UPDATE: Rangers begin clearing up after Storm Doris

National Trust rangers and gardeners have spent the morning cleaning up after Storm Doris forced more than fifty National Trust places to close yesterday.

The storm which saw up to 90mph gusting over the countryside toppled trees at the conservation charity’s gardens and parks across England – including a 200 year old oak tree on the historic Vyne estate in Hampshire.

Fifty one National Trust places took the decision to close to the public yesterday. They included Arlington Court in Devon and Kedleston Hall, near Derby.

Although the storm is predicted to blow itself out by the end of the week, people planning to visit their local National Trust property are urged to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk for any updates on continued closures

High winds brought down a 200 year old oak tree at The Vyne, Hampshire, yesterday afternoon. The Tudor estate had taken the precautionary step of closing to visitors.

At Bickerton Hill, Cheshire, rangers have spent the morning removing a large oak tree and smaller conifers that had smashed into the estate’s access road.

Jon Twigg, Area Ranger for the National Trust in Cheshire, said: “It will probably be next week before we know the full scale of the damage at our sites in the Wirral.”

Trees have also been toppled at Morden Hall Park, south London, Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, and Killerton, near Exeter.

And at Woolacombe, north Devon, the storms left jellyfish stranded on the beach.

Elsewhere the storms brought more welcome news. A rare breed lamb born last night at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, has been christened ‘Doris’ by rangers.

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Doris the lamb. Credit: National Trust

Andrew Cappell, a National Trust shepherd with 36 years’ experience, said: “Doris will be spending her first day in a pen so we can make sure she’s well, but then she’ll be out greeting visitors to Sutton Hoo over the next few weeks.

“I’ll be down at Sutton Hoo tomorrow morning to make sure she’s got a full belly. And if the weather’s fine we’ll introduce her to the rest of the flock.”

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Meet ‘Doris’ the rare-breed lamb born at Sutton Hoo as the winds raged

A rare-breed lamb born last night as yesterday’s storm blew through has been christened ‘Doris’ by National Trust rangers at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk.

Born in the early hours of Friday, the lamb is the first of the year for the flock and the first pure-breed Manx Loaghtan to join the sheep cared for by National Trust shepherd Andrew Capell.

The flock, which spend most of the year on the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, move to drier ground over the winter months, with many of the expectant ewes moving to Sutton Hoo.

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Doris the lamb. Credit: National Trust

Andrew, 52, said: “She’s definitely an early arrival, but looking really healthy and is the first of several pure Manx-Loaghtans we’ll be welcoming this spring. She’s only six hours old but already she’s very lively.

“After all the drama of the weather with Storm Doris, there really was only one name we could choose for her.”

Andrew and sheepdog Kite look after the Orford Ness flock which includes a number of rare breeds, all chosen for their ability to thrive in the challenging coastal landscape.

Known as a ‘conservation grazing’ flock, the sheep are hard workers on the Ness, moving from field to field where they keep the grass well mown and generate ideal conditions for other wildlife to thrive.

Part of the flock is currently grazing the burial mounds at Sutton Hoo, where in 1939 archaeologists discovered the remains of a spectacular boat burial dating back to the seventh century.

Archaeological survey work taking place later in the year means that the grass needs to be shorter. And, because of the historical significance of the mounds, heavy mechanical mowers cannot be used.

Andrew, who has spent 36 years as a shepherd, added: “We have another 25 ewes expecting, some are Manx Loaghtans and some are White-faced Woodlands.

“Doris will be spending her first day in a pen so we can make sure she’s well, but then she’ll be out greeting visitors to Sutton Hoo over the next few weeks.

“I’ll be down at Sutton Hoo tomorrow morning to make sure she’s got a full belly. And if the weather’s fine we’ll introduce her to the rest of the flock.”

All the lambs born at Sutton Hoo this spring will stay there until April, when they will move back to Orford Ness.

The National Trust names new Director of Curation and Experience

The National Trust has appointed John Orna-Ornstein as its first Director of Curation and Experience.

