What is a Forest School? Children and Nature Intern Julia Bush took a trip to Bristol to find out with the children who love having fun in the National Trust’s Leigh Woods.
What is a Forest School? Children and Nature Intern Julia Bush took a trip to Bristol to find out with the children who love having fun in the National Trust’s Leigh Woods.
Originally posted on National Trust Places:
But the cliffs hide a worrying truth; they are eroding by on average 0.7m per year, giving the sun lounge itself an estimated life span of 12 years.
Here at the National Trust we’re coming over all romantic. With the January blues becoming a faint memory, February’s wet and cold weather needn’t stop our hearts warming and our cheeks blushing.
Now there’s only one time of year we can rightly feel soppy and weep softly as we watch every chick-flick going. That’s right; Valentine’s Day is upon us!
You might be a single lady or gent who couldn’t care less about this ill-appointed day, or a couple so hopelessly in love that you spend every moment of every day staring into one another’s eyes, either way we have something to make you love life this February 14th.
Nothing inspires romance like ruby red jam and rich clotted cream smothered on a scone! Why not go down the traditional route and have a sumptuous afternoon tea for two at one of our beautiful cafes. We recommend Basildon Park, West Berkshire where you can enjoy oodles of delicate sandwiches, dainty cakes and tantalising teas. Also to be enjoyed with friends; who needs love when you can have a slice of cake as big as your face!
If you’re one for frolicking in the rain in a frilly white shirt, how about going all Wuthering Heights and taking a stroll along one of our stunning coastal paths. Weather permitting, if you take the Silverdale Coastal Walk, Lancashire in the evening you can cuddle up and see amazing sunsets over the MorecambeBay. Alternatively, the area is great for dog walking, so why not take man’s best friend for a much needed cliff-top ramble!
Cosy Country Pubs
Don’t fancy frizzy hair on Valentine’s? Get out of the rain and find yourself a cosy fireside spot for two at one of our country pubs. Grab a pint of real ale at the acclaimed Spread Eagle Inn or Red Lion Inn at Stourhead, Wiltshire. The pubs are also renowned for serving a selection of delicious locally sourced dishes!
Follow in the footsteps of some of the most epic romances at our special places. Visit the honeymoon destination of Queen Elizabeth II’s parents and fall in love at Polesden Lacy, Surrey. Or sympathise with a sad love-story and discover the tragic passion of Rex Whistler and his unrequited love for Caroline Paget at Plas Newydd, Anglesey.
Why not lavish that number one person in your life with a unique, handcrafted gift from one of our shops. The Courts Garden, Wiltshire you can purchase anything from garden gifts, local artwork and even one of a kind jewellery. Even if you’re going solo this Valentine’s, the beauty of shopping is that you don’t need an excuse to treat yourself to something fabulous!
So here’s to celebrating all the lovely relationships in your life this Valentine’s Day. Have an experience to remember with the National Trust!
What’s your favourite outdoor memory? For Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, it’s walking along the Ridgeway in Oxfordshire in summer sunshine with her children. She tells the story in a new video to support the National Trust’s work to connect children with nature.
This week the National Trust is supporting new campaign Project Wild Thing in asking people to share what they love about ‘wild time’, sparking a conversation about why getting out into nature is important.
Project Wild Thing is a new campaign, supported by thousands of individuals and organisations, aimed at getting a generation of young people in the UK outdoors and back to nature.
Launched with the release of a feature documentary film last October, Project Wild Thing is calling on everyone – children, parents, grandparents, teachers – to take the Wild Time pledge and spend at least 30 minutes more time outdoors every day.
The campaign is a reaction to how disconnected from nature children and young people have become. The RSPB estimates that just 1 in 5 children under twelve have a ‘connection to nature’. More children can identify a Dalek than can spot a Magpie.
If there is one thing that’s missing out this Valentine’s Day it’s nature. In Project Wild Thing, broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham bemoans how ‘biodiversity has fallen, the number of species listed as endangered has increased, the pressure on the countryside has increased tenfold, and the species that’s closest to extinction out there in British woods and waysides is the kid’.
