Habitat protection and creation are pivotal to all conservation work carried out at Elmswell. The Driffield Beck headwaters rise on the farm, providing the most northerly chalk stream in England. The beck is home to the Driffield Anglers, the second oldest fishing club in England, having been established in 1833. Almost all of the headwaters are contained within a Site of Special Scientific Interest on Elmswell and much has been done, and is being done to improve both the biodiversity and water quality of the area. Not only wildlife is benefiting, but also the millions of customers who rely on the river for water.
In recent years 12 hectares of arable land has been taken out of production and reverted to grassland adjacent to the SSSI and these areas are now managed very sympathetically. All fields are bounded by 6 metre grass margins, in total covering an area of 37 hectares and providing 48 miles of wildlife corridors adjacent to 28 miles of hedgerows. In turn the hedgerows are sympathetically managed, only being cut every second or third year. Some hedgerows have been coppiced, others gapped up and some are entirely new plantings. The farm was in a Countryside Stewardship Scheme for ten years and is now in the second year of a combined Entry Level and Higher Level Scheme. Under this scheme 2 hectares of Pollen and Nectar mixes are planted every year along with 7 hectares of Wild Bird Cover.