Expanding two precious National Parks

The Government has today announced that it is expanding the size of two of England’s National Parks – the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Reacting to this exciting announcement Mike Innerdale, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations in the North Region, said: “Expanding the size of these two precious National Parks, loved by millions of people is great news.

“These treasured landscapes play such an important part in connecting people to beautiful places, rich in nature and wonderful human stories. The two new larger National Parks mean that we’ll be able to work more effectively with our partner organisations on a bigger scale to enrich the natural environment and create the space for wildlife and people to flourish.

View of two adult walkers returning from their farm trail on Low Sizergh Farm in Kendal, Cumbria. The path is on a route around the farm and estate. (M.R.)

View of two adult walkers returning from their farm trail on Low Sizergh Farm in Kendal, Cumbria. The path is on a route around the farm and estate.

“We especially welcome the recognition of the scenic, cultural and ecological qualities of the National Trust’s Sizergh Estate and the contribution that this special place will make to the newly expanded Lake District National Park in the future. Its a place enjoyed by walkers, nature lovers and people that are passionate about history”

National Trust sign for the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire.

National Trust sign for the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire.

The National Trust owns 25% of the Lake District National Park including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, and farms given to the conservation charity by Beatrix Potter. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park the Trust manages 6,000 hectares including Malham Tarn and Upper Wharfedale.

Around 40 per cent of National Trust land can be found in the National Parks of England and Wales.

Isle of Wight farm set to help birds and butterflies flourish

Farmland acquired on the south west coast of the Isle of Wight is the largest coastal acquisition by the National Trust in England since 1993.

The view from Dunsbury Farm towards the Needles

The view from Dunsbury Farm towards the Needles

The 165 hectare Dunsbury Farm is the third major coastal acquisition of the year as the Trust celebrates 50 years of its Neptune Coastline Campaign.

Neighbouring the farm is the wildlife rich chalk downland of Compton, home to 33 species of butterflies including the Adonis blue, Common blue and Chalkhill blue, and an oasis of wildflowers such as the internationally rare early gentian and at least seven species of orchid.

The 15-mile Tennyson Trail, named after Alfred Lord Tennyson, skirts the northern edge of the farm. Tennyson loved striding out over the open downland, with its dramatic sea views. Whilst living on the Isle of Wight, as Poet Laureate, he was inspired to write many of his classic poems. To the south lies the picturesque Trust-owned Brook and Compton Bays.

Plans for Dunsbury Farm will help to expand the range for the Glanville Fritillary butterfly

Plans for Dunsbury Farm will help to expand the range for the Glanville Fritillary butterfly

A key vision for the farm is to help create the right farmland habitat for wildlife to flourish. The Isle of Wight is home to the UK’s only endemic population of the rare Glanville Fritillary butterfly, and Compton Bay is the traditional stronghold of that population.

The Trust will work in partnership with Butterfly Conservation to create the right conditions to safeguard the habitat of this beautiful insect. It relies on crumbling cliffs, and the downs behind the coast provide additional breeding habitat. The acquisition of Dunsbury is crucial to the future of the Glanville fritillary as the Isle of Wight coast continues to change.

Plans will also be developed to help farmlands birds, once a common sight, return to the land. These include the linnet, Dartford warbler, stonechat, meadow pipit, skylark, gold finch, bullfinch, hedge sparrow, grey partridge and yellow hammer.

Mixed farming, with livestock such as cattle and sheep, together with growing cereals such as wheat, will be important to provide diversity for wildlife. Farming will be un-intensive, with light grazing, wide field margins and stubble fields left to provide winter food for birds. The Trust hopes to achieve this by combining it with their farm at Compton, working with the farm tenant to produce a viable unit. Walkers will then be able to experience more wildlife as they use the network of footpaths across the farm.

Funding to buy the farm has come from a mixture of legacies and from the thousands of supporters who have generously given to the Neptune Campaign.

