National Trust statement on Ash Dieback Chalara fraxinea

Following the discovery of the deadly Ash Dieback Chalara fraxinea disease in the East of the country, the National Trust welcomes the fact that the Government has now introduced the ban on the importation of ash trees into the UK which came into force yesterday. 

The Trust is also pointing to the need to provide sufficient investment into tree disease research and more restrictions on plant movement.

It is also working closely with other key organisations and is prioritising the checking of ash trees thought to be currently the most at risk in the South East and East of the country.

Ian Wright, plant health specialist at the National Trust said: “We welcome the Government’s ban on the import of ash trees into the UK.  We are very concerned about what effect this disease will have on a key historic species – and on our landscapes. 

“As well as the threat to ash trees and woods across the country, we are particularly concerned about the risk to some of the magnificent old ash trees in our parkland and ancient woods. We have at least 300 of these on our register of veteran trees and many are over 300 years old. If this devastating disease took hold it would radically change some of our most special landscapes and places forever. These ash trees are also incredibly important for the rich flora and fauna only found on such ancient trees, which includes rare lichens, mosses and wood boring insects.

“A high level focus on tree disease is needed with more funding made available by Government for urgent work on how diseases spread and how to develop greater resilience in our woods.  We also believe there may be a need to put greater restrictions on International European trade in plants to reduce the risk of such disease spread.

“We are working closely with the Forestry Commission (FC), the Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera) and the Woodland Trust among many others to keep abreast of developments, and will take on board any guidance that is issued.

“We are currently checking the sites we believe to be at most risk in the South East and East of the country, prioritising where our most important ash trees are.

“We have already halted any planned ash tree planting on our land and are now weighing up the risk to ash trees of planting of other species that might be carrying the disease.  Our outdoor teams are already undertaking surveys of their ash trees while leaves are still on them to see if any are showing signs of the disease.  We will be referring any suspected cases to Fera and FC.

“We hope the Government will respond to the calls for an urgent summit to discuss ash dieback.”

Press wishing to interview Ian Wright should contact Jeannette Heard in the National Trust press office on 01793 817706 or 07884 473396 or email jeannette.heard@nationaltrust.org.uk

Notes:

1.  There is an estimated 80 million ash trees in the UK – a third of our entire tree population.  Ash is found throughout the country and grows in most soil types.  It regenerates profusely, and as climate changes, oak and beech woods are likely to become more dependant on ash in the future.

2.   In the early 1990s severe dieback of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) was noted in north-eastern Poland.  Trees of all ages were affected and typically displayed small necrotic patches on their stems and branches which later developed into girdling lesions resulting in wilting of leaves, tip dieback of branches and mortality of trees.   Initially, the cause(s) of the dieback were unclear but a species of Chalara was frequently isolated from lesions on symptomatic trees and by the mid-2000s this was recognised as both a new fungal species Chalara fraxinea and as the primary pathogen involved in the causation of ash dieback.

3.   Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in Britain is the third most commonly recorded broadleaved species highlighted in the most recent Census of Woodlands and Trees, and is the second most widely planted broadleaved tree. Ash is found on a huge variety of site types, calcareous/acid, lowland/upland and throughout the UK.  Ash is an important tree in terms of its timber value and a key component of many habitats and feature of most landscapes.  It is also thought that ash will become a much more extensive and important element of many existing woods as it regenerates profusely and does not appear to suffer serious bark stripping by grey squirrels as do many other native broadleaved species. Because of these valuable characteristics, existing beech woodlands, PAWS restoration areas and even oak woods are likely to become more dependant on ash to survive as healthy and productive broadleaved woodlands.

4.   Since the early 2000s, Chalara fraxinea has spread rapidly across continental Europe with ash dieback now reported from the majority of European countries.  During 2012 interceptions of ash saplings infected with C. fraxinea, were found both in a number of key UK nurseries and shortly after out-planting. The outbreaks/original infection might have occurred as far back as 2009.