John will join the conservation charity from Arts Council England, where he has been the national Director of Museums and regional director for arts and culture in the East of England.

During that time, he has played a key role in funding, developing and advocating for England’s regional museums at a time of huge pressure on their public funding.

He spent his early career as a curator in the British Museum’s department of coins and medals, going on to lead the museum’s programme of national work and its community partnerships across London.

John will join the Trust in June and will lead the delivery of one of the charity’s key strategic aims – to provide experiences for its visitors that ‘move, teach and inspire’ across its many built and outdoor places.

He will have specific responsibility for leading the curatorial and visitor experience strategies at the Trust, which welcomed a record numbers of people to its houses, countryside and coastline last year.

Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director General, said: “John’s career is an impressive blend of curation, public engagement and arts experience, both at a hands-on and strategic level, making him the outstanding candidate for this key role.

“It’s an exciting time for John to be joining our charity. We’re doubling the number of curators we employ – 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.”

Commenting on his appointment, John said: “The National Trust cares for many of my favourite places as well as some extraordinary collections.

“I’m enormously excited to have the opportunity to work with the Trust in bringing those places and collections to life, and making sure they are relevant to the widest possible range of people across the UK.

“As I leave Arts Council England I’m proud of what it is achieving, and particularly of the new funding and support it is making available to museums. I’ll look forward to exploring new opportunities for the Trust to collaborate with artists, creative organisations and museums.”

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PICTURES: National Trust properties hunker down as Storm Doris hits the UK

High winds have forced more than fifty National Trust places to close today as Storm Doris battered the UK.

The storm, which has seen winds of up to 90mph gusting over the countryside, toppled several trees – including a 200 year old oak tree on the historic Vyne estate in Hampshire.

Fifty one National Trust places across England took the decision to close to the public. They include Arlington Court in Devon and Kedleston Hall, near Derby.

Although the storm is predicted to blow itself out by the end of the week, people planning to visit their local National Trust property are urged to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk for any updates on closures.

High winds brought down a 200 year old oak tree at The Vyne, Hampshire, this afternoon. The Tudor estate had taken the precautionary step of closing to visitors.

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A fallen oak tree at the Vyne, Hampshire. CREDIT: Karen Legg / National Trust

Rangers at Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury, estimate that winds reached speeds of 60mph this morning and bosses at the Shropshire estate are keeping a close eye on the weather in case they are forced to close the parkland later.

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Swirling leaves at Attingham Park, Shropshire. CREDIT: Fiona Holdsworth/National Trust

Fiona Holdsworth, Visitor Experience Officer at Attingham Park, snapped these swirling leaves earlier today.

“It is really blustery,” she said. “Our tree surgeons are on standby in case any trees come down.”

Elsewhere, ranger Jennifer James caught the stormy conditions at the Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim.

Water rushed over the stepping stones at Cray Gill, after the Yorkshire Dales were hit by heavy rain.

And the ranger team at Dyrham Park, near Bath, have discovered a novel way of measuring the wind speed – with Area Ranger Matt Baker’s long beard flapping in the 60 mph gusts.

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Area ranger Matt Baker at Dyrham Park, near Bath. CREDIT: Beth Watson/National Trust

The impact of Storm Doris on wildlife are expected to be limited, conservation experts from the charity said.

Matthew Oates, Nature Specialist at the National Trust, said: “Because of the relatively low rainfall, Storm Doris is unlikely to have a serious effect on wildlife and habitats.

“It’s main impact on wildlife, though, may be through bringing down rook nests at a time when nests are being built and eggs laid.

“And there may be a sting in its tail across East Anglia and Lincolnshire later today, depending on how much the storm deepens.”

National Trust statement: Car parking at our countryside and coastal locations

Our 4.7 million members continue to park for free.  Non-members have been charged to park at many of our countryside and coastal locations for some time. 

 

Over the past two years we have been gradually introducing pay and display machines at car parks with over 25 spaces, replacing the ‘person in a hut’ and donation box models.

