A new natural play trail opens at Leigh Woods in Bristol

A new play trail has opened at Leigh Woods near Bristol, cared for by conservation charity the National Trust. The trail uses natural materials and includes a range of separate activities to encourage families to explore more of the woodland, which forms part of the Avon Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest. 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.

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The South West Outdoor Festival presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to camp on the edge of the UK’s Grand Canyon

Cheddar Gorge, North looking South ©National Trust/Patrick Kinsella

A jagged jewel in the South West’s crown, Cheddar Gorge boasts the biggest inland cliffs in Britain – stunning features that frame the country’s largest gorge – and in September this year, wild sleepers will have a unique opportunity to camp on the canyon rim, above the world-famous crags and caves, amid the magical Mendip Hills, while enjoying all the activity taking place around England’s newest outdoor festival.   

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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…

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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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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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…