5.   Despite the detection of ash dieback in out-planted ash saplings, the pest is not yet considered to be established in the natural environment in the UK, since the infected plants are likely to have harboured the disease prior to planting and there is currently no evidence to indicate that transmission to other trees has occurred. However, the rapid establishment of the pest throughout many European countries, and the existence of appropriate growth conditions for the pest suggest that in the UK the potential for establishment is high and therefore the risk very high.

6.   The National Trust looks after 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of woodland and forest. We also conserve historic parks, gardens, commons and pasture-woodlands, where individual ancient ash trees are a highly prized resource – for their beauty and for the plants and animals growing on them – many of them direct descendants from the original Wildwood. The loss of these individual ash trees would mean the entire loss of these species from a site and even a region.

National Trust statement on Ash Dieback Chalara Fraxinea

Ian Wright, gardens adviser and plant health specialist at the National Trust said: “We are extremely concerned about the potential risk to our UK ash caused by the suspected cases of this disease on trees within the native tree population.

“Although no suspected cases have to date been discovered on National Trust land, we had already issued guidance to our teams when we heard of the outbreak in imported trees in other parts of the country earlier in the year. The guidance included precautions such as holding off from planting any new ash trees, putting any recently bought ornamental or native trees into quarantine and ensuring good hygiene practices to minimise the risk of contamination.

“Our outdoor teams are also monitoring all our ash trees on a regular basis. We will wait for more information to emerge from this rapidly changing situation and will be in close contact with the Forestry Commission and FERA.  We will also be following any guidance and updates from them to help slow the spread of this virulent disease.

All press interested in interviewing Ian Wright should contact the press office on 0844 800 4955.

1.  In the early 1990s severe dieback of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) was noted in north-eastern Poland.  Trees of all ages were affected and typically displayed small necrotic patches on their stems and branches which later developed into girdling lesions resulting in wilting of leaves, tip dieback of branches and mortality of trees.   Initially, the cause(s) of the dieback were unclear but a species of Chalara was frequently isolated from lesions on symptomatic trees and by the mid-2000s this was recognised as both a new fungal species Chalara fraxinea and as the primary pathogen involved in the causation of ash dieback.

2.   Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in Britain is the third most commonly recorded broadleaved species highlighted in the most recent Census of Woodlands and Trees, and is the second most widely planted broadleaved tree. Ash is found on a huge variety of site types, calcareous/acid, lowland/upland and throughout the UK.  Ash is an important tree in terms of its timber value and a key component of many habitats and feature of most landscapes.  It is also thought that ash will become a much more extensive and important element of many existing woods as it regenerates profusely and does not appear to suffer serious bark stripping by grey squirrels as do many other native broadleaved species. Because of these valuable characteristics, existing beech woodlands, PAWS restoration areas and even oak woods are likely to become more dependant on ash to survive as healthy and productive broadleaved woodlands

3.   Since the early 2000s, Chalara fraxinea has spread rapidly across continental Europe with ash dieback now reported from the majority of European countries.  During 2012 interceptions of ash saplings infected with C. fraxinea, were found both in a number of key UK nurseries and shortly after out-planting. The outbreaks/original infection might have occurred as far back as 2009

4.   Despite the detection of ash dieback in out-planted ash saplings, the pest is not yet considered to be established in the natural environment in the UK, since the infected plants are likely to have harboured the disease prior to planting and there is currently no evidence to indicate that transmission to other trees has occurred. However, the rapid establishment of the pest throughout many European countries, and the existence of appropriate growth conditions for the pest suggest that in the UK the potential for establishment is high and therefore the risk very high.

5.   The National Trust looks after 25,000 hectares of woodland and forest.

National Trust team wins top PR Award

The Swindon-based Media & External Affairs team of the National Trust was named In-House Team of the Year at the 2012 PRWeek Awards, announced in London on Tuesday.

Beating stiff competition from the Alzheimer’s Society, easyJet, McDonald’s UK and VisitScotland, the 16-strong team came away with the prestigious PR Week Gold Award.

The judges were particularly impressed with the Trust’s communications strategy based on standing up for its cause and helping people – particularly young people – discover the beauty of special places.

Last year, the team’s efforts helped achieve a record increase in visitor and membership numbers – with membership of the charity reaching four million and more than 19 million visitor going to the charity’s pay for entry properties.

