The Cosmic Egg by Andrew Logan on display at National Trust’s Buckland Abbey

From the 19 February to 23 September 2018 visitors to Buckland Abbey in Devon will find something unexpected in the Great Barn this year. Sitting in the middle of the floor will be an enormous, glittering egg, created by sculptor and artist, Andrew Logan.

The monumental sculpture, which will be on display in the historic barn until September, is four meters high and was commissioned by the Greater London Council for Peace Year in 1983. Usually on display at the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture in Wales the Cosmic Egg this is a rare chance for locals to Buckland Abbey to see this beautiful piece. The egg reflects themes of spring rebirth and of course Easter. As a focus for reflection it also seems right to host the Cosmic Egg in a place chosen over 700 years ago by Cistercian monks as perfect for prayer and contemplation.

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Ewe has five times the charm this Easter

Flora and Verity Sharpe with Arlington's quintuplets

Flora and Verity Sharpe with Arlington’s quintuplets

The team at Arlington Court have just welcome five new lambs to their flock – all from the same ewe.

National Trust Ranger, Murray Sharpe says, “This is the first time in the 15 years I have worked at Arlington that one of our ewes has had five lambs. Despite the eighteen hour days, I always enjoy lambing, but this year it was a real joy to have five healthy lambs born at once.”

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Be a coastal ‘Eggsplorer’ with the National Trust this Easter

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It’s almost that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Trails (3-6 April).

This year as part of the South West Coastal Festival, ‘Eggsplorer’s will be able to unleash their inner coastal explorer with adventurous trails taking place at eight coast locations in the South West, as well as Easter trails at our historic houses, gardens and castles.

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Cadbury’s announce kids’ favourite explorers

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Kids in the South West have voted Bear Grylls and Sir David Attenborough their all-time favourite explorers.

The research, which was conducted by Cadbury to celebrate this year’s ‘eggsplorer’ theme of their annual Easter Egg Trails with the National Trust, saw contemporary explorers Bear Grylls and Helen Skelton poll even higher than famous explorers, Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake, who missed out on a spot in the top three. Continue reading…

A warm new café at Tyntesfield – with added pirates for Easter

Families will find more than usual to keep them entertained at Tyntesfield this Easter with a new café area and pirate-themed events taking place.

(c) National Trust / SWNS

Families having fun in the new Cow Barn Café which has just opened at Tyntesfield, near Bristol

And to keep warm over a chilly Easter, hot chocolate will be on sale and a wood burning stove will be lit at the Pavilion, near the on-going restoration of the Orangery.

Inspired by a much-loved copy of Treasure Island in the Tyntesfield library and the Gibbs’ family love of parties and family events, the National Trust has organised a fortnight of Easter pirate trails and events.

The new Cow Barn Café is part of changes to the Home Farm visitor centre, designed with families in mind to make it easier to drop in for a coffee without joining the restaurant queue, a new family corner in the café and better access between the café and National Trust shop.

The plant sales area is also being moved closer to the main visitor reception and shop and extra tables are being set up in the courtyard.

The changes are all part of continued development at the new Home Farm visitor centre at Tyntesfield which opened two years ago. The National Trust commercial support manager, Holly Bassett, explained that the changes came after listening to what visitors wanted from Home Farm.

“We are getting more families visiting us, and indeed more visitors generally as people discover what the Tyntesfield estate has to offer for a day out. So, we created this new warm corner for the café and with a little help from some Easter pirates, we’re making things a little brighter, easier and fun in the café, restaurant and shops.”

“We know that family fun and dressing up are no strangers to this Victorian estate – it is just the type of things that the Gibbs family loved do here, hosting parties and fetes and lots of fun activities. We’re inviting our visitors to come along and be part of that.”

The Easter Pirate trails, are being run every day over the Easter fortnight until 7 April.  Trails cost £2.50 each with a chocolate prize. Normal garden admission applies.

Easter pirate trail is available everyday from the Saturday 23rd March to Sunday 3rd April. More fun and extra information is on www.eastereggtrail.com with information n all the Cadbury and National Trust Easter Egg trails, along with tips on how to make the most of the Easter weekend at home.

‘If you want to have some fun this Easter, get ship shape and sail over to Tyntesfield for trails and treasure, bangs and brigands but beware if ye don’t swab the deck proper we’ll make you walk the plank .’ said Long Jon Ducker, Tyntesfields Visitor Services Manager

Pirate schools will be on Saturday 30th March and Sunday 31st March. Each school last 1 hour and costs £5 per child cost £5 per child plus normal admission charge.   Ages 5 plus. Children must be accompanied. Booking is essential.

Dunster Crypt’s ghostly experience

Dunster Castle Crypt narrated by Clive Swift

Stories of haunted Dunster Castle have always spooked even the greatest of cynics, now a new exhibition at the castle aims to give substance to the ghosts as well as an extra dimension to the castle’s history and wildlife.

The Dunster Castle Crypt experience is a new feature for the castle this year, brought to life by the voice of actor Clive Swift – famous for his role as Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances. The crypt adds to the indoor attractions in the castle just in time for the inclement Easter weather.

Dunster Castle Crypt narrated by Clive Swift
Dunster Castle Crypt narrated by Clive Swift

‘We have so many stories of ghosts and encounters here in Dunster from staff, volunteers and visitors that we thought they deserved a room in the Crypt being given over to telling some of their tales,’ explainedStephen Hayes, Dunster Castle’s property administrator.

‘Clive is a great actor and reads the story of the ghosts in the castle really well and visitors love sitting in the chairs listening to the individual stories while sounds of dripping water echo in the distance.’ We are displaying ghostly photographs sent in by our visitors not to mention a shadow theatre and a special torch that reveals the Castle’s haunted hotspots.

Dunster Castle Crypt narrated by Clive Swift

Dunster Castle Crypt narrated by Clive Swift

The crypt entrance has been set up as it might have been in 1910, when Dunster was in its hey day. Visitors enter through an area which was used as the good entrance for the castle, piled high with barrels and crates of everything a big country house and its owners, the Luttrells, would need for entertaining guests while sounds from the kitchen echo down form the floor above.

In the next room the ghost stories of the castle are told. Legend has it that a Royalist soldier and a grey lady wander the rooms and passageways ofDunsterCastle. The ghost of a Royalist soldier has been seen many times in the leather gallery since the Civil War and the grey lady was seen on the stairs by guests of the Luttrell family – and more recently by visitors. Among the fleeting shadows in other dark rooms, there are echoing sounds of strange shuffling and dripping water.

As Clive Swift advises visitors during his narration: ‘By all means do explore – but explore with care.

Stephen added: ‘Until now the crypt rooms have been empty, so the aim of the project was to create an atmosphere of discovery and intrigue for visitors while they uncover some of the roles of the castle’s ancient and more recent residents. We have even set up an archive room where the history of the castle is played out on a video screen.’

The final room is dedicated to the castle’s bats, with a live video link to the roost in a closed off turret in Tenants’ Hall, where up to 60 rare Lesser Horseshoe bats spend the summer. An interactive exhibition exposes many of the myths about these fascinating nocturnal creatures while showing how their life cycle allows them to live alongside us in many old buildings, such asDunsterCastle.

‘Although we have the bats alongside the ghost stories, people will discover they are not the frightening creatures of the Hammer Horror films, but remarkable little mammals – and being able to see them when they begin to arrive over the next few weeks on the live video link from Tenants’ Hall will be a special treat,’ added Stephen.

More information is available on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstercastle