BBC Antiques Roadshow coming to Barrington Court – 18 September

Fiona Bruce – BBC Antiques Roadshow ©BBC

Fiona Bruce – BBC Antiques Roadshow ©BBC

A chandelier found in Hitler’s bunker, a tie-pin possibly connected to Lord Nelson and a Staffordshire creamware pot that sat on top of a wardrobe for 25 years, yet was worth £14,300…just some of the Antiques Roadshow discoveries made so far.

The show’s back on the road and coming to Barrington Court in Somerset on Thursday 18 September. Entrance to the Roadshow is free, and it’s open from 9.30am to 4.30pm.So take a peek in the attic, look in the garage or think again about that piece on the sideboard inherited from granny.

Presenter Fiona Bruce, now in her seventh year with the Roadshow, said: “Every episode is different – a new location and thousands of new visitors. The only constant is the pleasure of the unexpected – we never know what will turn up, from a dazzling Russian Fabergé egg to an ancient Maori feather holder.” Continue reading…

Autumn colour is a natural tonic to beating the winter blues

red squirrel at Brownsea Island

red squirrel at Brownsea Island

New research from the National Trust has found that the kaleidoscope of natural colours experienced on an autumn walk makes 87% of people in the South West feel happier, healthier and calmer.  More than 40% admit to feeling down as the nights draw in.

The conservation charity released the findings as part of its Great British Walk 2014, which launched this week with an invitation to enjoy a rainbow of walks. Shades of blue you find on walks by water or when the landscape is coloured by the evening’s darkening sky were found to help soothe away stress by 38% of people in the South West, while the greens of hilltops and pine woodlands leave 51% of people in the South West feeling more connected with the natural world.

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Competitors getting ready for the 12th World Bellyboarding Championships

Competitors getting ready for the World Bellyboarding Champs picture by Alexa Pope

Competitors getting ready for the World Bellyboarding Champs picture by Alexa Pope

Excitement is building at the spiritual home of the World Bellyboarding Championships at Chapel Porth, St Agnes in Cornwall.  Organised and hosted by the National Trust, Chapel Porth is the venue for the 12th annual vintage event which takes place this Sunday 7th September, and entry numbers are as ever in their hundreds.

The heather clad valley of Chapel Porth with its stunning beach and World Heritage mine buildings has been in National Trust ownership since 1957. The wooden boards that are ridden proudly prone towards the shore 50 years ago are as popular today and the introduction of wetsuit technology has largely been ignored.

Nick Holden, National Trust ranger and Bellyboard champ Director says ‘Chapel Port is just a brilliant amphitheatre to showcase this event. We strive to manage the area so it has remained largely unchanged in over 50 years. The gathering of bellyboard enthusiasts in vintage swimwear creates an atmosphere of timeless nostalgia”

The vintage theme has grown over the years and, as well as crowning a World Champion, prizes are awarded for the wooden boards themselves and the best swimwear.

For more information, a history of bellyboarding and a taste of what to expect, visit

South West producers walk away with top Fine Farm Produce Awards including coveted ‘Overall Food Winner’

Neil & Sally Grigg - Burrow Farm - Red Ruby Devon Beef

Neil & Sally Grigg – Burrow Farm – Red Ruby Devon Beef

Neil and Sally Grigg’s Ruby Red Devon beef from Burrow Farm on the Killerton estate nr Exeter, has earned them the top title of ‘Overall Food Winner’ in the coveted Fine Farm Produce Awards, presented at Tyntesfield near Bristol today (2 September).

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Roman mosaic unearthed at Chedworth

Archaeologist unearths Roman mosaic at live dig


During a live dig at Chedworth Roman Villa this week a team of National Trust archaeologists have unearthed Roman mosaics which haven’t been seen for at least 150 years.

 The new archaeological excavations of the North Wing at Chedworth Roman Villa are surprising and delighting not just the visitors but the archaeologists themselves, as this new mosaic of a grand Roman reception room has just been discovered, which no-one knew existed. Visitors can watch the live dig, and view these new mosaics until Friday 29 August – and yet more exciting discoveries could still be made. Continue reading…

Well-trained Dyrham pears go up the wall

Black Worcester pears on Dyrham stable wall copyright NT Beth Taylor

Most people associate pears with growing on trees, but for the first time at Dyrham Park near  Bath gardeners are seeing the autumn fruit growing up the stable wall.

After years of training, the pears appear more like vines and have been proving quite the talking point at the National Trust park, garden and house. These pears, which can be seen all along the stable wall between the tea-room and the seventeenth century mansion house, are dark-coloured, traditional-shaped Black Worcesters, but Dyrham Park also has many other native pears. Continue reading…

Baking on a roll at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

Jenny Freeman baking at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

Jenny Freeman baking at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

The Great British Bake Off has nothing on the bread, rolls and cakes at the Edgcumbe tea-room on Cotehele Quay.

‘I may be biased, but I think our baked goods are especially delicious,’ says Vanessa Channings, Edgcumbe Co-Supervisor at the National Trust property near Saltash. ‘That’s thanks to our head baker, Jenny Freeman. In my mind, Jenny IS the Edgcumbe. Customers love her. One couple have been coming for Jenny’s cakes every Sunday for years. He has lemon drizzle and she has coffee cake.’

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Remembering Boscastle

A decade ago the picturesque Cornish village of Boscastle was almost destroyed by a devastating flash flood which swept through the valley.  Ian Kemp, General Manager for the National Trust in North Cornwall shared with us his memories of that dramatic time.

“Ten years ago my job took me to Boscastle only once every ten days or so. August 16th 2004 just happened to be one of those days!

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Chedworth ‘time team’ digs deep

This summer, follow the live action as National Trust’s very own ‘time team’ of archaeologists and volunteers painstakingly work away to uncover hidden Roman mosaics and other treasures in the North Wing of Chedworth Roman Villa.Chedworth Live dig

Over two weeks, from 18-29 August, the team is hoping to answer questions about the layout of the rooms as buried walls come to light, and maybe even uncover some hidden mosaics. As they dig, they’ll also be looking for fragments of pottery and other ancient artifacts.

From an elevated platform, visitors can follow the team’s every move as they toil away in the trenches below – and also ask them questions on the spot. This is the second year of a 5-year project to explore the North Wing. Last year just a few tantalizing strips of mosaics were exposed, so hopes are high for many more finds this summer. Continue reading…