland pasture on Beacon Hill, for example, is a unique area with species-rich grass, wildflowers, beetles, insects and nesting birds. Some of the farming areas also encourage grey partridge, yellow wagtails and corn buntings.
You can also see ravens, owls, the ubiquitous magpies, woodpeckers, swallows, robins and many more.
Apart from birds, there are many small animals from hares to weasels, deer, muntjac, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, dormice, moles and voles, hedgehogs and shrews.
Traditionally, Highclere has been a mixed Estate and this has led to tremendous bio-diversity. The customary rotation of crops and winter grazing contribute to the rich environment to be found on the Estate.