Clouds Hill: Desert to Dorset

A visitor relaxing in the garden at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/Tony Gill

To mark 100 years since T E Lawrence’s part in the Great Arab Revolt, the National Trust team at Clouds Hill in Dorset will be hosting an array of events from 6-21 May which explore the life of this secretive and fascinating man.

Bronze bust of T E Lawrence by Eric Kennington in the Book Room at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/John Hammond

Bronze bust of T E Lawrence by Eric Kennington in the Book Room at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/John Hammond

Continue reading…

Prior Park head gardener retires after 20 years

Prior Park Matthew Ward retires (c)National Trust/Clare Green

After almost 20 years as head gardener, Matthew Ward is leading his last guided tour, before hanging up his trowel and heading off with wife Hillary into a well-deserved retirement.

After 37 years as a National Trust gardener, Matthew has untold tales to tell and knowledge to impart.  His 20 years at Prior Park have seen him lead a number of major restoration projects, in the aim to restore the garden to its 1764 state, and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death. Continue reading…

Rare handkerchief tree in bloom at National Trust’s Dunster Castle

Handkerchief in flower (c)National Trust/John Miller

A rarely found tree in the UK is currently in bloom in the tropical climate of the river garden at the National Trust’s Dunster Castle, near Minehead in Somerset.  The warm, dry weather over recent months has meant that the unusual handkerchief tree has started to bloom earlier than usual. 

When fluttering in the breeze, the flowers look like a collection of hankies or white birds ruffling their feathers, meaning it’s sometimes known as the Dove Tree or Davidia involucrate.  Visitors will be able to see the tree for around three weeks when it flowers, until the end of May.  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.

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…

Halloween fun with the National Trust

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

The mysteries of Halloween have brought out the creativity of the National Trust which is celebrating the end of October in very different ways.

Children are being invited to solve a mystery of missing beasts at Lacock, join a Halloween trail at Dyrham or explore a cat trail at Avebury during the half term fun.

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

Continue reading…

Yellow and orange days of autumn in South Somerset

The yellow and orange days of autumn are a favourite for many people – it’s certainly the case at National Trust places in South Somerset. There are lots of reasons to get outside and enjoy the changing seasons, and to get up close to nature and wildlife. Visitors can be as creative as they like whilst building their very own den with the help of Ranger George at Barrington Court on 25 & 27 October. At Montacute House, going for an autumn ramble will bring even greater rewards if you pick up one of the autumn trails to follow, from 22 to 30 October.

Children playing on a swing in the garden at Montacute House, Somerset.(C)National Trust Images/John Millar

Children playing on a swing in the garden at Montacute House, Somerset.(C)National Trust Images/John Millar

Continue reading…