Map shows climate change's threat to Norfolk's stately homes

The South Front at Blickling Estate, Norfolk. Blickling is a turreted red-brick Jacobean mansion, si

The South Front at Blickling Estate, Norfolk. Blickling is a turreted red-brick Jacobean mansion, sitting within beautiful gardens and parkland. - Credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

The National Trust has developed a map that illustrates the threat posed to some of Norfolk's most historic stately homes by climate change and what can be done to protect them.

From Blickling Hall's library which contains first editions of some of Jane Austen's most famous works to the gardens of Felbrigg Hall, many of Norfolk's historic homes are already feeling the effects of global warming.

A side by side comparison of National Trust maps showing how the country is expected to be affected by heat and humidity...

A side by side comparison of maps showing how the country is expected to be affected by heat and humidity in the next 40-years. The map to the left shows the current situation while the image to the right shows the worst-case scenario for 2060. - Credit: National Trust

In a bid to help protect its sites from the worst of the impact of increasingly erratic weather and rising temperatures the National Trust has created a map that uses existing data on climate change-related events to understand how, at a local scale, sites may be at risk extreme heat and humidity, flooding, landslides, coastal erosion, soil heave or high winds now and in the future.

Working to a worst-case model of no intervention on emission levels, the map is intended to be used as a “flagging tool” to highlight potential hazards.

A side by side comparison of maps showing how the country is expected to be affected by storm damage in the next 40-years

A side by side comparison of maps showing how the country is expected to be affected by storm damage in the next 40-years. The map to the left shows the current situation while the image to the right shows the worst-case scenario for 2060. - Credit: National Trust

In Norfolk, work is already being carried out to safeguard the county's famous stately homes.

A view down the Long Gallery, 123ft.in length at Blickling Hall, with the early C18th oval gate-leg

A view down the Long Gallery, 123ft.in length at Blickling Hall, with the early C18th oval gate-leg table, the Siena marble fireplace and the forte-piano by Joseph Kirkwood, 1829. - Credit: Nadia Mackenzie

At Blickling Hall, which is highly exposed to wind-driven rain, work is being done to ensure the 17th-century building's facade is watertight to protect its 12,500 volume library, which is the largest in the NT's care.


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Deathwatch beetle-infested timbers have been removed and replaced to improve the building’s integrity and help protect the collection from future heavy rainfall.

The double border in the Walled Garden at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk.

The double border in the Walled Garden at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk. - Credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

While a few miles away at Felbrigg Hall, the home's exotic gardens have thrived during increasingly hot and dry summers and are expected to continue to do so, in part to the head gardener's decision to introduce plants native to the Mediterranean, South Africa, Australia and the deserts of Mexico.

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Harry Bowell, National Trust director for land and nature,  said: “This map is a game-changer in how we face the threat climate change poses to the places we care for.

“While the data draws on a worst-case scenario, the map paints a stark picture of what we have to prepare for. But by acting now, and working with nature, we can adapt to many of these risks."


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