The focus around core campaigns – Planning for People, Time well Spent and Growing Love for Nature and the Outdoors – was also a big factor in the judges decision.  These campaigns were amplified throughout the country with support from the Trust’s eight regional hubs to maximum effect.

Lead judge, PepsiCo’s director of corporate affairs Sally McCombie, said of the team: “It had a creative and original set of initiatives, which were tied directly back to the strategic objective to broaden its audience demographic, presented by a passionate and united team.”

The charity’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and three quarters’ campaign, was also highly commended in the PRWeek Awards Not For Profit category.

It also won a PRWeek Award in the Marcomms under £100k category together with its agency Mischief PR for its partnership with The Beano to produce a special Gnashional Trust edition which hit news stands in July 2011.

Daniel Dodd, media and external affairs director at the National Trust, said: “We are delighted to win this award.  It’s been an incredible year where we’ve worked hard to really connect with our audiences.

“The award is a tribute to the way the whole organisation got behind our campaign on planning.  It also reflects our success in appealing to new audiences, particularly families, through the wonderful 50 things initiative and the tie up with the Beano.”

Fiona Reynolds, director-general at the National Trust, said: “It has been a busy year for the Trust, with our ‘Planning for People’ campaign, ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’ and our very own issue of the Beano being among the highlights.  The team has performed spectacularly well and should be very proud, as we are of them all.”

Plea for more family time from 1 in 5 kids

One in five 8-11 year olds want to spend more time with their parents and more than a third of parents said they want to spend more free time with their kids, new research for the National Trust has found.

While watching television and DVDs tops the YouGov poll [1] as the most common way for parents and children to spend time together in the UK [2] 26 per cent of children aged 8-11 years old and nearly half (49 per cent) of all parents surveyed said they would like to spend more time together just going for a walk. 

To help families get out on an Autumn walk, users of the website Mumsnet have provided some top tips on making sure that parents have got everything ready for a fun day out [3] such as climbing a huge hill, flying a kite or hunting for some treasure on a beach.

Over the half-term period there will be hundreds of family walking adventures at National Trust properties as part of the Great British Walk, which has been organised in partnership with PruHealth.

These walks are the perfect way for kids to tick off their ‘50 things to do before they’re 11 ¾’ including collecting and play conkers and picking and eating apples straight from the tree [4].

Simon Pryor, Natural Environment Director at the National Trust, said: “Despite the fact that TV seems to be dominating family life its really encouraging that children and parents want to spend more time together and that walking is seen as a great way of doing just that.

“Walking is a brilliant way for families to spend time together, get fit and discover the joy of the British countryside.

“And with so many great activities taking place at National Trust properties around the country this half-term there’s no better time to get out and go on a walking adventure.”

Mumsnet co-founder and CEO Justine Roberts added:  “It’s all too easy to end up spending all family time in front of screens, watching TV or playing video games. Spending time with the children outdoors can be just as cheap as well as fun and educational and offers a bit of balance in a world dominated by X-Factor and Fifa 12.”

Dr William Bird, a GP and an expert in environment and health, said: “Children can benefit hugely from walking in the outdoors. High blood pressure, cholesterol and depression can be detected in children as young as 10, due to inactivity. Spending time with family, in the outdoors, can invigorate even the most TV or X-box-obsessed children!”

Families can also download free family friendly trails from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk and they can also share their favourite walks online for the chance to win a stay in a National Trust holiday cottage [5].

Other findings from the research include:

Eighty one per cent of children aged 8 to 11 surveyed said they watched TV and DVDs with their parents in their free time, 69 per cent go on activity trips and days out, while 66 per cent go to the park together, 61 per cent said they went go to the cinema together, 50 per cent playing sport and 52 per cent on walks.

When asked the same question, parents of children 18 and under who spend their free time together, answered slightly differently but TV still came out top, with 72 per cent.  According to parents, the second most common joint activity was going to the park (47 per cent), followed by going on activity/day trips (46 per cent) and going walking ranked fourth with 37 per cent.  

