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…

£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.

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

Wellington Monument Illuminated (c)NationalTrust/FranStothard

A £1 million grant has been awarded towards urgent repairs of the Wellington Monument by Chancellor Philip Hammond’s in his first Autumn Statement earlier today.

The money comes from fines levied on the banking industry for manipulating the LIBOR rate. Today 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. Continue reading…