This Valentine’s Day, we’re asking people to forego the teddies and bottles of champagne and share why they love nature – in a blog, on video or through a social media posting.
David Bond, Marketing Director for Nature and star of the recent Project Wild Thing film, said: ‘Every February we spend hundreds of millions on romance. This year, ditch the spending and help us re-wild a generation of kids with a wild Valentine’s message for nature.’
Go to www.projectwildthing.com to find out more about the campaign and join the movement.
English Heritage plays an important role for heritage in England, directly managing hundreds of properties and also providing statutory advice and championing heritage more widely. The Government has just finished consulting on radical plans to change this role by splitting it into two bodies – a charity to manage the properties (to be known as English Heritage) and a public body to take on its wider functions (to be known as Historic England). We’ve just sent in our response to the consultation.
We think that, in principle, there are advantages in the idea of English Heritage’s properties being operated by a charity. The National Trust itself shows how historic assets can be successfully held and managed by a private charity for the benefit of the nation. And at a time of continued pressure on public finances, a new model could help relieve the pressure to cut back further on English Heritage’s current advisory services.
But the National Trust has had 119 years to grow and develop and is supported by a wide asset base of land and financial endowments. The new English Heritage charity will have stretching targets to grow membership by 86% by 2027 (the best decade for the Trust’s membership growth was 20%) and visitor numbers are expected to rise by a third as the new charity becomes financially independent and its grant is phased out. DCMS is to provide a welcome upfront investment but English Heritage’s conservation backlog may be as high as £79m by 2015. There is a danger that, if sufficient reserves aren’t built up, volatile visitor numbers (for instance from too many wet Summers) and the challenge of ongoing conservation and care for all properties may make the financial model unstainable.
Managing these risks will be vital for the new charity in its initial eight year license period and DCMS need to put in place contingency plans if income generation targets are not met. Although the initial eight year license may not help long-term planning, it does give whoever forms the Government in 2023 the opportunity to review how the new model is working.
Historic England should not be forgotten in these plans. The National Trust is very supportive of English Heritage’s current statutory and wider heritage protection activities. Like others, we rely on its research, experience and advice to support our own management of heritage. We want the new Historic England to remain a strong, independent and properly funded body with a broad remit for delivery. As such, Historic England must be shielded from any future deficits incurred by English Heritage as it seeks to meet its ambitious income targets.
We also are concerned that the consultation document is short on the details of how exactly Historic England will be able to strengthen its expert advice and provide an even better service, as promised by DCMS. We also want to see more about the role of partner organisations like local councils and voluntary organisations. This needs to be improved when Historic England’s focus and priorities are set.
Splitting up English Heritage and setting up a new charity to run its properties is an innovative and ambitious move. It will inevitably mean that many in English Heritage will be focused internally over the coming years. Throughout that change and beyond, we need the Government to demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding the public’s present and future interests in our shared heritage. We will play our part in offering our advice to Government as they set up the new structures.
To read the National Trust Consultation Response, please click here.
By Dr Ingrid Samuel, Historic Environment Director
Launched by Disney at the recent Grammy Awards, Maleficent looks to be one of the most talked about films of 2014. Angelina Jolie stars in the story which describes how a purehearted girl later becomes the wicked fairy from the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
In a key supporting role is the Ashridge Estate, where 2,000 acres of ancient woodland provided the magical forest in the film. The woodland even took centre stage at the Grammy’s where Disney’s trailer for the film also showcased Lana Del Ray’s new song. It was the perfect setting, with a bit of blue lighting and mist, for the haunting and very slightly creepy “Once Upon a Dream”. Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the mad-for-revenge Maleficent seems at a glance to be even nastier than Glenn Close as Cruella De Ville. An imposing presence whose red lipped wicked smile is balanced by cheekbones you could cut ice with, just in case you mistook her for being at all adorable. But there is no CGI trickery about the location itself – it’s somewhere you too can visit.
