Inside the National Trust – behind the scenes of Britain’s largest conservation charity

Starting Sunday 6 October, 12.25pm, ITV

This autumn, broadcast journalist Michael Buerk will rediscover some of Britain’s best loved landscapes, uncover hidden secrets and meet the people behind the scenes of the National Trust in a new 20 part series on ITV.

Europe’s largest conservation charity, welcomes over 20 million people every year to its 300 historic properties and an estimated 100 million to the coast and countryside in its care.  It has four million members and 70,000 volunteers.

Michael Buerk at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire

Michael Buerk at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire

The documentary series showcases six very diverse places, from the wildlife on the Farne Islands and the Lake District, to Georgian life at Wordsworth House and Garden, an insight into the Victorians at Cragside, life on a working estate at Wimpole and introduces the Strickland family who have lived at Sizergh in Cumbria for 700 years.

The series turns the viewer into a visitor.  In each episode Michael will be trying his hand at a new skill including scything, lambing, Georgian cooking, life as a man-servant, and bird counting.  He works alongside Trust staff and volunteers as they make sure that everything is cared for and welcoming for visitors.

Amanda Thackeray, gardener at Wordsworth House & Garden with her poem tree. Credit Steve Barratt

Amanda Thackeray, gardener at Wordsworth House & Garden with her poem tree. Credit Steve Barratt

One of the stars of the series, National Trust head gardener Amanda Thackeray, has worked at Wordsworth House and Garden for ten years.  She said: “Wordsworth is a property full of Georgian surprises.  Viewers will get to see what we do in our day-to-day lives to ensure this special place is cared for year in, year out, but also discover some of the amazing stories about the family that used to live here.

“I particularly enjoyed showing Michael how to make soapy liquid for washing clothes from soapwort and persuading him to try out a Georgian face pack made from things in the garden!

“I get great satisfaction from my job because I get to look after a place that is important to people’s lives.”

Viewers will also meet Daisy – Ranger Roy’s black Labrador puppy – certain to win hearts and minds as she finds her ‘paws’ in the Lake District.

Ranger Roy with Daisy in the Lake District. Credit Steve Barratt

Ranger Roy with Daisy in the Lake District. Credit Steve Barratt

It’s been a special and busy year on the Farne Islands with head ranger David Steel and his nine strong team carrying out the five yearly puffin count.  He said: “The puffin count is the only way we can truly measure how our colonies are doing.  With the extremes of weather and rain especially last year, we have been really concerned about population numbers falling.

“Viewers will see the outcome of the count; and the coming and goings of our birds – particularly during the nesting season – as well as witnessing the challenges all island inhabitants face with the extremes of weather.”

Puffins on the Farne Islands. Credit Joe Cornish.

Puffins on the Farne Islands. Credit Joe Cornish.

Michael Buerk commented; “I have always enjoyed visiting National Trust places and connecting with the grandeur of the past, but what made all this for me was peeking behind the scenes to see how it all works, and meeting the people who make it happen.

“Just as the original builders and owners of these properties were characters, so too are those who look after them now and make them available to us.”

Inside the National Trust was made by RDF for ITV.  To join in discussions about the show follow #InsideNT on twitter.

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