When asked which activities they’d like to do more with their children, 18 and under parents said day trips were the only activity that was more popular than walking, with 56 per cent of parents saying they would like to go on more joint outings with their kids, compared to 49 per cent that said they’d like to spend more time on walks with their children.

The 8 to 11 year olds surveyed said they’d like to spend more time with their parents doing outdoor activities such as going to the park (47 per cent) and playing sport (46 per cent).

Over half of the parents surveyed (54 per cent) said they spend more time with their children than their own parents did. And one in three (35 per cent) of parents said that they would like to spend more leisure time with their children.

Not surprisingly, the figures for teenagers (12-15 year olds) wanting to spend more time with their parents (13 per cent) drop off though only 2 per cent of 12-15 year olds want to spend less time with their parents.

 – ends -

Notes to editors:

[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Both surveyed were carried out online.

Children’s survey :  Total sample size 493 (of which 230 were aged 8 to 11 and 263 aged 12 to 15). Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th September – 1st October 2012.  The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 8-15).

Parents survey: Total sample size was 2054 adults (of which 492 were parents of children aged 18 and under). Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th September – 1st October 2012 The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

[2] The figure among parents with children aged 18 and under was 72 per cent and 81 per cent 8-11 year olds surveyed. 

[3] Mumsnet users’ top five tips for days out and about with the family:

-          Keep it simple.  A day out with the children doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate – sometimes heading a little further afield to a different park rather than walking to your usual playground is a real treat.

-          Buy an annual membership for the family, whether it’s for a local farm, adventure playground or for the National Trust – it saves money long-term and provides a good reminder to get out there regularly.

-          Make the most of outdoor spaces where your children can run around and use their imagination. You could go for a forest walk, visit the grounds of a country house or take a trip to the beach. Bonus points if they get to interact with wildlife along the way.

-          Be prepared for the elements.  Suntan lotion, rain ponchos, extra layers and comfortable shoes or wellies (for everyone) will ensure a family day out remains a fun one, whatever the weather decides.

-          Packed lunch is a must.  A carefully prepared cool bag, complete with frozen drink cartons and finger food favourites means that you won’t get caught out on a  day out or end up paying a fortune for expensive snacks and drinks.

[4] The full list of 50 things can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things and you can also find some great ideas for walks which can help you tick off some of the list during the Autumn.

[5] As part of the Great British Walk families are being encouraged to share their favourite walks and have the chance to win a stay in a National Trust holiday cottage and have their walk illustrated.  Full terms and conditions about the competition can be found on the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk

 

Octavia Hill – social reformer and co-founder of National Trust – is honoured at Westminster Abbey

Octavia Hill, leading social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust, will be honoured today (Monday 22 October) at a service to dedicate a memorial to her at Westminster Abbey in London.

One hundred years after Octavia Hill’s death, a memorial stone, commissioned by the National Trust and designed and crafted by Rory Young, will be dedicated at the service that will celebrate her remarkable life.

Thousands of flowers, foliage and fruit from National Trust gardens across the South West have been incorporated in eight spectacular displays for the service.  Conceived by Mike Calnan, head of gardens at the Trust, the dramatic arrangements have been made and assembled by London based floral artist Rebecca Louise Law, daughter of one of the Trust’s head gardeners, together with Abbey florist, Jane Rowton-Lee. 

National Trust Chairman, Simon Jenkins, and Director-General, Dame Fiona Reynolds, broadcaster Julia Bradbury and writer Robert Macfarlane are among the members, supporters, staff and volunteers from the National Trust and other organisations paying tribute to Octavia Hill with readings and prayers at the service conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.

The memorial stone, measuring 600mm x 600mm, is made of Purbeck marble, and has been laid in the nave of Westminster Abbey.  

Octavia Hill founded the National Trust in 1895 with Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.

They were concerned about the impact of uncontrolled development and industrialisation and set up the Trust ‘for the protection of the public interests in the open spaces of the country.’

Octavia Hill also played a pivotal role in the housing reform movement and had a lifelong passion for learning and welfare.

