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

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National Trust puts cider apples at its core

George Holmes, Area Ranger in South Somerset, planting a cider tree from the collection (c) Steve Haywood

An internationally important collection of cider apples, with almost 300 different varieties, has been given to the National Trust and will be planted in orchards at Montacute House, Barrington Court, Tyntesfield and Glastonbury in Somerset, Golden Cap in Dorset, Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire, Killerton in Devon and Brockhampton in Herefordshire. Continue reading…

BBC Antiques Roadshow coming to Barrington Court – 18 September

Fiona Bruce – BBC Antiques Roadshow ©BBC

Fiona Bruce – BBC Antiques Roadshow ©BBC

A chandelier found in Hitler’s bunker, a tie-pin possibly connected to Lord Nelson and a Staffordshire creamware pot that sat on top of a wardrobe for 25 years, yet was worth £14,300…just some of the Antiques Roadshow discoveries made so far.

The show’s back on the road and coming to Barrington Court in Somerset on Thursday 18 September. Entrance to the Roadshow is free, and it’s open from 9.30am to 4.30pm.So take a peek in the attic, look in the garage or think again about that piece on the sideboard inherited from granny.

Presenter Fiona Bruce, now in her seventh year with the Roadshow, said: “Every episode is different – a new location and thousands of new visitors. The only constant is the pleasure of the unexpected – we never know what will turn up, from a dazzling Russian Fabergé egg to an ancient Maori feather holder.” Continue reading…

Rare planting of a replacement tree avenue at Barrington Court

Visitors to Barrington Court in South Somerset during the forthcoming week will have the chance to help National Trust gardeners to plant a new avenue of  Tulip Trees.

The planting of an avenue of trees is a rare event, even for professional gardeners and the Barrington Court team were keen to let some of the visitors to the property join in this momentous event. (from 11 February)

The new avenue of 75 Tulip trees is replacing a famed avenue of  Horse Chestnuts which were much loved but had to be felled after falling victim to a fungal disease.

Tulip trees have been selected to replace the Chestnuts because they are more resistant to current tree diseases and suited to the climate at Barrington Court.

Simon Larkins, the National Trust’s Parks and Gardens Manager for South Somerset, said many of the people who have sponsored the new avenue have been invited to come down and help to plant their tree.

‘We have had a good response from people and some organisations who wanted to sponsor the planting of a tree in the new avenue with many of them having been sponsored, often in memory of a loved one.

‘There are still some opportunities left to sponsor trees – the donation of £500 will pay for the tree and its maintenance as well as a wrought iron tree guard to protect the newly planted tree, replicating the original design of those used for the first avenue over 100 years ago.’

The last few Chestnut trees from the original avenue leading to Barrington Court were felled in early 2011. The avenue had developed Bleeding Canker, a fungal infection which leads to red rust coloured liquid oozing from the bark and eventually killing the tree. The disease also weakens the trees creating a risk of branches breaking off.

“It is not often that a new tree avenue is planted and I am not aware of any recent plantings on National Trust land,” added Simon.

‘We wanted to give people the chance to be involved, and to drop by, meet the team and talk to the gardeners about what is being done and even, if they want to, to get their hands dirty and help with some planting.’

The official opening of the avenue will take place in May but it is planned for most of the trees to be planted this week, starting on 11th through to the 15th February.

For more information about how to sponsor one of the remaining trees, contact Margaret Stone on 01460 241938 or

Chutfest ’12 – Barrington Court’s annual celebration of preserves

(c) National Trust/ Bob Jordan

 Although this autumn has been a poor year for many apple crops, chutney makers and enthusiastic home producers of jams and preserves are again being offered an opportunity to swap surpluses, exchange recipes and ideas at south Somerset’s annual Chutfest. 

The annual event, held on 6 and 7 October at the National Trust’s Barrington Court, gives any producer of home-made chutneys, preserves, conserves, jams, or jellies the opportunity to bring their surplus to a central point and sell them or exchange them for others.

 The events, which has been developing steadily for the past few years, includes a food fair.

 Matthew Applegate, Barrington’s Visitor Services Manager explained the wide appeal of the event :”Everyone can join in with Chutfest: even if access to a vegetable garden or allotment is difficult, hedgerows and local markets can provide many of the necessary ingredients for chutney making.

 “For those who bring along some jars of chutney there is free entry to Chutfest and the chance to sell or swap your surplus with other like minded producers. There will also be an opportunity to buy from the fantastic range of locally grown, home made and seasonal food, especially as we have a high quality food fair running at the same time. What better thing to do for the cash-strapped, recession hit times we are living in at present?”

More information is available on