PICTURES: Buckinghamshire bat bucks ghoulish reputation at Cliveden Estate

BATS in Buckinghamshire are failing to live up to their ghoulish reputation – with one calmly sitting in National Trust ranger Jordan Worsfold’s gloved hands during a recent survey on the conservation charity’s Cliveden estate.

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Soprano pipistrelle bat. Credit National Trust Images / Jordan Worsfold

Rangers survey for the bats twice a year under license from Natural England with volunteers from the Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire Bat Group. The woodlands and stately home at Cliveden are home to 10 of the 18 species of bat resident in the UK.

Jordan Worsfold, National Trust Academy Ranger at the Cliveden Estate, said: “If the weather stays mild, this Hallowe’en you’ll be able to see Cliveden’s bats flying through the woods at dusk. Thanks to the proximity of the River Thames and our woodland rides, we’ve got thousands on the estate.”

“Bats have a ghoulish reputation – but it’s undeserved. During a bat survey this year, one female Soprano pipistrelle bat happily sat in my hand as I checked her age and size.”  Continue reading

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Autumn colour arrives at Stourhead

As Stourhead in Wiltshire begins to witness the first signs of autumn colour appearing across the garden and wider estate, Alan Power, Stourhead’s head gardener, gears up to tell Radio 4’s PM about the changing landscape.

“This world-famous garden is starting to show signs of autumn’s arrival with golden, orange and red hues beginning to appear in the trees including the acers, the tulip trees and American oaks,” says Alan.

“Every autumn at Stourhead is strikingly distinct, with different types of trees changing at different times. The shorter days and a decent cold snap help to stimulate the chemical processes in the trees and increase the intensity and colour of the leaf foliage.

“Due to the sheltered position of the garden, situated in a valley, Stourhead’s trees generally turn slower than other areas. This means that visitors can experience a slow and gradual change in the garden, always offering a new scene if visited repeatedly over the autumn period.”

To help visitors who are planning to visit this autumn, Stourhead has once again set up the ‘leafline’. By phoning 01747 841152 visitors planning a trip will be able to hear a weekly update on the autumn colours in the garden from Alan Power.

PICTURES: Autumn views of rutting fallow deer at the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

NATIONAL TRUST volunteer photographer Hugh Mothersole captured these atmospheric autumn views of groaning fallow deer bucks during the annual rut at the conservation charity’s Ashridge Estate, near Hemel Hempstead.

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A fallow deer buck at the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire. Credit: National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

The deer rut at the Hertfordshire estate takes place over several weeks every October. During the rut male fallow deer (bucks) compete to impress the female deer (does). The does will mate with the buck whose voice, antlers and smell they find the most attractive. Large bucks of equal size will sometimes fight for the right to mate with the does.

Lawrence Trowbridge, National Trust Lead Ranger at the Ashridge Estate, said: “The eerie groans of Ashridge’s rutting fallow deer have been heard every October for centuries. Fallow deer have been here since the thirteenth century and they’re very much a part of the landscape.”

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National Trust doubles the number of curators and seeks new Director to champion curatorial excellence

The National Trust is recruiting for a newly created executive role which will champion curatorial excellence and deliver exceptional visitor experience.

The Director of Curation and Experience will oversee the delivery of one of the charity’s key strategic aims – to provide experiences that ‘move, teach and inspire’  visitors to National Trust houses, collections and countryside.

The conservation charity has also announced that it will nearly double the number of curators it employs – from 36 to around 65 full time staff over the next two years. These changes mean that the Trust is committed to investing more in curatorial excellence than at any time in its history.

The new director will join the executive board and deliver the outcomes of the charity’s curatorial review, which has been assessing the changing needs and skills of its curators, and the resources they need to enable them to support and inspire properties to deliver outstanding interpretation.

Dame Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director-General, said: “We have many curators in the Trust who combine deep knowledge of places and collections with flair and imagination in how they are presented to visitors.  But we need more of them.

“The new role of Director of Curation and Experience is a critical one for the Trust; it will help to marry high standards of scholarship and research with a compelling, inspiring and enjoyable experience for all our visitors.

“We will be looking for someone with world class expertise and an outstanding track record for delivering programmes, experiences and exhibitions which bring our houses and landscapes to life.”

Sandy Nairne CBE, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and one of the Trust’s Board of Trustees said: “There are now many examples across the heritage and museum sector of innovative projects which attract new and existing audiences while promoting high standards of academic research and curatorial excellence.

“The Trust has been recognised recently for some outstanding projects, including the recreation of a First World War hospital at Dunham Massey and the Turner and Constable exhibitions at Petworth. It will now be investing in more curatorial posts and expertise at all levels of the organisation to ensure that these levels of excellence are achieved across all its properties.

“This new senior role is a clear sign of the National Trust’s commitment to put inspirational curatorship at the heart of how it cares for and interprets its places.”

Applications for the role of Director of Curation and Experience open on November 7th 2016.

The job will be advertised on the National Trust Jobs website www.nationaltrustjobs.org.uk

FIVE questions with Brownsea red squirrel leprosy researcher Anna Schilling

Earlier this year we announced that some of the red squirrels on Brownsea Island, Dorset, are suffering from leprosy. The island, which we manage in partnership with Dorset Wildlife Trust, is home to around 200 red squirrels.

We are working with researchers from the University of Edinburgh to better understand the disease and its impact upon the island’s wildlife.

Conservation vet and researcher Anna Schilling will spend the next three years studying leprosy in red squirrels. Based at the University of Edinburgh, we are part-sponsoring her PhD along with Dorset Wildlife Trust. We asked her five questions about her project.

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Researcher Anna Schilling on Brownsea Island. Credit: National Trust/Tom Seaward

 

 

 

 

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Bettany Hughes’s ‘Ten Places, Europe & Us’

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Bettany Hughes at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

A new podcast series from the National Trust unravels Europe’s influence on our nation through the ages revealing the continental roots that lie buried in locations from Neolithic Avebury ring to modernist Hampstead.

Over ten weeks starting on 24 October, award-winning historian and broadcaster, Bettany Hughes, will explore National Trust sites and uncover their cosmopolitan histories, revealing their links to the wider world in ten 20 minute programmes. Continue reading

First seal pups spotted on the Farne Islands

The first seal pups of the year have been spotted by National Trust rangers on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast.  Continue reading