 

The money we raise helps us look after the coast, countryside and footpaths that we would otherwise not be able to do.

 

Special arrangements have been made at Levant for the descendants of people killed in the mine disaster to park for free.

 

Funds raised from car parking will be used to maintain and improve car park facilities, help with footpath repairs, marking out new pathways to improve access and further aid visitor enjoyment and funding conservation projects to encourage wildlife. 

 

Charges will vary depending on location and the average car park fee will be £1 an hour and up to £5 for a whole day. 

 

We want people to visit and enjoy the special places in our care and we need to get the basics right in terms of providing good facilities while balancing this with caring for the surrounding countryside and wildlife, and in the face of rising conservation costs. 

 

As Britain’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust cares for over 250,000 hectares of countryside and 775 miles of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Over 200 million visits are made every year to our countryside and coastline putting increasing pressure on the landscape and facilities. 

‘Spring is on the way; you can smell it’, say National Trust Gardeners

The 2017 Annual National Trust Valentines Day Flower Count  at Greenway House  the former  home of Agatha Christie - Amy U’Ren amongst the camellias

The 2017 Annual National Trust Valentines Day Flower Count at Greenway Hous,e the former home of Agatha Christie – Amy U’Ren amongst the camellias. Credit National Trust, Steven Haywood

National Trust garden teams in the south west [1] have conducted their annual flower count for Valentine’s Day and although spring seems to be on the way, just as we would expect, what is noticeable is how many scented plants are already out in flower at this early time of year.

Gardeners from across National Trust gardens in the south west recorded 1,737 plants blooming in this year’s 12th annual Valentine’s Flower Count, which is 34% down on last year’s figure of 2,644. However, while numbers are down on 2016, they are still higher than the previous three years [2]. Continue reading

Hundreds of trees planted in 24 hours in bid to reduce Lake District flooding

Hundreds of trees will be planted across the Lake District today (Friday 10 February) in the first mass tree planting event ever attempted by the National Trust in the national park.

The trees will help reduce the impacts of future flooding and restore wood pasture habitats that have been lost, National Trust rangers say.

More than 90 people will plant a total of 1,400 trees at five sites in the Lake District National Park, including the shores of Lake Windermere and the approach to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

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Saplings planted in the shadow of flood damage in the Coledale valley, near Keswick. Credit: John Malley / National Trust

As they mature, it is expected that the trees will help to trap rainwater and mitigate the effects of flooding. In late 2015 Storm Desmond brought record rainfall to parts of the Lake District, with 34.1cm of rain falling on Honister Pass, Borrowdale, over just 24 hours. Storm Desmond left the National Trust facing a £1million clean-up bill.

Mike Innerdale, assistant director of operations for the National Trust, said: “This is a real community effort, with dozens of volunteers helping to plant trees – restoring important wood pasture habitats and slow the flow of storm water off the fells.

“The Lake District is visited by millions of people every year. But the recent floods show just how fragile a landscape it is.

“The 2015 floods caused millions of pounds worth of damage, leaving scars on the landscape that are yet to heal.

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Planting trees in Coledale, near Keswick. Credit: National Trust

“With major storms occurring more frequently, we’re working with farmers and local residents to look at ways of making the Lakes more resilient to flooding.”

At Braithwaite, near Keswick, rangers, residents and volunteers from the Woodland Trust will plant 500 native broadleaf trees over two hectares of pasture in the Coledale valley. In 2015 flooding caused a major landslide in the valley that lead to the village of Braithwaite being inundated with silt, boulders and other debris.

Emily Brooks, who lives in Braithwaite, said: “I’m really pleased to be planting trees above Braithwaite to help to reduce the impact that extreme rainfall has had on our village. It feels like important work now, to better protect our homes from future flooding.”

By planting the trees, Rangers and volunteers plan to restore areas of ancient woodland, create wood pasture and plant new hedgerows. These will offer a welcome home for birds like warblers, flycatchers and redstarts.

All of the 1,400 saplings that will be planted are native woodland species, including oak, birch, hazel, rowan and crab apple.