Information for journalists

We are a charity and completely independent of Government. We rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from our commercial operations.

We have over 3.9 million members and 70,000 volunteers. More than 19 million people visit our pay for entry properties every year, while an estimated 75 million visit our open air properties.

Visitors on the stepping stones across the River Dove in Dovedale, Derbyshire ©National Trust Images John MillarWe protect and open to the public more than 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments.

But it doesn’t stop there. We also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – for ever, for everyone. Find out more about the National Trust here.

Useful information

President: HRH Prince Charles

Director-General : Dame Helen Ghosh

Chairman : Sir Simon Jenkins

Deputy Chairman: Charles Gurassa

The National Trust

• Is a registered charity

• Is independent of Government

• Was founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the nation to enjoy

• Relies on the generosity of its supporters, through membership subscriptions, gifts, legacies and the contribution of many thousands of volunteers

• Now protects and opens to the public over 350 historic houses and gardens

 • Owns more than 250,000 hectares of the most beautiful countryside and over 742 miles of outstanding coast for people to enjoy

• Looks after forests, woods, fens, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages – for ever, for everyone

• Has the unique statutory power to declare land inalienable – such land cannot be voluntarily sold, mortgaged or compulsorily purchased against the Trust’s wishes without special parliamentary procedure. This special power means that protection by the Trust is forever

• Spends all its income on the care and maintenance of the land and buildings in its protection, but cannot meet the cost of all its obligations – four in every five of its historic houses run at a loss – and is always in need of financial support

Facts about the National Trust which you may find surprising. 

Despite its name, the National Trust is neither a Government Department nor a Bank, but an independent charity which relies completely on the continued generosity of its supporters

Although we’re able to employ 6,000 full-time, regular staff, and about the same number again of seasonal staff, these numbers are dwarfed by the 70,494 volunteers who generously contribute 3.77 million hours of their time.

  • Gravity was discovered on our land

Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire, is believed to be the very one that inspired him in 1665, when the ‘notion of gravitation came to mind’ after he watched an apple fall. The tree, a rare variety Flower of Kent, fell down in 1820, but is still growing well, having rooted where the trunk touched the ground…

  • We love a wet day

Over 43 per cent of rainwater in England and Wales drains through National Trust places and spaces.

  • We love a cuppa

Each year, we serve over 3.5 million cups of tea. That’s quite a lot of tea.

  • We’re film stars

The cloisters at Lacock Abbey were transformed into Hogwarts classrooms for the filming of the ‘Harry Potter’ series of movies.

  • One of our wardens lives in a cave

One of our wardens lives in a cave dwelling (Rock House at Kinver, South Staffs). The warden lives in one of the houses built into rock and we open the others to the public.

  • We’re one big farming family

We’re the nation’s largest farmer, with more than 618,000 acres of land and about 2,000 tenants.

  • We like to tread the boards

We look after an important and historical theatre – the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

  •  We like a bit of table dancing

The dining table at Uppark in West Sussex is where Nelson’s future lover, the beautiful Emma Hamilton, is said once to have danced naked by way of an hors d’oeuvre during her tenure as Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh’s fiesty mistress.

  • The drinks are on us

We own and run 61 pubs and inns, including the George Inn in Southwark, featured in Dickens’ Little Dorrit.

  • We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Four World Heritage Sites exist on our land by the coast. They are the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast, Dorset and East Devon Coast, Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscapes and Hadrian’s Wall.

  • Flooding is a big issue for us

126 of our coastal sites are at risk from tidal flooding and 606km (60 per cent) of our coastline is at risk of erosion.

  • We own the UK’s oldest nature reserve

We own Britain’s oldest nature reserve, Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire, acquired in 1899. More recently, Orford Ness reserve was the site of Britain’s nuclear weapon testing programme in the 1950s.

  • We protect all kinds of wildlife

Some 45 volunteer toad patrollers help save toads on the North Yorkshire Moors.

  • Our first house was…

Alfriston Clergy House in East Sussex, a dilapidated medieval meeting house, acquired in 1896.

  • Showing you round our houses

We have 12,000 volunteer room stewards, almost 100 of whom have given more than 50 years service.

  • We offer lots of unusual jobs

We have 120 volunteer firefighters, 15 volunteer pilots, two beekeepers and one shepherd.

  • We depend on your donations

Almost £45 million was gifted to the Trust in legacies alone during 2011/12, plus over £12 million from appeals and gifts.

 

  • We’re pretty BIG!

We are the largest voluntary conservation organisation in Europe (recruiting more than one member every minute during the summer months). The only organisation in the UK to have a larger membership is the AA.

  • Tapestry tales

A 1m sq of tapestry costs £4,333 to conserve, whereas it costs approximately £26,500 per m sq to weave a new tapestry (according to trials carried out by West Dean College).

  • Plants rule

We have 32 Plant Heritage National Plant Collections – making us the largest single collection holder in the UK.

  • We beat Cameron, Clegg & Miliband

With 4 million members, we are proud to have about six times more members than all the main political parties put together.

  • Stourhead inspired Thunderbirds

Stourhead house was the inspiration for Lady Penelope’s residence in the original Thunderbirds puppet series in the 1960s.

  • We love museums

We look after one in 10 of all the museums in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • We own the place radio was invented at

The Marconi Centre in Podhu, Cornwall, received the world’s first transatlantic radio transmission in 1901 – an experimental SOS was sent by Marconi himself from Newfoundland to the lonely site on the Cornish coast.

  • We helped the Large Blue flourish

We successfully helped re-introduce the beautiful large blue butterfly to England after it was declared extinct in the UK in 1979.

  • We have over 70,000 volunteers

We have 70,494 volunteers contributing 3.77 million hours of their time.

  • Bats love our houses

All 17 species of UK bat have been recorded as roosting or breeding in our places, making us the single most important landowner for bat conservation.

  • Butterflies also love us

With 96 per cent of all resident species of UK butterfly occurring on our land we have a huge responsibility for their conservation.

  •  Village people

We own 59 villages, such as Buttermere in Cumbria and Lacock in Wiltshire.

  • We give wigs their own space

We have four closets for wig powdering. Wigs needed dedicated powdering rooms to limit the mess.

  • Sense & Sensibility

Our places were the setting for many scenes in the 1995 film version Sense and Sensibility, featuring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. Compton Castle in Devon was used as the exterior of Mr. Willoughby’s home, Mompesson in Wiltshire was Mrs Jennings’ London residence.

  • All that glitters

We own a gold mine – The Dolaucothi Gold Mines in Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire to be exact.

  • We love eclectic collections

We own 49 churches, nine monasteries and eight billiard tables – the one at Tyntsfield is electronically heated.

  • Miles of Coastline

We own 742 miles of coastline, including some of the best beaches and coastal paths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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