Natural Childhood report – five years on

Five years on from the Natural Childhood report more families than ever are enjoying nature at National Trust places.

Last year almost 4.5 million family members visited the conservation charity’s places – with visits growing steadily over the last five years.

BioBlitz5, Copyright National Trust, credit Steven Haywood

Continue reading

Sheringham rangers report ‘good’ frog spawning season

Rangers at Sheringham Park, Norfolk, have welcomed a ‘good’ year for frog spawn.

In the last month ponds around the country have echoed with the sound of grunting frogs and toads searching for a mate.

Female frogs and toads wake from hibernation swollen with spawn. The spawn is fertilised by the males as it is laid in ponds in late February and early March.

Malcolm Fisher, visitor services manager, said: “It has been a good year for frogs. We have one pond that was absolutely jam packed with frogs this year.

“The toads’ spawning season is just past its peak. There were times when people had to watch where they were walking because there were so many toads on the footpaths, trying to get to our ponds.”

Families visiting Sheringham Park can look forward to seeing the tadpoles grow into froglets and toadlets in the coming weeks.

Mr Fisher added: “We created one pond in the park just seven years ago. It’s a place we encourage families to visit. In the last three years we have had good numbers here.”

The parkland at Sheringham was set out by star Georgian landscape designer Humphrey Repton and is home to a variety of wildlife including chiffchaff, woodpeckers and the holly blue butterfly.

Parkland is one of fifty ‘priority’ wildlife habitats hand-picked by government as needing support. The National Trust aims to create 25,000 hectares of new ‘priority’ nature habitats by 2025 – equivalent to over 30,000 Premier League football pitches.

Find out more about Sheringham Park.

Two thousand ticking clocks form art installation at Nostell to celebrate one of England’s greatest inventors

From Saturday 25 March, the last day of Greenwich Meridian Time before the clocks spring forward an hour, visitors to the National Trust’s Nostell in Yorkshire will be able to see – and hear – an extraordinary art installation celebrating one of England’s greatest inventors, John Harrison.

Harrison’s Garden by internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram has been inspired by clockmaker Harrison, who created the marine chronometer and was born at Nostell in 1693, the son of the estate carpenter.

The exhibition is a display of 2,000 working clocks that will take over an entire room on the ground floor of the 18th-century house from 25 March – 9 July. In a fitting celebration of this local boy, Harrison’s Garden includes 500 clocks that have been donated by Nostell’s community, its staff and volunteers to add to those gathered by the artist.

Harrison’s Garden by Luke Jerram, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

With no formal education, Harrison spent his earlier years crafting clocks entirely from wood and Nostell is home to one of his only three surviving early wooden longcase clocks, created 300 years ago in 1717.

This significant piece of horological history is at the heart of a second exhibition, The Clock Stops, which opens alongside Harrison’s Garden at Nostell. Visitors will be able to view the original clock up-close, alongside a specially commissioned film about the clockmaker and a series of displays which celebrate his work.

Chris Blackburn, project curator said: “At Nostell we celebrate the work of ordinary people crafting the extraordinary. We’re very proud to look after one of John Harrison’s early handmade wooden clocks and we’re looking forward to telling his story through this fascinating contemporary installation.”

The clocks in Harrison’s Garden are clustered to form patterns and shapes along the floors and surfaces, with each one set to a different time so that visitors will hear a musical delight of ticking, clicking and chiming throughout the day.

John Harrison, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

Just as Harrison’s creativity started to tick at Nostell and developed over his lifetime, the contemporary installation will grow in size as it tours three other National Trust places across the country from 2017 – 2018.

Following its debut at Nostell between March and July, Harrison’s Garden is set to appear at Castle Drogo in Devon, Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire and Penrhyn Castle in Wales, with each place asking their local communities to donate 500 additional clocks to this growing installation. Jerram, a creator of sculptures, installations and live arts projects across the globe, is excited to see Harrison’s Garden expand in size and sound as it spreads into these historic spaces.

Luke said: “For me, Harrison’s Garden is an imagined landscape; a garden of clocks. It is a glimpse of a surreal fictional world or perhaps an image from one of John Harrison’s dreams. Like a garden, the installation is a living and growing collection of different clock ‘species’.”

The clock at Nostell that was created 300 years ago by John Harrison, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

 

The touring installation is a Trust New Art project, a programme that enriches experiences for regular visitors and attracts new audiences who may not have the opportunity to encounter world-class contemporary art where they live.

Grace Davies, the National Trust’s Contemporary Arts Programme Manager said: “We are very pleased not only to host, but also grow Harrison’s Garden, which will be a remarkable feast for the eyes and the ears, and so fitting to the birthplace of John Harrison, reminding us both literally and metaphorically of the passage of time. It is part of a season of inspirational work by artists that shines a new light on the places we look after, giving fresh perspectives that remain rooted in our rich and varied heritage.”

 

PICTURES: Spring daffodil display at Cornwall’s Cotehele

Bright yellow daffodils banished grey sky blues for Cornish tot Pearl Fogarty.

The four-year-old spent the day in the gardens at Cotehele, near Saltash, Cornwall, which boast more than 250 varieties of daffodils.

coteheledaffodils3

Pearl Fogarty, 4, with the daffodils at Cotehele, Cornwall. Credit: Steven Haywood / National Trust Images

Continue reading

Spring equinox: could we be in for a hot summer?

National Trust experts have predicted a hot summer could be on the way, as winter finally ends.

The spring equinox, which occurs today, formally marks the end of winter.

Matthew Oates, nature specialist at the National Trust, said: “We’ve had an unusually mild winter – yet again.

“UK-wide it has now been rather dry since mid-August. Perhaps a long, hot summer is brewing?

“Spring, by contemporary standards, is running just about on-time, though its progress will be slowed by cool, wet weather this week.

“However spring performs, the truth is that at spring’s beginning winter can be instantly forgotten.”

Longer, warmer days have seen wildlife begin to wake up at National Trust places across the country.

Rangers and gardeners from the conservation charity have taken to social media to share pictures of spring flowers, leaping lambs and nesting birds.

 

National Trust outlines ambition to help restore UK’s natural heritage

The National Trust today outlined ambitious plans to help reverse the decline in wildlife on all land in its ownership – including an aim to create 25,000 hectares of new habitats by 2025.

As one of the country’s largest landowners, the Trust wants to play its part in addressing the dramatic slump in UK species and improve soil quality and water quality in the countryside. An in-depth study last year found 56 per cent of species were in decline.

The conservation charity, which was set up to protect places of natural beauty, hopes to create and restore “Priority Habitats”, areas identified by the government as threatened and in need of conservation support, on 10 per cent of its land.

Highland cattle conservation grazing above the village of Malham, Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Highland cattle conservation grazing above the village of Malham, Yorkshire Dales National Park. Credit: National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Continue reading

Embleton Bay crowned BBC Countryfile Magazine’s beach of the year

BBC Countryfile Magazine readers have crowned Embleton Bay their beach of the year.

More than 56,000 readers voted in the poll that saw the Northumberland beach, which has been cared for by the National Trust since 1961, win the beach of the year category.

View of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north West The view shows the sand dunes on Embleton Beach in evening sunlight with the ruins of the 14th century stronghold visible in the distance

View of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north West The view shows the sand dunes on Embleton Beach in evening sunlight with the ruins of the 14th century stronghold visible in the distance. Credit: National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Continue reading