Conservation Partnerships: West Lexham
West Lexham was historically part of the Holkham estate, a very large estate that is still the home of the Coke family and the Earls of Leicester. Holkham is best known as the home of the agriculturalist reformer Thomas Coke, for its magnificent Palladian Hall and for its wide expanse of beach which Gwyneth Paltrow walked across in the closing sequences of the film 'Shakespeare in Love'.
The West Lexham part of the Holkham estate was adapted by Thomas Coke when he ordered a lake to be hand dug to create water meadows. This feature is retained to this day alongside the River Nar, one of only around 200 chalk streams left worldwide. The system of waterways and ponds which have been retained offer some extremely valuable habitats for many freshwater species, contributing to its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The manor house is the centrepiece of West Lexham, sensitively restored with sustainability and inspiration in mind. It is a work of passion and is crafted out of the heritage buildings that are the legacy of over 1,000 years of farming and stewardship of nature. The house is 90% run on renewables with solar panels for power and a woodchip boiler for heat. Water comes fresh from the chalk aquifer.
Wild Days Conservation are working with West Lexham and the government agency Natural England to carry out habitat restoration and improvement works on the wetlands and watercourses. By basing all our North Norfolk wildlife conservation and research holidays here in West Lexham's wonderfully converted buildings, we are also able to support the estate's work further.