Tyntesfield inspired Shaun

Rhiannon Southwell and Willow (c) National Trust - Barry Batchelor

Rhiannon Southwell and Willow (c) National Trust – Barry Batchelor

The rare china and porcelain among an assortment of 50,000 objects at Tyntesfield, has inspired a sculpture on this summer’s Shaun in the City charity sculpture trail. The collection is not only the largest of its kind within the National Trust, but has inspired designer Rhiannon Southwell, for her Aardman famed sculpture. Continue reading…

Step up to the South West Coast Path Challenge

Monty Halls by Tamsyn Halls

Monty Halls by Tamsyn Halls

School’s out for summer and thoughts turn to family days out beside the seaside. Instead of digging in the sand and jostling with millions of tourists on the region’s beaches, take a walk on the wild side and gear up for the South West Coast Path Challenge in October. The event, backed by TV adventurer Monty Halls, aims to set a new world record for the number of times the Coast Path can be covered in one month while raising funds to protect the coastline for future generations.

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Teign Spirits – an exhibition of large scale contemporary photographs in the landscape at Castle Drogo

Mike Smallcombe with one of his pictures on display at Castle Drogo

Mike Smallcombe with one of his pictures on display at Castle Drogo

As the huge 5-year building conservation project to save Castle Drogo continues, artists have been invited to create new contemporary artworks to respond to and interpret the project and the fascinating history of the site.

One of the creative partners working at Castle Drogo is the established photographer Mike Smallcombe. For the past year Mike has been gathering stories and images to create a series of ten large-scale photographs to display around the site.

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Making Knightshayes fit for the future

The south front of Knightshayes Court, with an imposing flight of steps leading up to the entrance.

For over 40 years, the National Trust has cared for Knightshayes, and has welcomed hundreds of thousands of people in their discovery of the Gothic mansion, its renowned gardens and acres of countryside and woodland.

More and more people are coming to Knightshayes year on year, delighting in its beautiful open spaces and enjoying some precious leisure time there- from learning to ride their first bikes to their daily dog walk. And this year the property will also be co-hosting the popular local agricultural event, the Mid Devon Show.

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Mystery of a burnt mound investigated by National Trust

Nancy Grace, National Trust archaeologist, examining a patch of burnt stone which is likely to be either a hearth or a kiln

A mysterious mound of burnt material, eroding out of a Dorset cliff near Seatown, is being investigated by archaeologists in the hope of better understanding the 3000 year old feature.

The mound, probably from the Bronze Age, was spotted eroding from the cliff face by local archaeologist Anthony Pasmore who alerted the National Trust. It is disappearing fast as the sea cuts into the soft sands and clays at the cliff edge. Continue reading…

Experiments in chemistry to discover Tyntesfield’s Victorian past

Bottle with handwritten label (c) National Trust

Bottle with handwritten label (c) National Trust

The mysterious and potentially dangerous contents of a Victorian medicine cabinet will be examined at Tyntesfield, near Bristol on 9 July. Dr Jenny Slaughter from Bristol University will be sampling the contents of the cabinet alongside student Isabel Wiltshire in a collaborative study between history and medicine. Continue reading…

 Thousands turn out to ‘toast the coast’

'toasting the coast' at Wembury

‘toasting the coast’ at Wembury

The sun came out and so did thousands of people to the biggest mass participation event the National Trust in the South West has ever organised.

The Big Beach Picnic yesterday (4 July) took place at 15 different locations across the South West.  From Wembury beach and even Paignton Green in Devon to Gunwalloe and Marazion beach in Cornwall to Weymouth and Brownsea Island in Dorset to Bossington and Brean Down beach in Somerset. There were events at some of our secret coves like Pentireglaze Haven, Polzeath and Portnadler, Looe in Cornwall to the big stretches of beach like Woolacombe and Studland- it was all about celebrating the uniqueness of our stunning beaches across the 300 miles of coastline that the National Trust cares for in the South West.

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Come and ‘toast the coast’ with us


Toast The Coast at the Big Beach PicnicIt’s less than seven days to go to the biggest mass participation event the National Trust in the South West has ever organised.

The Big Beach Picnic, taking place from 12 noon this Saturday (4 July), is happening at fifteen different locations across the South West.  From Polzeath and Towan beach in Cornwall to Woolacombe and Branscombe beach in Devon to Studland and Weymouth beach in Dorset to Bossington and Brean Down beach in Somerset.

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Retracing the past with new orchard

Tyntesfield Orchard (c) National Trust Peter Hall

Over the next five years Tyntesfield in Wraxall, near Bristol, will see in the region on 350 fruit trees planted as the estate seeks to reconnect with its rich food growing past.

Already well underway, this major conservation project will see staff, volunteers and visitors building tree guards and planting hedgerows, whilst also learning how to prune and care for the trees on the National Trust estate. The team will harvest a range of fruits, deliver workshops and produce cider, apple juice and other products.

Planting will be spread over the course of the project, with the first batch of trees already in place. The new orchard will be split into two sections, with five acres of heritage apples and six acres of cider and juice apples, set out in a traditional spacing framework. The heritage orchard will act as a gene bank for local Somerset and Bristol fruit varieties, such as Summer Stibbert and Poor Man’s Profit, which date back to the 1830s. The area will be managed using traditional methods providing excellent conservation benefits, with swathes of wildflowers, diverse habitats of dead wood and wild areas.

In the cider and juice area there will be a more linear approach to planting as yield and accessibility will be important, and this part of the orchard will be managed with the help of grazing sheep. The estate will be planting cider and juice varieties such as Yarlington Mill and Porters Perfection, which will be transformed into bottled drinks with the aim of them being available to buy from the Tyntesfield estate shop.

As the orchard project progresses, Bristol based schools, growing projects, city farms, and local residents will be able to get involved by learning skills in grafting, pruning and plant care, and by taking part in events and workshops.

Janine Connor, a Ranger at Tyntesfield said: ‘This exciting project will not only improve nature conservation and biodiversity, but will help us build relationships with local communities and eventually generate income for further conservation. We are looking to grow a mix of traditional and modern varieties of apple and pear, as well as plum, crab apple, medlars and quinces. The orchard is open to visitors to walk around, and is currently filled with beautiful wildflowers.’

Janine and the team at Tyntesfield are following in the footsteps of the estate’s Victorian owner Antony Gibbs who presided over 3000 acres of arable, pasture farmland and orchards. He built Home Farm, introduced cattle to the estate and pursued the latest developments in agricultural technology. Today the estate looks after 540 acres of gardens, woodland, parkland and arable, which are open to visitors 364 days a year.