Top three seabirds to look out for on Springwatch tonight

 

The Farne Islands get a starring role in Springwatch this month. Gwen Potter, National Trust’s Countryside Manager for the Northumberland Coast, shares her top three birds to look out for on your TV screens.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing the Farne Islands with BBC’s Springwatch.

Presenter Iolo Williams will present a daily update for the popular wildlife show from the Farne Islands. Viewers of the popular wildlife show will get to see the very best wildlife the islands have to offer. Continue reading

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National Trust statement on releasing land for housing

We are not against development in principle, to the contrary we are for good development. We have always supported good quality housing built in the right place as identified in local plans and which meets our planning principles.

Working with the local planning system to make good choices for the location and design of development is absolutely essential. That is why we want to ensure the planning system is well resourced and effective – so that everyone benefits.

When we very occasionally release land for development we aim to use it as an opportunity to showcase what good housing can look like.

We only sell land for development when we are completely satisfied that any proposed scheme passes a rigorous set of design and environmental standards we apply as part of our decision-making process. The proposed development at Pyrland north of Taunton is a good example of this.

On our land at Pyrland, we propose to set aside a large proportion of green space for the residents of the new homes and those already living nearby. Proposals include footpaths, cycleways, community allotments, orchards and conservation areas. We are also proposing that the historic parkland landscape at Pyrland is restored and made accessible to the public for the first time.

The land at Pyrland was left to the Trust by John Adams who gave it at the same time that he gave us Fyne Court. It was his wish that we would sell this land to raise funds to look after Fyne Court and other special places in our care in Somerset. As always, we have ensured that the sale and development of the land complies with the wishes of the donor who gave it to us.

The vast majority of our land is held forever, for everyone. Housing development takes place on only a tiny fraction of our land.  Less than 0.01% is currently allocated for housing in local plans and proposed for development by the Trust. The proceeds from this goes straight back into our conservation work.

 

 

Wannabee shepherds flock to get glimpse of Parc Life

HUNDREDS of applicants hoping to secure a unique £1 tenancy offer at the National Trust’s 145-acre coastal farm in North Wales will have their first chance to explore the landscape, buildings and their new potential home today.

Goat  young nanny Gr Orme National Trust Matthew Oates

The conservation charity’s announcement that Parc Farm on the Great Orme in Llandudno would be let for less than the cost of two second-class stamps sparked international interest and thousands of enquiries from across the globe.

National Trust General Manager William Greenwood said: “The volume of interest has been incredible. People clearly want to give nature a helping hand and ensure this special place is healthy, beautiful, rich in wildlife and culture and is enjoyed for ever for everyone.

“It seems to have really caught the public’s imagination, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming some of those potential applicants to Parc Farm for the official viewing day today, to give them a taste of just what that one pound buys.”

Continue reading

‘Chamber of secrets’ brings Cliveden’s ghosts to life

Pic, A historic chamber will open to visitors at the National Trust's Cliveden following conservation work, NT Images-John MillarAs the glamorous Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire celebrates its 350th anniversary, an historic chamber located below the South Terrace is opening for the first time in 30 years, inviting visitors to help the National Trust solve the mystery of its past.

From the notorious 2nd Duke of Buckingham who built the first house for his mistress before fatally wounding her husband, to the focus of the Profumo affair in the 1960s, Cliveden has long been a place of scandal and intrigue.

Continue reading

Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill – Queen’s Speech

Reacting to the announcement of Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill in the Queen’s Speech today Richard Hebditch, External Affairs Director at the National Trust said:

“It sounds like there could be some positive measures around neighbourhood planning in the new Bill, but overall we’re concerned that further reforms could create more confusion and uncertainty about what the rules are, and not solve the real problems with housing delivery.

“We’ll look carefully at proposals to restrict the use of planning conditions. Concerns about wildlife, archaeology, landscape and impact on communities will always have to be considered – that is what we have a planning system for. The best place to do this is as part of a planning application, rather than through using conditions. Government should be clear that if developers cannot address concerns about impacts on nature, heritage and green spaces, councils will be able to refuse applications.

“We’re worried that planning is becoming a service for developers rather than a balanced, independent process. There is a danger that that too often, planning permission can be pushed through – even where it goes against a council’s local plan. Even our finest landscapes and important green space like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belts are under pressure.”

Could you be our farming hero? National Trust offers £1m coastal farm for just a pound a year

THE keys to a £1m farm and the future of a precious landscape could be in your hands for just a pound a year, as long as you’ve a passion for nature, people, and a lot of sheep.

Last year the National Trust stepped in to protect the rare and fragile landscape of the Great Orme in Llandudno, North Wales. The conservation charity is now offering the lease on that land for just a pound to ensure it can recover, thrive and give a potential shepherding star a helping hand to start out in farming.

This unique £1 tenancy follows on from the announcement of the conservation charity’s new ten year vision, aimed at reversing the alarming decline in wildlife – 60 per cent in the past 50 years – and finding long term solutions to help nurse the countryside back to health and deliver for nature.

In buying Parc Farm at the Orme’s summit and the associated grazing rights over the majority of the headland, the National Trust has taken on the means to ensure the survival of its internationally rare habitats and species; some of which exist nowhere else on earth.

Continue reading

Red squirrel study launched to assess scale of disease

Wildlife experts have launched a project to better understand how British red squirrels are affected by a form of leprosy.

The study will investigate how the disease is passed between squirrels and how conservationists can help control its spread.

Leprosy was first identified in red squirrels in Scotland in 2014, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium lepromatosis, although the disease is believed to have been present in the squirrel population for centuries.

Post-mortems have since revealed that the disease is also affecting squirrels on the Isle of Wight and Brownsea Island, off the south coast of England. The risk to people from the disease is very low.

The new research study will take place on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, Dorset, which is home to around 200 red squirrels. The island location allows researchers to study the impact of leprosy in a contained environment.

The disease is believed to have been present on Brownsea for many years but researchers have only recently diagnosed it as leprosy.

Little is known about how the bacteria is spreading among red squirrels. The disease causes swelling and hair loss to the ears, muzzle and feet.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh are working with the National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust on the project.

Vets will use humane traps to capture the squirrels for health checks. They will take blood samples and other clinical samples for analysis before returning the animals to the wild.

Red squirrels have drastically declined in the UK with fewer than 140,000 thought to be remaining on our shores. The main threat to their numbers is from habitat loss and the squirrelpox virus, which is deadly to red squirrels.

Lead researcher Professor Anna Meredith, of the University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: “The aim of our study is to find out how and why red squirrels catch leprosy, and how it affects both individuals and populations.

“This disease appears to have been in squirrel populations in Scotland and England’s south coast for some time. With this research, we aim to help conservationists better understand and manage the disease in this iconic species.”

Brownsea Island is managed by the National Trust. A large nature reserve on the island, comprising lagoon, reedbed and woodland habitats, is managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Angela Cott, National Trust’s General Manager on Brownsea Island, said: “Bringing together academics and conservationists, this research project represents a significant first step towards deepening our understanding of a complex disease in British red squirrels.

“Many thousands of people visit Brownsea every year, enjoying the island’s wonderful wildlife. Brownsea will remain open whilst the research project takes place.”

Dr Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Dorset Wildlife Trust is very pleased to hear Brownsea Island will be involved with a study of national importance.  At last we may be getting closer to understanding why this much loved British species is struggling to survive.  We hope that the research on red squirrels on Brownsea Island will help us to better manage and restore their remaining populations.”

For press information please contact:
Tom Seaward, Assistant Press Officer, 07810 814848 or tom.seaward@nationaltrust.org.uk