Heritage partners respond to report on proposed Stonehenge tunnel

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and its heritage advisors ICOMOS International, have published a report on the Government’s developing plans for a major upgrade of the A303 which cuts across the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS).

The early plans, which went to a first round of public consultation earlier this year, include proposals for the construction of a tunnel of at least 2.9km in order to remove much of the damaging A303 from the WHS.

In a joint statement, the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic England said: 

“We’re disappointed that the ICOMOS report largely ignores both the benefits of removing a large stretch of the A303 and the danger of doing nothing at all.

“The A303 cuts through the heart of the Stonehenge world heritage site, splitting it in two and causing damage to this ancient landscape, pollution and delays for thousands caught up in the traffic jams that have blighted the area for decades. With traffic set to increase, maintaining the status quo is not an option for anyone who cares about the heritage and history of this unique site.

“We believe that if well-designed and sited with the utmost care for the surrounding archaeology and chalk grassland landscape, the tunnel proposal presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide a setting worthy of some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments and will bring huge benefits in terms of public access, nature conservation and protecting the nation’s heritage.

“The report rightly points out that further work is needed on the proposals. Our three organisations are champions for this remarkable site and we want to reach the best possible outcome for it. We have challenged aspects of the scheme which we have concerns about and we have called for the proposed routes at the last consultation to be significantly improved. We also recognise there are others in the heritage community who could make a valuable contribution and welcome the recommendation of setting up a scientific committee as soon as possible to bring this expertise together.

 

Andrew Logan sculpture comes to Buckland Abbey

The Art of Reflection 1 July 2017 – February 2018

An exhibition of contemporary art by the renowned sculptor Andrew Logan will open on

The Art of Reflection, Andrew Logan at Buckland Abbey interprets the history and spirit of the abbey in 18 Logan sculptures, placed in 13 selected locations throughout the house and gardens, including the Great Barn, Kitchen Garden and the historic Cart Pond. The exhibition, one of the largest ever staged by the National Trust in collaboration with one artist, is curated jointly by Buckland Abbey and Andrew Logan, with work selected from five decades of the artist’s career.

Continue reading…

Discover countryside in the city this spring with a new National Trust guidebook

Bath Skyline - A view over Bath and the Priory path, Prior Park (c)National Trust/James Dobson.

This May, the National Trust hopes to get Bath residents and visitors exploring the Bath countryside with their new guidebook to the Skyline.

The fully-illustrated guidebook (RRP £6.99) contains three circular walking routes and a foreword by former Bath resident and celebrity baker Mary Berry.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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…

Enchanting new christmas experience launches at Saltram

The team at Saltram are spending the next few days putting the finishing touches on their biggest and most enchanting Christmas yet.  The eighteenth century house and garden will be bringing to life fairy tales through the ages whilst also adding a new ‘must see’ for visitors, the illuminated garden. The historic garden will be awash with a glow as an evening walking trail is lit up with a rainbow of colours. Continue reading…