As with all other areas of our work, we make every effort to maintain and enhance the environment in which we operate. We are conscious and proud that we manage a diverse collection of land and ecosystems in East Anglia and their protection and maintenance are of paramount importance to us.
The Estate covers approximately 2400Ha. Bordered to the South by the River Little Ouse, the Northern boundary is formed partly by the River Thet and partly by the A11. Eastern and Western boundaries are the Peddars Way (heritage walking route) and the town of Thetford itself.
Forming part of the Brecks, the soil is typically very light, being predominantly Grade 4 agricultural with small pockets of Grade 3. Despite this, the Estate offers a very diverse range of habitats. Running beside the two water courses are stretches of wetland pasture, there is a lake of 8Ha, deciduous, coniferous and mixed woodland, parkland, permanent pasture, heathland and arable land. Within the boundaries of the estate are 24 County Wildlife Sites, SSSIs, SPAs and a National Nature Reserve.
Since 1984 when the Estate changed hands it has always been a high priority to promote and maintain the vast biodiversity on offer. The whole area is sympathetically managed and with judicious control of predators in some areas used for game rearing, many of the more vulnerable species have been given a greater chance to thrive. The deer on the Estate are managed in house ensuring stable numbers and a healthy herd. In accordance with the Law, it is strict Company Policy that no birds of prey, or any other protected species of bird or mammal are harmed or disturbed. With the exception of high profile areas and commercial forest, all dead and fallen timber is left in situ and supports an enormous variety of invertebrates, fungi and is a real benefit to the ecosystem. To date there have been over 25,000 trees planted and more than 25km of hedges established. 13 Barn Owl boxes have been put up and the successful fledglings ringed.
As of writing there have been 127 species of birds recorded - 72 of which appear on current red or amber lists, and 36 mammals, reptiles and amphibians - 7 are on the red list. Of particular interest are our numbers of Stone Curlews (a rare relative of the Common Curlew) which enjoy population figures higher than the national average (last RSPB count 350 pairs) on Shadwell Estate Company land due to our rigorous protection of them.
Future plans include a butterfly survey and additional nest boxes.
In 2015 the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) visited Shadwell to a botanical report and survey. The result of the survey can be seen by downloading the document to the right of this page.
- All plastic is sent for recycling as is our scrap metal, paper and cardboard.
- Our waste remover guarantees zero land fill.
- Green houses are watered using rain water harvested from the glass house roofs.
- We always, where there is no compromise on quality and where product availability exists, use local suppliers.
- We have recently invested in rechargeable hand held mechanical implements, reducing emissions.
- Rainwater Harvesting is used for flushing Toilets & watering greenhouse plants.
- Solar Photovoltaic generation is used to supply power for the main office.
- Solar water heating for the Nunnery Hostel.
- Air Source Heat pumps heat water & provide underfloor heating for the flats & new houses on the Nunnery Stud.
- All new buildings incorporate high levels of insulation with the latest energy efficient heating & controls.
- Plant cuttings, leaves etc are recycled to make compost for our use around the gardens
- Movement sensors switch electric lights on & off in canteen areas.
- Low wattage LED streetlights, security lights & general lighting sensors are used around our sites.
- Horse bedding is collected by contractors & goes into commercial compost production.
- Vehicle wash water is recycled through a Bioplant and re-used.