Tony Tutton, National Trust Isle of Wight General Manager, said: “This farm is a crucial piece of the coastal jigsaw for the National Trust on the Isle of Wight. It allows us to plan for the future of a coast which is eroding at a rate of 1.5 metres per year, allowing us to maintain access to this much loved part of the island, and to re-wild this landscape, making it healthy and beautiful for the future.

“Our plan is to introduce the sort of farming that will be an exemplar, by being both productive, and good for wildlife.

“Given time and lots of hard work the farm will also become a vital place where we can combine people’s enjoyment of butterflies and farmland birds with the stunning views along the chalk cliffs towards the Needles.”

The Farm sits within the Isle of Wight’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and ensures the future protection of an unbroken stretch of coastline that is one of the most significant in the UK to combine wildlife, geology and recreation.

Ground-breaking mapping project reveals 50 years of land use change along the coast

  • Original survey carried out in 1965 to highlight the impact of development on our coastline has been updated to reveal land use changes
  • 94% of coastline considered to be ‘pristine’ 50 years ago is now protected through the National Trust or through the planning system
  • While three quarters (74%) of the coast remains undeveloped, urban/built-up areas have increased by 42% (17,557 hectares), adding the equivalent of a city the size of Manchester to our coastline
Sunset over Wembury Point, near Plymouth, Devon.

Sunset over Wembury Point, near Plymouth, Devon. Credit National Trust

One of the biggest mapping projects of the 20th century has been repeated fifty years on by the National Trust to understand how the way that land is used along the coast has changed since 1965.

The report, released today by the conservation charity, finds that overall the modern planning system has worked with development contained and directed to the most suitable locations. However, it also warns against complacency and highlights the need, too, for a marine planning system that effectively manages the competing priorities at the coast.

Continue reading

New nature reports: Nature needs us and we need nature

An ambitious long-term plan is needed to save nature as the Government considers its spending priorities.

We need a plan to help nature recover and everyone needs to play their part

We need a plan to help nature recover and everyone needs to play their part

That is the clear message from the Response for Nature reports published today by a coalition of leading conservation organisations, including the National Trust, RSPB and Wildlife Trusts.

The reports, each setting out a vision for restoring nature in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will be launched at events in London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh this evening (Tuesday, 13 October).

They follow 2013’s State of Nature report, the first ever comprehensive stock-take of our native species. It revealed that 60% of the species studied had declined over recent decades. One in ten species were at threat of disappearing altogether.

Each of the reports launched tonight make key recommendations to which governments must respond to, to help restore nature in the UK.

A misty sunrise on Ibsley Common, New Forest, Hampshire, in August.

The reports call on central and devolved governments to deliver an inspiring vision for nature, establish a network of special places for nature to help threatened species recover and improve the connection of young people to nature for their own health and well-being and for nature’s future.

Speaking tonight at the London launch, presenter of children’s programme Deadly 60 and Springwatch, Steve Backshall, will say: “The State of Nature report revealed where we are. Now we need a plan for where we should go. The Response for Nature document starts us on that long road.

“Action can’t be simply hived off to a single, hard-pressed department in Whitehall. It must run as a matter of course through every department, from Defra to the Treasury. Every individual, from top to bottom, needs to embrace it, and act on it.”

Puffins on the Farne Islands off of the Northumberland coast

Puffins on the Farne Islands off of the Northumberland coast

David Bullock, Head of Nature Conservation at the National Trust and co-author of the Response for Nature report, says: “We have to do more than simply halt nature’s decline. We need to reverse it once and for all.

“That can only happen if we are able to connect nature with people. If people understand why nature matters, they’re going to care. And if they care about nature, they’re more likely to act to protect it.”

Read the full Response for Nature reports at http://www.rspb.org.uk/responsefornature. You can join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #responsefornature

Renowned poet helps us celebrate coast

Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke, has collaborated with the National Trust to pen the start of a new poem highlighting to the nation the powerful emotions our diverse coastline can convey and the care that is needed to protect it. The release of the poem will kick-start a summer-long campaign to encourage people to share their love for the awe-inspiring beaches, cliff tops, piers and more that make this island nation.