Dame Fiona Reynolds said: Octavia Hill had a profound impact on this country both as a social reformer and as a co-founder of the National Trust.  She and her fellow reformers believed passionately that access to beauty, heritage and nature was a basic human need. Her biggest legacy has perhaps been the National Trust, which last year reached 4 million members – surely exceeding even her ambitions. All year we have been commemorating the work of this remarkable woman, and I am delighted by the opportunity to honour her legacy in this way.”

Ancient trees inspire musical ‘walk’ by Portishead’s Adrian Utley

Ancient trees inspire musical ‘walk’ by Portishead’s Adrian Utley

A brand new piece of music by Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley, inspired by a walk at the National Trust’s CroftCastle in Herefordshire, is released today, as part of the charity’s Great British Walk.

A still from the Croft Castle video by John Minton

The Sonic Journey – commissioned by the National Trust and sounduk – follows a route through Croft Castle’s beautiful landscape which is dominated by ancient trees, including a thousand-year-old oak tree and an avenue of chestnut trees with links to the Spanish Armada.

The new track, which will be accompanied by a hand-drawn route map by Adrian Utley, will be available to download for free on to smartphones and MP3 players until 15 October 2013 via www.nationaltrust.org.uk and www.sonicjourneys.co.uk and also on MP3 players at CroftCastle itself.

Portishead film-maker, John Minton, worked with Adrian to create a video based on the journey that will be available to watch via the above websites or www.thespace.org.

Walkers can then walk the route to experience the music, which runs for 15 minutes, while wandering through the special place that inspired this journey through the seasons. 

The music is released during the Trust’s Great British Walk which is celebrating our national love affair with walking, with thousands of events and downloadable walks from across the country.

Brian Muelaner, National Trust Ancient Tree Adviser, said: “Trees have inspired generations of artists and there is something remarkable about the power and beauty of ancient trees. 

“Walking is the prefect way to get outdoors and explore the exquisite British countryside, particularly at this time of year with trees in wonderful colours of autumn

“Adrian’s music really captures the spirit of this special place on a journey through this landscape dominated by ancient trees.”

The National Trust is part way through a three-year survey of all of its ancient trees including Newton’s apple tree, the Tolpuddle Martyrs tree and the yew tree at Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed. 

Adrian Utley is widely known for his work in the hugely-influential band, Portishead. 

The band, which formed in 1990, has released three critically acclaimed albums including Dummy in 1994.  Adrian Utley has also worked with Patti Smith, Tom Jones and Jeff Beck.

The National Trust has previously worked on new music with Jarvis Cocker and the art pop trio Kotki Dwa.

White Cliffs of Dover could symbolise new British patriotism, philosopher says

A need to see the White Cliffs of Dover as a symbol that reflects a new found positive patriotism is the conclusion of a new pamphlet by philosopher Julian Baggini published today.

 

“I want people to see the Dover chalk and think of liberty, hospitality and freedom,” he concludes. But he worries that they can also be seen as “a citadel wall” which he claims “would be an immense loss to our national reputation”.

 

As part of its ongoing fundraising appeal to buy an iconic stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover, the National Trust commissioned Julian Baggini to spend a week based at the cliffs in August to examine their role in shaping our national identity.

 

In the introduction Julian Baggini says: “The White Cliffs of Dover are among the symbols which are formative of Britain’s national identity.  

 

“If they stand for us, then what we see in them we will also see in ourselves.  And so we should make sure that we are happy with what see in the chalk.”

 

During his week at the White Cliffs, Julian Baggini spent time unpacking their meaning by talking to local people, delving into their history and thinking about the role they have played in shaping our image of ourselves and how they have influenced the world’s view of Britain.

 

“The power for the Cliffs to stand as a unifying symbol is already there: it just needs to be harnessed” he writes.

 

“We can and should build an open, inclusive, generous and hospitable patriotism, and we can lay the foundation stone for it on the White Cliffs of Dover.”

 

The pamphlet is free to download from the blog pages at http://whitecliffsofdoverwriter.wordpress.com and you can also watch a film about Julian’s time at the White Cliffs of Dover.

 

The National Trust launched its biggest ever coastal appeal in June this year, needing to raise £1.2 million, to acquire a 0.8 mile stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover.