National Trust ‘secrets’ unveiled in new Channel 5 series

Filming at Lyme Park for a six part TV series about National trust

Filming at Lyme Park for a six part TV series about the National Trust. Credit National Trust images.

The National Trust has opened its doors to Channel 5 for a new series starting on Tuesday 07 February at 9pm, which will celebrate the stunning estates, historic houses and miles of breathtaking countryside and coastline in the conservation charity’s care.

Across six, 60 minute episodes, host Alan Titchmarsh will find out about the Trust’s conservation work and discover the stories hidden behind its buildings and gardens in the new series, Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh.

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National Trust statement on grounds-only entry pricing

Tony Berry, visitor experience director for the National Trust, said: “We are not abolishing all grounds-only entry prices, but there are a few properties where we have simplified their admission prices and now offer one ‘whole property’ ticket price.
“We have only made this change in places where the majority of visitors were already paying for a full access ticket, and the new simpler prices have had no adverse impact on the number of people coming to enjoy a day out at our places. In fact, we’ve seen a significant increase in visitors taking out membership at these properties, generating extra income to help look after the buildings, grounds and facilities. Millions of people meanwhile continue to enjoy free access to hundreds of outdoor spaces in the countryside and along the coast managed by the Trust on behalf of the nation.”

Could you be the National Trust’s new Farne Islands ranger?

Fed up with the rat race? With no running water and thousands of puffins as your only neighbours, a new National Trust vacancy promises the ultimate escape.

Schmoozing business contacts will be tricky as a ranger on the remote Farne Islands, but it’s a wildlife enthusiast’s dream – promising jaw-dropping sunrises, a one minute commute and one of England’s largest seal colonies on your doorstep.

The National Trust has cared for the islands since 1925. Set a mile off the Northumberland coast, the islands have been protected for 189 years and are one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves.

Potential applicants will need to be hardy. Rangers on the islands must brave dive-bombing attacks from Arctic terns, no running water and harsh spring storms that can see them marooned on the islands for weeks at a time.

Gwen Potter, National Trust countryside manager for the Northumberland Coast, said: “This job isn’t the normal 9 to 5. Being good with PowerPoint isn’t a priority.

“We’re looking for someone with a passion for wildlife and conservation – and who wants to share that passion with others.

“Rangers have been based on the Farne Islands for almost 190 years, with scientists carrying out research here for decades. Last year a Springwatch-backed study found that a Farne Islands Arctic tern had made a record-breaking migration, flying 96,000km to Antarctica and back.

“Living here you truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world. It’s a wildlife-lover’s paradise: open the curtains in the morning and you’re greeted with crowds of fluffy seal pups or scampering Arctic tern chicks.

“As a ranger you’ll be in charge of monitoring the wildlife and seals on the islands – as well as assisting with scientific research.

“Every season is different and you’ll be doing everything from carrying out repairs and counting cute seal pups in October to blow-drying sickly Arctic terns or handling puffin chicks during our five-yearly count of the colourful birds.

“But it’s not a job for the faint-hearted. All our water on the island has to be brought in by boat – and we’ve not got a washing machine. Rangers can end up marooned in their cottage during the seal mating season and the island’s thousands of Arctic terns are known for diving at people’s heads in a bid to defend their chicks.”

As one of two full-time rangers, the successful candidate will live on the islands for nine months a year. They will be joined by 11 seasonal rangers over the summer, living on the remote islands 24 hours a day for five days a week.

Inner Farne, one of 20 islands that make up the Farne Islands archipelago, was once home to a string of hermit saints 1,500 years ago – most famously Saint Cuthbert.

But with 50,000 visitors to the islands every year, hermits need not apply for the position of ranger.

Gwen said: “Our Farne Islands rangers are a close knit team. Storms can shut the islands off for days. And with tens of thousands of visitors every year, you really need to be able to get on with people and show them how they can join us to help nature.”

Applications for the position of ranger close on 7 February, 2017. To apply visit:


Statement on Government’s response to House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee report on flooding

Reacting to the Government’s response to the EFRA committee report on flooding, Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust, said: “Farming that helps reduce the risk of flooding for communities should be central to the government’s 25 year plan for the natural environment and any system of financial support for farmers post-Brexit.

“Natural flood management has proved its cost-effectiveness. With more frequent floods, we can’t afford to simply build bigger hard defences and pour more concrete.

“But if we want to scale these projects up and set them on a sustainable footing, we’ll need to create new ways for farmers to earn money from farming that cuts flooding, boosts wildlife and improves soils. As a landowner, we can and are playing our part in testing new approaches. But Defra’s 25 year plan for the environment coupled with a UK replacement for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy could deliver the scale of change needed.

“We hope that the Government will soon set out their proposals for both of these so that things can start to change on the ground.”

The National Trust gave written evidence to the select committee’s inquiry last year, welcoming the committee’s report published in November.

