Lighting up the night with Wallington’s 1000 Christmas trees

This Christmas, the National Trust are hosting over 760 events and celebrations across the country, from winter markets to festive craft workshops and beautiful light displays.

To mark the start of the seasonal celebrations, the charity is showcasing 1,000 handcrafted and decorates Christmas trees at Wallington, a stunning 17th century mansion and grounds in Northumberland.

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Credit: National Trust

The trees have been dressed by a team of 33 volunteers and staff, who have spent an incredible 744 collective hours preparing the festive decorations.

The centrepiece of the display is the 115-year-old 40ft Nookta Cypress tree, which stands in front of the main house. It takes a team of arboriculturalists on cherry pickers two days to hang 6,000 LED bulbs that transform the tree, with a further 6,000 lights adorning branches across the rest of the estate.

Wallington was donated to the National Trust by the Trevelyan family in 1942, and since then the charity has been working to preserve and protect the 13,000-acre estate.  The seasonal display was inspired by the Trevelyan family’s unique ‘Book of Trees’ which was kept by three generations – capturing the life cycle of trees around the property.

Robert Thompson, the House Steward for Wallington said: “The celebration of an old tradition – decorating the many trees we have here – really makes for a memorable experience for our visitors. It also highlights the incredible work the team do behind-the-scenes to make Christmas a special time for everyone.”

“We want our guests to experience the nation’s oldest Christmas stories and enjoy the places that keep these traditions alive.” said Leanne Ricketts, the National Trust’s Christmas Project Lead. “It’s only with the support of our visitors and members that our volunteers and staff can dedicate thousands of hours bringing the traditions of our places to life, and paving the way for families and friends to create their own Christmas with us.”

The National Trust Christmas in numbers:

  • 1,350,358 people visit National Trust sites during the festive season
  • 762 Christmas events and celebrations will take place at National Trust sites across the country
  • A team of 33 volunteers and staff at Wallington, have spent an incredible 744 hours collectively preparing the festive decorations
  • More than 1,000 trees will be showcased across the Wallington estate, with over 12,000 twinkling lights – 6,000 of which can be found displayed on the 115-year-old, 40ft Nookta Cypress tree.

One year on: Storm Desmond and the Lake District

One year on from Storm Desmond, National Trust rangers in the Lake District are still fixing the damaged caused by floods that left the charity with facing a million pound clean-up bill – including £600,000 worth of uninsured damage.

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View from Latrigg 2016. Credit John Malley

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PICTURES: National Trust rangers wake up to frost as temperatures plunge

With temperatures falling to minus 7 celsius last night, National Trust rangers were this morning treated to stunning heavy frosts across England and Wales.

Volunteer John Hubble captured the early morning sunshine at Croome Park, Worcestershire. The 250 year old parkland was designed by society landscaper Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. And rangers have spent the last decade working closely with a cattle grazier to restore the grassland landscape that would once have been familiar to Croome’s eighteenth century owners.

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Croome Park is bleached pink in the early morning sun. Credit: John Hubble/National Trust

Temperatures in parts of the Lake District dropped to minus 3 celsius last night. Loughrigg Fell, near Ambleside, was left covered in frost.

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A misty morning at Loughrigg in the Lake District. Credit: Rachel Forsyth/National Trust

Ranger Richard Newman was checking recently-installed boardwalks at Morden Hall Park, south London, when he caught this beautiful sunrise.

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Rangers caught this frosty sunrise at Morden Hall Park, south London. Credit: John Newman/National Trust

Parts of Llyn Ogwen in Snowdonia froze overnight – the first time this winter that the lake has frozen over. According to local legend Llyn Ogwen could be the final resting place of Excalibur – King Arthur’s famous sword.

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Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia, is rumoured to be where sword Excalibur was left by King Arthur’s knights. Last night it froze over for the first time this winter. Credit: Simon Rogers/National Trust

PICTURES: Restoring Stonehenge’s chalk grassland in world heritage site’s 30th year

As Stonehenge celebrates 30 years as a World Heritage Site, National Trust rangers and volunteers in Wiltshire are working closely with farmers to restore the chalk grassland landscape that would have been familiar to the monument’s original builders.

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National Trust – Farming in the Lakes

Mike Innerdale, Assistant Director of Operations in the North, said:

The majority of our farms in the Lakes are leased on multi-generational or life-time tenancies (51 out of 91) under specific legislation. The rest of our tenancies are offered for an average minimum length of 15-years, which is three times longer than the national average and goes well beyond the 10-year minimum the Tenants’ Farmers Association has been calling for across the industry.

We want to maintain and  build strong, long-term relationships with our farm tenants in the Lakes: they need to know we’re committed to them and supporting them –  so that they have the confidence to invest in their business.  We will be writing to all our tenants in the Lakes to reassure them of our long-term commitment to hill farming and hill  farmers. We are also discussing with farming representatives about how we make the tenancy renewal process as fair, transparent and open as possible. We want long-term tenants and there’s no reason why tenancies wouldn’t be renewed if both parties are happy.

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Somerset cider expert toasts “sweetest” year for decade as Barrington Court’s apple season ends

More than 650 gallons of cider has been pressed at the National Trust’s Barrington Court estate, Somerset, in a year that the charity’s cider expert says has produced the sweetest apple crop for a decade.

Gardeners and volunteers at the Somerset estate pressed the last of the apple crop on Monday (21 November). Over three months volunteers picked more than 12 tonnes of apples in Barrington Court’s orchards – equivalent to the weight of two African elephants. The apple crop is expected to produce over 1,000 gallons of cider and apple juice.

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Apples are prepared for pressing at Barrington Court, Somerset. More than 12 tonnes of apples have been pressed by volunteers at the Somerset estate, in a year that the National Trust’s pommelier claims has produced the sweetest juice for a decade. (c) National Trust Images/William Sha

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Storm Angus: natural flood management at Holnicote stops Exmoor villages flooding

Despite heavy rain at the start of the week the Exmoor villages of Allerford and Bossington in Devon escaped flooding, thanks largely to innovative work by the National Trust, project partners and farmers to restore nature and reduce flood risk in the National Park.

Since 2009, the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate has been the site of a government research project  exploring how natural flood management measures can reduce flooding on the rivers Aller and Horner.

The conservation charity looks after 90 per cent of the river catchment within the 20 square mile estate.

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Water rushes underneath Allerford’s historic packhorse bridge on Monday in the wake of Storm Angus. (c) Nigel Hester/National Trust

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