Wildlife on the Great Orme

Matthew Oates, National Specialist on Nature and Wildlife for the National Trust, shares his love for the Great Orme in North Wales and the wildlife that calls it home.

The Great Orme is a place of pilgrimage for British naturalists.  Try finding a botanist or a butterfly enthusiast who hasn’t been there, or at least one who doesn’t desperately want to visit.  It is also on the birders’ radar, for its increasing Chough population and because it is a place where rare migrants turn up.  Bat, beetle, lichen, moss, moth and marine wildlife enthusiasts also know and love the Great Orme, as do geologists, geographers and archaeologists. In effect, it is a wildlife paradise.

The Great Orme, 12/05/15. Photograph Richard Williams richardwilliamsimages@hotmail.com 07901518159

The Great Orme, Credit National Trust, Richard Williams

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Original Irish Yew creates Sea Monster at Mount Stewart

A new Celtic figure sculpted from yew will welcome visitors to the world famous Mount Stewart gardens on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland.

l-r Neil Porteous, National Trust Head of Gardens and Alan Ryder, Mount Stewart Propagator with the new Formorian. Credit Elaine Hill

l-r Neil Porteous, National Trust Head of Gardens and Alan Ryder, Mount Stewart Propagator with the new Formorian. Credit Elaine Hill

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National Trust to complete largest ever survey of its coastal wildlife

BioBlitz12, Copyright National Trust, credit Steven Haywood

The National Trust are carrying out 25 BioBlitzes of coastal wildlife this summer. Copyright National Trust, credit Steven Haywood

This summer, hundreds of wildlife lovers and nature experts will help the National Trust to carry out its largest ever survey of coastal wildlife as part of the conservation charity’s year-long celebrations of the coast.

24 places along the 775 miles of coastline looked after by the National Trust across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will host a BioBlitz, a race against the clock involving rangers, experts and members of the public to record as many different species as possible.

A 25th BioBlitz will also be held at Kinver Edge in Staffordshire. Although land locked, this beautiful sandstone escarpment was once formed of ancient sand dunes and the survey will help uncover how some coastal wildlife can live away from the sea.

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South American super-nannies welcome new arrivals

Nannies for the new arrival might be on one famous couple’s minds, but nervous mothers in one part of North Wales are resting easier thanks to their two male super-nannies from South America.

An Alpaca to watch over ewe. Credit Wynn Owen

An Alpaca to watch over ewe. Credit Wynn Owen

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Clandon Park fire – update

The National Trust today revealed a significant amount of the collection had been saved from the Clandon Park fire during the salvage operation.

Crews from Surrey Fire Brigade were continuing to dampen down the stately home, following the blaze which ripped through the 18th century stately home, near Guildford, Surrey, on Wednesday afternoon.

The house has been left a burnt out shell by the blaze and a cordon remains in place around the site.

Staff are now assessing what they have been able to save and determining what has been lost.

Among the items that have been saved are:

Speaker Arthur Onslow calling upon Sir Robert Walpole to speak in the House of Commons by Sir James Thornhill (Melcombe Regis 1675 - Stalbridge 1734) and William Hogarth (London 1697 - London 1764)

Painting depicting Speaker Arthur Onslow calling upon Sir Robert Walpole to speak in the House of Commons ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

  • Painting depicting Speaker Arthur Onslow calling upon Sir Robert Walpole to speak in the House of Commons, by Sir James Thornhill  and William Hogarth 1730, from the Library
  • Board listing the rules to be observed in the servants’ hall at Clandon, eighteenth century.
  • Painting of an ostrich in a classical landscape, oil on canvas, by Francis Barlow (c.1626–1704), probably painted in the 1670s, from the Marble Hall.
  • Bible printed by John Basket in 1716-1717, from the Library
  • Folding screen incorporating Victorian and Edwardian Onslow family photographs, from the Library
  • A pair of giltwood side tables in the manner of John Gumley and James Moore, made in about 1725, from the State Bedroom
  • Silver, including some pieces by the noted silversmith Paul Storr, from the Speaker’s Parlour
  • The hangings of the Clandon state bed, made in about 1710. The hangings had just returned to Clandon following conservation treatment and were still packed up.
  • Set of hall chairs with the Onslow crest, from the Marble Hall at Clandon

 

Until a full assessment is done it will not be possible to confirm objects that did not survive.

The Trust’s Director General, Helen Ghosh said: “Although the house was pretty well burned out, the operation rescued a significant amount of the collection, and we are hopeful there will be more to recover when our specialists are able to get inside the building and start the painstaking archaeological salvage work. But there is a lot that we will never recover.

“The immediate sense of shock and loss amongst staff working at the property has quickly been replaced by a steely determination. The team at Clandon, staff from other properties and local volunteers – have responded with tremendous fortitude, calmness and professionalism to the event.

“When the overall impact of the fire is clearer, we will be able to decide on the longer term future of the house.

“I’d like to again thank the magnificent job the Surrey Fire Brigade. Their team-work and professionalism has been awe-inspiring.

“We’ve also been very touched by the offers of support, concern and good will from all over the country – we appreciate those messages.”

We cannot say at this stage what the future holds but donations raised will help Clandon Park face its uncertain future. To make a donation please call 0344 800 1895.

Updated statement on the fire at Clandon Park

Clandon Park image

Image credit John Jones

 

Speaking from the site of the blaze, the National Trust’s Director General, Helen Ghosh, said:

“The fire is now out but the scale of the damage to the mansion has been devastating. The house is now essentially a shell, most of the roof, ceiling and floors have collapsed into the bottom of the building.

“There is perhaps one room that is relatively untouched but, other than that, the interior is extensively damaged. The external walls are still standing.

“It’s a terrible sight. We have saved some significant items but certainly not everything that we wanted to save.

“We have a very well-rehearsed plan to get key items out of houses but it’s still too early to say just how much we have been able to save.

“It will clearly take some time to assess the full scale of the damage and to then consider what the options are for the house.

“The most important thing is that no-one was injured and everyone was safely evacuated. Although I’m upset by what has happened, I also feel huge pride at the tremendous work of our staff and volunteers in dealing with this terrible event. The local team have had marvellous support from colleagues from neighbouring properties and specialists from across the Trust.

“We’ve also had a large number of messages of support from members and the public – which we truly appreciate.

“I would also like to thank the amazing efforts of the fire brigade. We’ll continue to work closely with them over the coming days.”

We’re asking our supporters not to visit Clandon Park at this time to offer help as the incident is still being managed on site, and a fire investigation is underway.

Head for the hills – are ewe the right person for this one-off shepherding opportunity?

The National Trust is looking for a second shepherd to support an innovative conservation project in the foothills of Snowdon in North Wales.

Herding the sheep on the mountains above Hafod Y Llan. Credit Joe Cornish

Herding the sheep on the mountains above Hafod Y Llan. Credit Joe Cornish

The conservation charity’s in-hand farm, Hafod-y-Llan, manages 1600 Welsh Mountain sheep and every day between May and September, some of the flock is shepherded to new grazing areas away from any sensitive mountain habitats such as upland heaths and flushes (wet, boggy areas), in a bid to improve plant diversity on areas of the mountain.

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