GALLERY: A week of spectacular January sunsets and sunrises at National Trust places

National Trust rangers and conservation advisers have captured some incredible photographs of the sun rising and setting this week, showing the British countryside at its most colourful.

Speculating on the cause of the good sunsets, National Trust nature specialist, Matthew Oates, said: “One of the main positive features of winter in its sunsets, in this case generated by a massive area of high pressure to the east.

“If we had this weather pattern in summer it would lead to incredibly hot weather – the roads would melt and swarms of butterflies would cross the channel.”


DEVON: Sunrise above Comberoy Farm on the Killerton Estate on Thursday evening. Credit: Alex Raeder / National Trust

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VIDEO: Meet Gavin, the one-horned ram helping rare plants on the Great Orme farm

THREE HUNDRED sheep make their home on a wind-swept clifftop in north Wales – but a new arrival has left the headland’s rams feeling sheepish.

20-month-old Gavin was bought by Great Orme farmer Dan Jones and charity Plantlife in November to breed with his 70 Herdwick-breed sheep.


Meet Gavin, the one-horned Herdwick ram. He belongs to Dan Jones, farmer at Parc Farm on the Great Orme in North Wales. 

Watch the full video of Gavin on the Great Orme.

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National Trust rangers go head-to-head in fight for Countryfile Magazine’s Nature Reserve of the Year award

North Sea puffins will take on Dorset lizards this month, as two National Trust nature reserves go head to head in a battle to be crowned Countryfile Magazine’s Nature Reserve of the Year.

The Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast, and Dorset’s Studland Heath National Nature Reserve appear on the shortlist of five nature reserves chosen by BBC Radio 4 presenter Brett Westwood.

A puffin on the Farne Islands, Northumberland.

A puffin on the Farne Islands, Northumberland. The Farne Islands has 23 nesting species of seabird, including thousands of puffins.

Countryfile Magazine readers have until 28 February to vote for their favourite reserve. And National Trust reserve managers have already been pressing their claims to the crown.

Gwen Potter, countryside manager on the Northumberland Coast, manages the Farne Islands. Sitting a over a mile off the Northumberland coast, the islands are home to around 37,000 pairs of puffins – as well as a team of rangers who live full-time on the islands for six months every year.

Gwen, who was previously a ranger in mid-Wales, said: “When you arrive on the Farne Islands by boat what first hits you is the smell of more than 82,000 pairs of birds. But the smell is soon forgotten when you feel Arctic terns swoop over your head, puffins waddling oblivious across the boardwalks and shags tripping over their own precious pieces of seaweed as they bring them back to their nest.

“The Farne Islands have had rangers for 189 years. These rangers have helped the islands to be what they are today – but they would be nothing without their seabirds and seals.”

But the Farne Islands face stiff competition from Studland Heath. The 1,500 hectare heathland on Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck boasts all six species of native reptiles – including sand lizards and adders.

David Brown, ecologist for the National Trust on Purbeck, said: “I don’t think there is anywhere else in Britain that better balances what a nature reserve is supposed to be. It is an inspiring breathing space for millions of visitors each year, yet it still retains a feeling of wildness and a breathtaking range of exceptional quality habitats for thousands of native species.

“Change is the only constant at Studland – as new dunes are constantly being formed that enclose lower lying wetter areas. As nature takes over they become colonized by some of our rarest plants and animals. We know of at least three species that occur here and nowhere else in England.”

Nature Reserve of the Year is just one of 12 categories in the Countryfile Magazine awards.
Among the landscapes cared for the National Trust up for awards are:

  • Embleton Bay, Northumberland (Beach of the Year). Cared for by the Trust since 1961, the huge stretch of sandy beach offers views of imposing Dunstanburgh Castle – as well as glimpses of rare wildlife such as otter, little tern, purple milk-vetch, grey partridge and hare.
  • Malhamdale, Yorkshire Dales (Holiday Destination of the Year). Limestone cliffs tower over the beck and fields at Malhamdale, near Skipton. It’s a short walk from Malhamdale is England’s highest freshwater lake, Malham Tarn – home to otters and water voles.
  • Porthucurno, Cornwall (Beach of the Year). Underneath this famous Cornish beach once ran the first submarine telegraph cables – used for sending messages from Britain to India. The beach was donated to the National Trust by the Cable and Wireless plc in 1994.
  • Lake District (Landmark of the Year). National Trust rangers and tenant farmers care for a fifth of the fells and farmland in the Lake District National Park, including England’s highest peak Scafell Pike and Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top Farm.
  • White Cliffs of Dover (Landmark of the Year). An iconic landscape, the best way to experience the White Cliffs is on a clifftop walk to South Foreland Lighthouse – built in 1843 and now in the care of the National Trust. If you’re visiting in summer you might catch a glimpse of the chalkhill blue butterfly and pyramidal orchid.

Polls for the Countryfile Magazine awards close on 28 February. To vote visit