'Pioneering' conservationist takes senior role at Holkham Estate

PUBLISHED: 17:06 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 29 August 2018

Conservationist Jake Fiennes has taken on a new senior role at the Holkham Estate.  Picture: James Bass

Conservationist Jake Fiennes has taken on a new senior role at the Holkham Estate. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

A "pioneering" conservationist is set to take over the management of the diverse landscapes and wildlife at the 25,000-acre Holkham Estate.

Jake Fiennes, who has been estate manager at the Raveningham Estate in south Norfolk for 24 years, said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to join Holkham’s senior team in a newly-created role of general manager, conservation.

As well as winning industry plaudits for the integrated wildlife farming system at Raveningham, Mr Fiennes holds a number of regional and national conservation posts.

He is a trustee and director for Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), East Anglia’s representative on the National Farmers’ Union’s environmental forum, a Norfolk committee member for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and a member of the steering group for Wildlife Estates, England.

At Holkham, he will spearhead wildlife programmes across the estate, such as the award-winning Grey Partridge scheme, and take direct responsibility for the management of Holkham National Nature Reserve.

And he will work closely with the estate’s gamekeepers who play a critical role in creating successful habitats for gamebirds, as well as songbirds, raptors, wildflowers, pollinators and invertebrates.

Estate owner the Earl of Leicester is also an advocate of integrating conservation “at estate scale” within the farming landscape in north Norfolk.

Lord Leicester, who also chairs the Norfolk branch of the CLA, said: “Conservation practices – what really works at landscape scale, how they fit within modern commercial farming and how they are recognised and supported by government – are all changing fast.

“I am keen to see Holkham take a leadership role in developing and proving how conservation-focused practices and a supportive approach from Defra can push up productivity and make a meaningful and sustained improvement to wildlife habitats.

“Jake Fiennes has been a pioneer in this journey and will bring his expertise and ambition to Holkham. I am delighted to see him join our team.”

Peter Mitchell, managing director at Holkham, said: “Holkham is justifiably proud of its track record in conservation, not just as evidenced by our approved-body status to run a National Nature Reserve, but for our approach to farming, gamekeeping, forestry, landscape management and for our wider sustainability policies in energy, recycling and visitor impact.

“Jake’s role will be to seek out and champion all the opportunities to raise our conservation practices and policies to the next level.”

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