Renowned poet Dr John Cooper Clarke has written the final verses of the Nation’s Ode to the Coast, a new poem celebrating the nation’s enduring love affair with our beautiful coastline, with the help of coastal memories and stories you shared.

We invited you to help Clarke complete his poem, which he started earlier this year, over the summer. The poem takes inspiration from over 11,500 contributions and to mark the launch of the final ode we’ve created a film featuring 17 people who shared why they love the coast.

The poem marks 50 years of our successful Neptune Coastline Campaign. Thanks to the people-powered campaign we look after 775 miles of coastline from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Gower Peninsula, the Jurassic Coast to the Giant’s Causeway.  Continue reading

The sounds of our shores

NT - SOS logos





Imogen Tinkler, communications intern for the National Trust, looks back at some of the highlights from the ‘Sounds of our shores’ project

After three months, over 680 uploads and around 67,000 listens, the ‘Sounds of Our Shores’ project in collaboration with the British Library and the National Trust for Scotland has come to a close.

As well as encouraging people to get out and explore the seaside, the aim of this coastal sound map was to create a ‘snapshot’ of the UK coastline that could be preserved for future generations. Yet the sounds that we have received not only create a sense of what our shores sound like in 2015, but also reveal much about our relationship with the coast.

Waves crash against the rocks at Heddon's Mouth, North Devon.

Waves crash against the rocks at Heddon’s Mouth, North Devon. Credit National Trust.

One discovery we’ve made through this project is the sheer diversity of sounds that can be heard near the sea. On the soundmap, the classic noises of seagulls and waves breaking on the shore sit alongside some more unusual contributions, such as the roar of ‘The Deluge’ chain flush inside the (now disused) ornate Victorian toilets on Rothesay seafront in Glasgow.   Continue reading

A collection of wild words

Last week we posted a blog about gathering together wild words that capture our relationship with the natural world and we’ve had a great response from our members and supporters – thank you. Writer and naturalist Robert Macfarlane had put out a call for local and regional words, the autumn issue of the National Trust magazine, to include in the paperback edition of his book Landmarks, which will be out in spring 2016.

Here are some of the suggestions that have arrived in our in-boxes in the last seven days and there is still plenty of time (until the end of October) to add your favourites to the list by emailing magazine@nationaltrust.org.uk. You can tweet your words about the natural world using the hashtag #naturewords.

Ladybird on sunflower leaves at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, in June.

In Norfolk a ladybird is known as a ‘Bishybarnybee’

Wild words:
From Hampshire we have ‘emmits’ for ants

A few Norfolk Words:
Dodman is a snail
Bishybarnybee is ladybird
Mavish is song thrush
Sowpig is woodlouse
Spink is a finch

A Staffordshire wild word is ‘puthery’ -the intense stillness and humidity before a thunderstorm. Staffordshire

Words with possible multiple origins via south Oxfordshire, Somerset, Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Angus:
Frith: the darkness of a forest in the height of summer
Foggage: mossy grass (used by my Scottish grandmother)
Harkwell: a woodpecker
Lummy: round straw bale
Moorcock: a grouse
Tath: cowpats
Ughten: twilight in the morning
Whinnock: a little piglet

A nice Northumberland wild word – ‘Clarts’ meaning Muddiness under foot.

A collection of Staffordshire wild words:
‘Slang’ – a small wood, usually one that’s grown up around a Marl Pit
‘Marl Pit’- a pond or depression where in days gone by red clay or “Marl” was dug, either for pottery, brickmaking or to make sandy soils heavier and less acidic

In Cumbria a ‘lonning’ means a back lane, a green lane or much used track in rural locations

Some Lancashire dialect words:
Neddy is a Hare
Lops is Fleas
Moidie, mowdywarp are words for a Mole
Hay moo, hay rick are words for Hay stack
Clags, clart are works for mud
Plank platt are words for a bridge

Yorkshire wild words:
foss/ force means a waterfall
frozzed referring to face or fingers being very cold
clarty means dirty, muddy, sticky

And finally a ‘Spronky’ is a word to describe word root vegetables which have grown with multiple roots/don’t look particularly traditional