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.

Minchinhampton Common

Minchinhampton Common, Gloucestershire. (C)National Trust Images/David Noton.

Minchinhampton Common, Gloucestershire. (C)National Trust Images/David Noton.

The National Trust has introduced licencing for events and activities on its land in Gloucestershire. This will allow all commercial operators and charities who wish to use our land to be reassured they have the correct legal permissions for their events. As part of this we did licence a walk held in aid of Longfield. Continue reading…

Fingle Woods on track thanks to Granite and Gears investment

picture credit: WTML/Paul Moody

picture credit: WTML/Paul Moody

Visitors to Fingle Woods are now able to make use of a new 6km cycle track through the woods thanks to a £128,000 investment from Devon County Council and Dartmoor National Park Authority (NPA).

The track, constructed by Tim Cox Services, is the first of many improvements to the visitor infrastructure from the Woodland Trust and National Trust, which jointly maintain the 825 acre site in the Teign Valley.

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Cornish coast puts on summer show

Lucy Parkins strolls through West Pentire wild flower meadow

Lucy Parkins strolls through West Pentire wild flower meadow

Weasel’s snout, Venus’s looking glass, small-flowered catchfly…as summer unfolds one of the south west’s rarest natural spectacles comes into its own along the north Cornish coast.

Carefully managed for nature and people by the National Trust, the West Pentire arable fields near Newquay are exploding in a riot of red poppies and yellow corn marigolds – but also creating a much-needed haven for some of the most endangered wild flowers in the country.

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7 questions coast tag, what did people say?

The view from Wembury Point, near Plymouth, Devon with the Great Mew Stone in the distance

It’s been 1 month since we challenged people to join in with #coasttag with the 7 coast questions blog post and we’ve loved watching the responses come in. Here’s a quick tour of some of our favourite answers.

  • Beach Muser’s favourite beach is Porthminster Beach in St Ives.
  • Suzy Pelta loves the sea, dipping toes in and chasing waves.
  • Wild Running let us in to why sand is their preference over sea – the wonderful firm bit at the water’s edge that’s great for a barefooted run.
  • Escape to the Westcountry revealed her favourite place is The South Hams in Devon.
  • Adrian Colston shared his favourite beach, Crackington Haven.
  • Nick Waddington told us his favourite memories is of ‘wombling’ in the sand dunes at Sables D’or Les Pins, Brittany.
  • Everywhere You Look enjoys fish and chips topped off with tartare sauce when by the coast.
  • I love SW coast favourite ice cream flavour is honeycomb and vanilla.

Fancy joining in? Take a look at the original questions and get tagging people in. Tweet us @NTSouthWest with your coast facts.

Come to a Big Beach Picnic on the 4th July

bigpicnic3There’s nothing quite like a great British picnic by the sea. We all have fond childhood memories of days out at the seaside; that heady combination of sun, sand and sea along with a dollop of ice-cream sandy sandwiches and hours of endless fun.

What better way to celebrate 50 years of public support for protecting our precious coastline, than by attending one of the Big Beach Picnic’s taking place in the South West on Saturday 4th July 2015. A highlight of our 2015 South West Coastal Festival programme, at this free event, we want as many people as possible to join in our Big Beach Picnic’s and the celebrations across the South West.

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