Ashridge Estate, perhaps like the stars of Maleficent, is worthy of an Oscar and this isn’t its first screen role. The ancient woodland has appeared in Les Misérables, Sleepy Hollow and Harry Potter, where its most famous tree, a gnarled and knotted 400 year old beech with a 25 metre span took a turn as the Whomping Willow.
No diva like tantrums here, Ashridge Estate is equally welcoming to tourists, visitors and fans as it is to the A-listers and provides a wonderful habitat for a wide range of animals, from minibeasts to badgers, birds and foxes. Set amid ancient woodland, rolling hills and chalk downland, the 5,000-acres can be explored by foot or on a bike. On screen, it does a great job of being both magical and haunting, a versatile place where anything is possible. It stood in for Sherwood Forest in Sir Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe – which broke records for having the highest number of crew and cast on set at one time. If you want epic, it would be hard to top that.
But my personal favourite performance by Ashridge ancient woodland is its amazing display of bluebells. In 2013 it was especially exuberant and accompanied by incredible birdsong. With no special effects at all it created something truly astonishing and this wasn’t limited to Ashridge. All over the UK we saw incredible spring and summer flower displays both in gardens and in the wild accompanied by a wealth of butterflies – arguably more beautiful than any starlet on Oscar night.
Many other National Trust places have had a life on film, some, such as Ham House, appearing many times. Located in Richmond on the edge of London, it was on screen in the 2010 film Never Let Me Go starring Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. It was also used for Vronsky’s rooms in Anna Karenina in 2012 as appearing in the science fiction movie John Carter the same year.
So should you wish to stand where heroes and villains have stood you can do worse than to invest in a National Trust membership. That small card is your backstage pass to some of the most incredible film sets in the world, from a host of Hollywood and Independent films and to some of our most iconic television series.
This is a high definition, surround sound, fully fragrant immersive experience with the breeze on your face and mud on your boots as extra features with no additional charge. It costs less than a year’s subscription to satellite or cable or even paying the licence fee. And less than a monthly cinema ticket . Plus who needs popcorn when you can have tea and cake in a fine tea room during the intermission?
As for rubbing shoulders with the stars, no guarantees as we are sworn to secrecy about whether or where any locations are in use for filming. However, out away from the bright lights on a clear winter evening take a look up. Now that really is an epic scene.
Harvey Edgington Media and Broadcast Manager shares here as part of the Film Programme for BBC Radio 4 his segment begins at time sequence 09:10 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03qflhm
Follow this link for a map of locations used in film and TV http://ow.ly/t0BdS
For a guide to stargazing in the Brian Cox sense, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/activities/stargazing/
By Mary Cook Video Strategy Intern
The much discussed and controversial Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill has now become law.
Many charities were concerned that the Bill – which MPs began to consider in the early Autumn – would limit their campaigning activities, and some referred to it as the ‘gagging law’. NGOs set about pressing Government and politicians to make changes to the Bill. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (of which the Trust is a member) and the specially-formed Commission on Civil Society played leading roles in this process.
As Britain’s largest charity we shared many of their concerns. The National Trust argued that significant changes were needed which would allow improvements in transparency and accountability without undermining the positive role that charities play in enabling informed public policy debate.
The Trust has a long history of involvement in public, and we want to be confident that we are able to continue to do so. You can read more about our involvement in public policy debates here.
We met Ministers to discuss the Government’s plans, and supported the work of NCVO and the Commission on Civil Society to make improvements to the Bill. The combined efforts of charities resulted in some improvements being made, including the introduction of a shorter ‘regulated’ period (the period before an election where charities are covered by the new rules) and the introduction of higher spending thresholds (above which groups must register with the Electoral Commission). The Government will also now review the new arrangements after the 2015 General Election. More detail on the changes can be found here.
Although NCVO and the Commission would have liked the Government to go further we must now concentrate on the next steps.
New guidance will be published by the Charity and Electoral Commissions. This guidance is critical in clarifying exactly what the new rules mean, and we should ensure it does not place onerous burdens on charities or restrict campaigning activities. We would expect those drawing up the new guidance to consult widely before introducing it, to make sure it is fit for purpose.
