Comet lander named after Kingston Lacy obelisk

A robotic landing craft due to make the first ever touchdown on a comet on 12 November owes its name to an ancient Egyptian obelisk which stands in the grounds of Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Continue reading

An apple for apple day…or 72 at Clumber Park

In a nod to apple day, the National Trust’s Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire is celebrating its recent National Collection ‘award’ for its apple collection, making it just one of five collections culinary apples in the country. Continue reading

National Trust statement on Stonehenge tunnel proposal

Ian Wilson, Assistant Director of Operations, at the National Trust, said: “The National Trust has a long standing ambition to remove as much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge landscape as possible. 

“Huge volumes of traffic on the road are already having a detrimental impact on the site and forecasts suggest this will only get worse. We need to find a solution to this problem sooner rather than later and that solution needs to remove as much of the highly damaging existing road as possible.

“We believe building a tunnel under the landscape is the best way of improving the quality of this special place whilst at the same time significantly improving a major transport link for the South West.

“We would like to see the longest possible tunnel but we recognise that any plan needs to be both affordable and deliverable if we’re to finally solve this long-running challenge.

“Early results from our work to assess various options for the A303 at Stonehenge suggest that a tunnel of 2.9km may bring significant benefits for this special place, reuniting the archaeologically rich wider Stonehenge landscape, and allowing people to better explore and understand the story of a place so important for the human history of these islands.

“Reuniting the two halves of the world heritage site would also allow visitors and local communities to enjoy far greater access to this wonderful landscape. We’re continuing to work with the Government and partner organisations to look at how we best deliver a world class solution for one of the most important pre-historic landscapes in Europe.”

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The National Trust’s response to Labour’s house-building proposals

We welcome that Sir Michael Lyons’ review does not propose a further shake up of national planning policies, and recognises that many of the problems with undersupply of housing lie with the market rather than failures of the planning system.

“We agree that the nation needs more homes, and will look carefully at proposals for housing growth areas and garden cities and suburbs. It is critical that we choose the right places to put new housing, and involve communities through the local planning process to get genuinely sustainable development.

“We hope that Labour focuses on Sir Michael’s proposals to support the plan-led system rather than policies to take planning powers away from local councils.”

National Trust response to English Heritage New Model announcement

The Government today confirmed plans, announced last year, to restructure English Heritage.

This will see the division of English Heritage into a charity looking after heritage sites and a statutory body called Historic England.

Ingrid Samuel, National Trust Historic Environment Director says:

“This is a very important moment for the future of heritage in this country. This innovative step to divide English Heritage changes the landscape, and it offers a real opportunity to support stronger heritage protection through a new Historic England.

“As a charity dedicated to looking after the nation’s natural and built heritage we need both English Heritage and Historic England to remain strong partners with the sector, having access to the resources and support they require.

“Appropriate levels of funding are crucially important to achieving this, and we welcome the Government’s commitment to financial certainty into the next financial year.

“However, careful monitoring will be necessary in future to ensure both English Heritage and Historic England have the resources they require over the long-term.

“We are pleased that the Government intends to review progress and funding for both bodies, but they must be prepared to act if required. We hope these reviews will seek the opinions of the Trust and others on how well the changes are working.

“One immediate concern is whether English Heritage will be able to build up sufficient reserves early enough to cushion them in moments of need. We have always said it is vital that Historic England is insulated from the business risks of the new charity to ensure it can remain a strong champion and effective regulator for the historic environment. This, along with a broad remit, is particularly important as local authority heritage provision continues to come under increasing pressure.

“With future spending reviews it is vital that all political parties show commitment to supporting England’s heritage.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the two new bodies to safeguard heritage.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-model-for-english-heritage-moves-a-step-closer-following-consultation

Great British Walks – 100 routes to explore

IMG_31342This September the National Trust launches the Great British Walks book featuring 100 routes across iconic landscapes, through ancient woodland and along breathtaking coastline.

The book, which accompanies the Great British Walk 2014, will be available to buy from 25 September from National Trust shops as well as online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop.

National Trust research has revealed that 84% of people find that the kaleidoscope of natural colours experienced on an autumn walk make them feel happier, healthier and calmer at a time when more than 40% admit to feeling down as the nights draw in. Running through the woods and along the river, the route at Hardcastle Crags is just one of many walks from the book which is perfect for exploring a rainbow of autumn colours.

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Big Butterfly Count – the recovery of the Small Tortoiseshell 

As Butterfly Conservation releases its results from the Big Butterfly Count, National Trust’s Matthew Oates, looks at some of the highlights. 

It was great to learn from Butterfly Conservation’s speedy analysis of the 2014 Big Butterfly Count data that the Small Tortoiseshell is continuing to recover. It is the quintessential garden butterfly, one of the nation’s favourites – but we took it for granted until it inexplicably started to nose-dive during the early noughties.

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