Ship shape and Tyntesfield fashion

Tyntesfield Woodland play 2 (c)National Trust - Peter Hall

An extensive new woodland play area, with a nautical theme, will be opened by the National Trust at Tyntesfield on 31 May.

A play trail already exists at the estate, but the new additions have been created in response to feedback from visitors, who have asked for more to explore in the woods.

Tyntesfield's new play area artists impression  (c) Touchwood

Tyntesfield’s new play area artists impression (c) Touchwood

There will be three new play structures, as well as additions made to two which already exist on a pathway leading up into the woods.

Catherine Coleman, Learning and Engagement Officer said, ‘The new one that I’m most excited about is the wooden ship. This was inspired by the guano trade that made the Gibbs family fortune.

‘Children will be able to pretend they’re sailing to South America to collect the valuable bird droppings, test their balance on the anchor chain and hide woodland treasure in a chest.’

Tyntesfield Construction of woodland play area 1 (c)National Trust - Peter Hall

Tyntesfield Construction of woodland play area 1 (c)National Trust – Peter Hall

During the launch day there will be a BBQ and Victorian sailors on hand to explore what life in the Navy would’ve been like in the 1800’s, as well as putting young sea farers through their paces with cannon drills.

The new woodland play area at Tyntesfield opens on 31 May, normal admission applies. For more information please see:


The National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust explore Portraits after Hans Holbein the Younger

Jane Seymour (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

The new ‘Copying Holbein’ exhibition is now on show in the Long Gallery at Montacute House. Featuring portraits from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery and National Trust, the display brings together a selection of surviving copies of portraits by German painter Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543).

Many of the most prominent figures in Henry VIII’s court had their portrait painted by Holbein. The combination of the renowned sitters and Holbein’s skill as a portraitist meant the images were much prized. As a result, a lively market for copies of the portraits developed in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Richard Southwell (c)National Portrait Gallery, London

Richard Southwell (c)National Portrait Gallery, London

Drawing on the National Portrait Gallery’s Making Art in Tudor Britain project, students studying for their Masters degrees in the History of Art at the University of Bristol carried out research into the portraits selected for the exhibition. This included interpreting the results of new technical analysis undertaken on a portrait of Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII. X-ray and infrared investigations into this painting made some fascinating discoveries about its composition, which help us understand how artists went about copying and show how they worked in a variety of ways to achieve the required effects.

Jane Seymour (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Jane Seymour (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Sonja Power, House and Collections Manager at Montacute House, said: “It’s wonderful to have the Holbein copies here, especially the ones of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More with their ties to the popular BBC drama ‘Wolf Hall’ which was filmed here last year.

Thomas Cromwell (c)National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cromwell (c)National Portrait Gallery, London

“When putting the display together we asked all sorts of questions of the paintings – how and why they were produced? We were also very eager to know why there has been such interest in collecting work inspired by Holbein from his own time to the present.“

Charlotte Bolland, Collections Curator 16th Century at the National Portrait Gallery, says: “The Gallery’s partnership with the National Trust at Montacute offers the opportunity to see Tudor portraits in a setting similar to that for which they would originally have been commissioned.  Working collaboratively on this new exhibition allowed us to learn more about the portraits in both collections and to enhance our understanding of artistic practice in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.”

‘Copying Holbein’ runs at Montacute House until November 2017. For opening times visit

Capability Brown 300 anniversary month at Prior Park – June 2016

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset.

A celebration of the 300th anniversary of landscape gardener Capability Brown, is being held at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath.

The National Trust, which cares for Prior Park, is taking part in the national celebrations for the tercentenary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a series of events, classes and workshops throughout June.

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Dormice discovery at Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield Close up of dormouse being held by volunteer Gill Brown (c) National Trust

Endangered dormice have been discovered at Tyntesfield, near Bristol, for the first time by National Trust rangers and volunteers.

The team have been surveying and monitoring wildlife on the estate for many years, including, bats, newts and birds, but have recently extended their work to include dormice.

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Dressing Mrs Dunch at Avebury Manor

Avebury Dressing Mrs Dunch ©National Trust Abby George

A replica Tudor gown, delicately made by a group of National Trust volunteers, will be fitted to a live model this weekend, to show the complexity of Tudor dresses.

This Saturday, 21 May 2016, Cathrien van Hak, the house manager at National Trust Avebury Manor will be taking some time out from her usual duties to pose as Mary Dunch, a 16th century resident of Avebury Manor.

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‘The South West has so much to offer for the outdoor fanatic of today’

Monty Halls

Monty Halls

The South West is a mecca for outdoor sport and adventure.  For the first time the South West Outdoor Festival brings them together in one unique place – at Heddon Valley – Exmoor’s secret valley .

The festival is being supported by numerous legends of the outdoor world who either hail from the region originally, or have gravitated here because of the wealth of exciting adventure opportunities that exist in the area.

Among them is Dartmouth-based TV presenter Monty Halls, who will be attending the festival as a speaker, film maker and self-confessed outdoor addict.

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New EP captures sounds of Marconi’s Lizard

TRUDD169_300ppiA new four-track EP ‘Marconi and the Lizard’ by musician and producer Joe Acheson is being released today following a week-long National Trust sound residency on the Lizard staying in the aptly named Wireless Cottage, in Cornwall in August 2015.

The first-ever Trust sound residency, which was based at the hut where Guglielmo Marconi broadcast the ship-to-shore radio transmission on the beautiful south Cornish coast, was part of the ‘Sounds of our Shores’ project that ran during the summer of 2015.

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