Environmental sustainability

Historic houses were built to last - and they're helping the whole planet to weather the threat of climate change

Drumlanrig Castle flowers and bees

Manmade climate change and the degradation of our natural environment are the biggest long-term threats facing heritage, as well as society as a whole. Doing things in a sustainable way and planning for future generations are in the DNA of historic house custodians.

Our member places are already taking a lead in reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impact, and in preserving and restoring natural habitats. If given the right support, they could do more, and in 2021 we’re leading a major campaign, in the run-up to the UK’s hosting of COP 26 in Glasgow this autumn, to raise awareness of the leading role heritage can play in environmental sustainability.

We’ll be highlighting exciting and innovative examples of our member houses’ work in this area – from rewilding ancient estates and investing in renewable energy generation, to making reducing, reusing and recycling a core part of the visitor experience. We’ll also be calling on government to support heritage sites to become more environmentally sustainable through planning and regulatory reform alongside funding opportunities.

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Our Sustainability Policy Card

Find out more about our recommendations for a heritage-led green recovery

Tissington EV charging

Charge your EV when staying at Tissington Hall

The new Chair of the Tourist Board in the Peak District Sir Richard FitzHerbert is delighted with his new acquisition of an electric vehicle charger at the Grade II* property that has been in his family for over 400 years.

Somerleyton Hall biodiversity

A Dream for a Wilder East at Somerleyton Estate

The mission of WildEast is to transform East Anglia into one of the largest nature reserves in the world by returning 20% of its land – around 250,000 hectares - to nature in the next 50 years.

Repairing and restoring an historic roof

Building on the Past: Repair, Restoration and Reuse

Many historic houses are working hard to revive rural prosperity in their communities by restoring and repurposing their unused historic buildings. The ability to efficiently and sensitively adapt these buildings to new economically viable uses is vital to rural prosperity,...

Browsholme Hall overhead view by Edmund Parker

Planning for the Future at Browsholme Hall

This week we are going behind the scenes at Browsholme Hall in Lancashire, which since Tudor times has been the ancestral home of the Parkers, Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland.

Lessons from our Net Zero past

Lessons from our Net Zero Past

Despite being indispensable to us today, central heating and electricity are still relatively recent inventions. For most of history, and especially in rural areas, communities were self-sufficient and relied on local resources.

Hever Castle Orchard and Apple Tree

Three historic habitats providing homes for nature

Our history is embedded in our environment, and over the centuries many historic features have become important habitats for our British wildlife. Orchards, Barns and Dry Stone Walls are three of the most important of these.

Holkham Hall sustainability

WONDER – Holkham’s sustainability vision

Holkham’s vision is ‘to be the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate’. This vision recognises that we have a responsibility to protect and enhance our incredible buildings, collections, diverse landscapes and wildlife under our custodianship for future generations, and...

Deans Court

Sustainability at Deans Court

This ancient setting, including a walled garden, chalk stream, herb garden and orchard, now provides sustainably farmed organic food for their courtyard café.

Knepp Estate biodiversity and sunset

Remembering Sussex’s Wild Past at Knepp Estate

Knepp has embraced a theory of grazing ecology which uses free-roaming grazing animals to restore soils and reshape the landscape, creating complex and rich habitats for a wide range of native fauna and flora.

Caerhays Castle grounds and visitors

Sustainable sightseeing

Exploring innovative ways to minimise the impact of tourism on the environment has long been a key part of visitor operations for many attractions, and as sites prepare to reopen during the year of COP26 this focus on developing sustainable...

Brook Hall 18 Century Georgian Regency Villa

Delivering Renewable Energy in a Historic Landscape

Brook Hall is an elegant Regency villa on the banks of the river Foyle in Derry, Northern Ireland. The original house was the headquarters for King James’ Army during the famous Siege of Derry in 1689.

Windfarm sustainable energy

Powered by the Elements

Hydropower, wind power, solar and biomass are the four leading types of renewable energy today, but their histories can be traced back much farther than you might think. Read on to discover how four of our member houses are leading...

Muncaster Castle in Cumbria

Sustainable Energy at Muncaster Castle

Today, Muncaster Castle is a thriving tourism attraction and a centre of hawk and owl conservation, welcoming visitors from across the world. We spoke to Ewan Frost-Pennington, a member of the next generation at Muncaster, about his passion for sustainability...

Elmore Court

Embarking on a Rewilding Journey at Elmore Court

The land at Elmore Court was granted to my ancestor Anselm de Gyse in the mid 13th century when no doubt the landscape looked very different to what it does now; one can only imagine the abundance of wildlife there...

Historic House Magazine on coffee table

Our publications and the environment

Stewardship for future generations is a key tenet of historic house custodians. We care about our local and global environment. We’re are always striving to minimise our impact on nature. We’ve made big changes to our sourcing and use of...

Blenheim Palace in the mist

Sustainable Tourism at Blenheim Palace

In recent years, Blenheim has been making its mark as a leading light in sustainable tourism. With the aim of reaching a carbon negative status by 2025, Blenheim appointed a Sustainability Advisor in 2017, and has since introduced carbon friendly...

Claydon Courtyard

Claydon Courtyard: Sustainability

Home to the Verney family, Claydon Estate is a thriving, family-run country estate. Situated within Claydon Estate’s 18th century courtyard is the Phoenix Kitchen, their low-waste, sustainable eatery.

Deans Court grounds and trees

Deans Court’s Sustainability Promise to the Planet

Deans Court has been in our family for over 500 years, passed down through generations of our ancestors each proprietor has run our historic country estate in Dorset in their own way - combining their personality with the needs of...

Holkham Hall Lookout

Sustainable Heritage

Last week we paid a visit to the National Trust’s London office to join in The Tourism Alliance’s sustainable tourism seminar. The afternoon featured a diverse range of speakers from across the sector, who highlighted the key challenges climate change...

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