The National Trust outlines ambition to help restore Britain’s natural heritage

Large Blue Butterfly ©National Trust Images. Matthew Oates

The National Trust today outlined ambitious plans to help reverse the decline in wildlife on all land in its ownership – including an aim to create 25,000 hectares (at least 5000 in the South West) of new habitats by 2025.

As one of the country’s largest landowners, the Trust wants to play its part in addressing the dramatic slump in British species and improve soil quality and water quality in the countryside. An in-depth study of UK species last year found 56 per cent were in decline.

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Secret camera footage of otters show signs of recovery at Penrose

National Trust rangers and volunteers have recently placed secret cameras to capture the activity of a group of otters at Penrose on the Lizard. The conservation charity is now hoping that the camera footage will prove that the otter population is starting to make a return to the area.

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Joint statement on Highways England consultation on route options for A303 road improvement scheme

Highways England has put forward initial route options for a road improvement within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) which include a bored tunnel of at least 2.9km. These options for a potential scheme have been put to public consultation as one stage in an extensive process of pre-application engagement.

We believe that the proposals have the potential to deliver benefits for Stonehenge and its landscape, if sited and designed sensitively. Whilst the overall proposals are to be welcomed for the positive transformation which they could bring to the WHS, there are some aspects of what is currently presented in the consultation documents that will require significant improvement to ensure protection of the WHS. Continue reading…

Snowdrops at Kingston Lacy

Snowdrops flowering in the garden at Kingston Lacy Dorset ©National Trust / Images James Dobson

Kingston lacy, a National Trust estate near Wimborne, Dorset, is famous for its snowdrop display.  The snowdrop walk stretches through the 40-acre garden for one and a half miles.  Even without the cold weather needed to encourage the snowdrops to bloom the team are still expecting a good display throughout late January and February.

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Start of the public consultation on the Stonehenge/A303 tunnel scheme

Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust welcome Highways England’s public consultation on initial options to improve the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down, and the inclusion of a tunnel scheme of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Continue reading…

Preparing for a blooming New Year at Dyrham Park

Tulips in the borders at Dyrham Park in previous years ©National Trust

Staff and volunteers have spent the last fortnight on the mammoth task of planting more than fourteen thousand spring bulbs at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire.

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Freezing conditions and heavy rain haven’t deterred their efforts to get the hyacinths and tulips in the ground ahead of the Christmas break so they’re ready to bloom next spring from March to May. Continue reading…

£1m boost to Wellington Monument’s future in Autumn Statement

Wellington Monument Illuminated (c)NationalTrust/FranStothard

Wellington Monument Illuminated (c)NationalTrust/FranStothard

A £1 million grant has been awarded towards urgent repairs of the Wellington Monument by earlier today.
The money, announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond’s in his first Autumn Statement, comes from fines levied on the banking industry for manipulating the LIBOR rate. The government committed £102 million over the next 4 years to support good causes – with £1 million going to the repairs of the Wellington Monument.
Andy Semple, Assistant Director of Operations for the Trust in Somerset & Gloucestershire, explains: ‘This is an incredible start to our fundraising. We have been working hard over the past year to understand why the structure is deteriorating and to talk to local people about why it’s so important to them.
‘It will be 200 years next October since the foundation stone was laid and today’s news is hopefully an important step in safeguarding the Monument for the next 200 years for the benefit of the nation.’
Rebecca Pow MP says: ‘I am absolutely thrilled that the National Trust has been awarded £1 million of Libor funding for the restoration of our much loved Wellington Monument.
‘For over a year I have been working with the National Trust and the whole community on the campaign to restore the Monument and over the last week I have been stepping up the pressure.  I have personally stressed to both the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury the importance of this commemorative structure internationally, nationally and crucially locally making it clear just what it would  mean to see it restored to its full former glory.

L-R Helen Sharp, Rebecca Simon Larkins, Rebecca Pow

L-R Helen Sharp, Project Manager; Simon Larkins, General Manager and Rebecca Pow MP (C)Rebecca Pow

‘The awarding of these funds is testament to the hard work of the National Trust, the thousands of people who signed my parliamentary petition, the newly crowned local monument champions and everyone else who has shown support for the cause.’
This funding gives the project a huge boost. The next step is for the National Trust to submit their first round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in a couple of week’s time towards the £3million still needed to raise for the project to go ahead.
The Trust would like to thank Rebecca Pow as the Libor Funding was made possible through her support and commitment to the project.

Volunteers helped National Trust rangers in Dorset give the Cerne Giant its annual haircut

The Romano-British Cerne Giant, thought to be Hercules, carved in chalk in the hillside at Cerne Abbas in Dorset (c)National Trust Images

 

Mild, wet autumn weather has resulted in above-average grass growth on the hillside, near Dorchester, threatening to obscure the Giant.

Rob Rhodes, National Trust Countryside Manager for West Dorset, said: “Record grass growth meant that the Cerne Giant was looking a bit sorry for himself. The sheep that graze the hillside throughout the year needed a bit of help from our ten volunteers and five rangers.” Continue reading…