PICTURES: National Trust rangers wake up to frost as temperatures plunge

With temperatures falling to minus 7 celsius last night, National Trust rangers were this morning treated to stunning heavy frosts across England and Wales.

Volunteer John Hubble captured the early morning sunshine at Croome Park, Worcestershire. The 250 year old parkland was designed by society landscaper Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. And rangers have spent the last decade working closely with a cattle grazier to restore the grassland landscape that would once have been familiar to Croome’s eighteenth century owners.

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Croome Park is bleached pink in the early morning sun. Credit: John Hubble/National Trust

Temperatures in parts of the Lake District dropped to minus 3 celsius last night. Loughrigg Fell, near Ambleside, was left covered in frost.

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A misty morning at Loughrigg in the Lake District. Credit: Rachel Forsyth/National Trust

Ranger Richard Newman was checking recently-installed boardwalks at Morden Hall Park, south London, when he caught this beautiful sunrise.

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Rangers caught this frosty sunrise at Morden Hall Park, south London. Credit: John Newman/National Trust

Parts of Llyn Ogwen in Snowdonia froze overnight – the first time this winter that the lake has frozen over. According to local legend Llyn Ogwen could be the final resting place of Excalibur – King Arthur’s famous sword.

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Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia, is rumoured to be where sword Excalibur was left by King Arthur’s knights. Last night it froze over for the first time this winter. Credit: Simon Rogers/National Trust

PICTURES: Restoring Stonehenge’s chalk grassland in world heritage site’s 30th year

As Stonehenge celebrates 30 years as a World Heritage Site, National Trust rangers and volunteers in Wiltshire are working closely with farmers to restore the chalk grassland landscape that would have been familiar to the monument’s original builders.

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National Trust – Farming in the Lakes

Mike Innerdale, Assistant Director of Operations in the North, said:

The majority of our farms in the Lakes are leased on multi-generational or life-time tenancies (51 out of 91) under specific legislation. The rest of our tenancies are offered for an average minimum length of 15-years, which is three times longer than the national average and goes well beyond the 10-year minimum the Tenants’ Farmers Association has been calling for across the industry.

We want to maintain and  build strong, long-term relationships with our farm tenants in the Lakes: they need to know we’re committed to them and supporting them –  so that they have the confidence to invest in their business.  We will be writing to all our tenants in the Lakes to reassure them of our long-term commitment to hill farming and hill  farmers. We are also discussing with farming representatives about how we make the tenancy renewal process as fair, transparent and open as possible. We want long-term tenants and there’s no reason why tenancies wouldn’t be renewed if both parties are happy.

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Somerset cider expert toasts “sweetest” year for decade as Barrington Court’s apple season ends

More than 650 gallons of cider has been pressed at the National Trust’s Barrington Court estate, Somerset, in a year that the charity’s cider expert says has produced the sweetest apple crop for a decade.

Gardeners and volunteers at the Somerset estate pressed the last of the apple crop on Monday (21 November). Over three months volunteers picked more than 12 tonnes of apples in Barrington Court’s orchards – equivalent to the weight of two African elephants. The apple crop is expected to produce over 1,000 gallons of cider and apple juice.

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Apples are prepared for pressing at Barrington Court, Somerset. More than 12 tonnes of apples have been pressed by volunteers at the Somerset estate, in a year that the National Trust’s pommelier claims has produced the sweetest juice for a decade. (c) National Trust Images/William Sha

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Storm Angus: natural flood management at Holnicote stops Exmoor villages flooding

Despite heavy rain at the start of the week the Exmoor villages of Allerford and Bossington in Devon escaped flooding, thanks largely to innovative work by the National Trust, project partners and farmers to restore nature and reduce flood risk in the National Park.

Since 2009, the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate has been the site of a government research project  exploring how natural flood management measures can reduce flooding on the rivers Aller and Horner.

The conservation charity looks after 90 per cent of the river catchment within the 20 square mile estate.

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Water rushes underneath Allerford’s historic packhorse bridge on Monday in the wake of Storm Angus. (c) Nigel Hester/National Trust

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Heritage Lottery Fund award boosts National Trust appeal to secure Churchill’s legacy at Chartwell

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £3.45 million towards the National Trust’s appeal to reinvigorate Winston Churchill’s legacy and acquire many of his personal objects at his family home Chartwell in Kent.

The south front of Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill between 1922 and 1964, Kent.

The south front of Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill between 1922 and 1964, Kent.

The conservation charity launched its ‘Churchill’s Chartwell’ appeal in September to raise £7.1 million.

Since then, nearly £2 million has been raised from around the world from members, supporters, charitable trusts and the Royal Oak Foundation – the Trust’s membership affiliate in the US.

The HLF grant brings the total raised so far to nearly £5.5 million and the National Trust is hoping that more supporters will come forward to help reach the appeal target.

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Ground breaking technology reveals location of monks’ cemetery and new evidence of their burial rituals at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire

Remarkable ground-penetrating technology has revealed more than 500 graves of Cistercian monks and lay brothers who once lived at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, now cared for by the National Trust.

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Fountains Abbey. Credit National Trust Images/Andrew Butler.

The abbey at the site existed from the early 12th century to its closure in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The conservation charity has been working for over two years on a project with experts from the University of Bradford, Geoscan Research, and Mala Geoscience to research the largest monastic ruins in the country.  Continue reading