Holnicote Estate makes up 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) of Exmoor National Park. It is a contrasting landscape with everything from wild, rugged moorland and shingle beaches to ancient woodland and charming thatched villages.
The Estate is home to more than 2,000 veteran trees contributing to the 800 hectares of woodland. Visitors can explore Horner Wood, a magical place with mosses, ferns and lichens carpeting ancient oaks. In the woods there is an impressive oak tree over 500 years old, as well as a variety of wildlife living amongst these magnificent trees.
Horner Wood is traditionally grazed by sheep and Red deer. Exmoor supports the strongest sub-population of Red deer in England, with over 300 Red deer living on the Holnicote Estate. By eating the young shrubs, they keep the woodland light and airy, ensuring that rare lichens on the ancient trees are not shaded out.
Exmoor ponies also graze the moorland. Their constant nibbling is the natural version of a lawn mower. It is a vital part of maintaining the open, wild landscape of the moors. Without it, the land would revert back to scrub and woodland.
The National Trust is working to reduce the threat of floods in the region, by reducing the vulnerability of natural ecosystems and man-made structures. It is managing flooding by understanding catchment hydrological systems and working with nature, using trees, earthen banks and drainage techniques to slow floodwaters that would otherwise race down the River Aller, threatening homes downstream. Careful land management can alleviate flood risk at the same time as improving the wider environment in the area.
Sustainability actions: Biodiversity conservation, Education