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.

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

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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.

 

PICTURES: New Lake District exhibition celebrates dying nature words

A new photography exhibition at the childhood home of Lake District poet William Wordsworth celebrates the dying dialect words for Britain’s landscape.

The Word-Hoard: Love letters to our land, which opens at the National Trust’s Wordsworth House in Cockermouth tomorrow (11 March), has been guest-curated by award-winning nature writer Robert Macfarlane. It follows his 2015 bestseller Landmarks, which explored the regional dialect words connected to nature, terrain and weather.

The exhibition brings together some of Macfarlane’s favourite dialect nature words alongside 25 photographs of the British landscape by the author’s parents, Rosamund and John Macfarlane.

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Watergaw (Rainbow, Scots). Photograph shows the view from Watergate, Lowestwater, towards Crummock Water (Lake District). Credit: Rosamund & John Macfarlane

Robert Macfarlane, who teaches English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, said: “I spent two years gathering as many of our place-terms and nature-words as possible, from more than thirty languages and dialects around Britain and Ireland, and then releasing them back into imaginative circulation.

“Without words, the landscape can easily become a blandscape: generalised, indifferent, unobserved.”

The words in Macfarlane’s ‘hoard’ include shreep, an East Anglian word for mist clearing slowly, and sun-scald, a Sussex word for a patch of bright sunlight on water.

The Word-Hoard will be open daily, except Friday, until 3 September, and admission is included in entry to the house and garden.

For more see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house.

New research lands Victorian fin whale discovery at Cotehele

A giant jawbone in a Cornish stately home has at last been found to be from a Victorian fin whale – thanks to a mixture of cutting edge DNA analysis and archival research.

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Acting house and collections manager Nick Stokes with the whale bones at Cotehele, Cornwall. (c) Steven Haywood / National Trust Images

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VIDEO: Lamb born at height of Storm Doris ‘doing well’, says shepherd

A rare breed lamb born at Sutton Hoo last week as Storm Doris gusted over Britain is ‘doing well’, says the National Trust shepherd who helped with her birth.

The Manx loaghtan lamb, who was born in the early hours of Friday morning at the historic Suffolk site, was christened ‘Doris’ by rangers from the conservation charity.

Doris the lamb, born last week at Sutton Hoo. (c) National Trust

Doris the lamb, born last week at Sutton Hoo. (c) Sarah Haile/National Trust

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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.”

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.