Once it is introduced we should monitor and gather evidence on how the new rules are working in practice. After the election, we may need a sensible debate on whether we can improve the way that charities and their activities are regulated and attempt to find a consensus in this hotly debated area.
Yesterday, as I curled up indoors by a log burner I found myself donned in full winter regalia. Swaddled in my scarf, gloves and bobble hat the January chill had most definitely arrived.
When the weather is grey and we’re wrapped in our finest thermals, it’s tempting to turn up the heating. However, as we know well, this quick heat fix can be expensive and damaging to our environment.
Luckily, last month I was on set with Lauren Guthrie, finalist in the Great British Sewing Bee, as she showed us how to make beautiful and useful thermal curtains to keep our properties and your homes warm and energy efficient as the big freeze sets in.
Since appearing as a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee, Lauren has been busy managing her own lovingly restored sewing supplies shop in Birmingham. She is self taught and now hosts regular sewing workshops, making her the perfect candidate to teach us how to create handmade energy saving measures at home.
We filmed Lauren at a National Trust holiday cottage on the stunning Calke Abbey estate in Derbyshire. The cottage was in need of a small facelift so it was a great opportunity to inject some colour by making vibrant, thermally lined curtains for a bay window in the dining room.
Now, I’m no camerawoman, so this was my chance to gawkily follow the professionals around as they did the real work. We started filming in the middle of a very muddy field where we took several shots of Lauren introducing herself and the work of the National Trust and our partner Good Energy. By the time we had finished the outdoor section of filming we were all very ready for a warming cup of tea; with all this talk of winter and being cold this seemed appropriate.
As the daylight closed-in we began a test shoot for the indoor section of filming. We decided that the videos should be in a step-by-step style. Since it was only a test I had a go at haphazardly handling a camera (I blame being left handed), and also took a few photo stills. After setting up the equipment and getting all the lighting right, we headed to the pub- all in a days work!
The second day of filming was more intense. Lauren got down to business and begun making the curtains. This required measuring, pinning, cutting, sewing, as well as some very skilled camerawork; most of which I could only observe due to my severe lack of talent in any of these areas. This said, with Lauren’s guidance I had a go at rough stitching; let’s just say my Granny would cringe if she could see me in action!
By the final day of filming, the curtains were looking lovely and ready to be hung up. If you are interested in creating some beautiful and useful thermal curtains for your own home you can follow our ‘how to’ videos on the Energy and Environment web hub. Honestly, they are much easier to make than I’ve made them sound! In future, I feel my talents may lie far away from any sort of sewing machine or maybe just sharp implements generally…
By Katie Canning, Media and External Affairs Intern
We’re celebrating this Valentine’s Day by asking people to say what it is they love about ‘wild time’.
Wild time is time spent outdoors. It could be the half an hour you spend walking the dog in a local park – or a two day hike in a national park. Why do you love the outdoors?
This Valentine’s Day we want to collect your wild time stories. Take your phone outdoors and record a short video message telling the world why you love being out in nature. Email us the results or share them on Twitter and Facebook, tagging them with the hashtag #wildtime.
The National Trust is part of a major campaign to get children back to nature. Supported by a growing movement of over a thousand organisations and thousands of individuals, Project Wild Thing is a fresh way to reconnect kids with the outdoors. We’re asking families to take the Wild Time pledge and spend at least 30 minutes more time outdoors every day.
The campaign launched in October 2013 with the release of an amazing feature film – PROJECT WILD THING – in 80 cinemas nationwide.
You can watch Project Wild Thing now – download it online or order the DVD .
Marketing Director for Nature and star of new documentary PROJECT WILD THING, David Bond, says: “This is about showing your love for nature. Recording a video of why you love the outdoors is a fun and free alternative to a traditional Valentine’s Day message – and it’s unlikely to make your partner jealous.
“Nature is at crisis point. Biodiversity is shrinking. Well-loved green spaces face attack at the hands of rapacious developers. Children have never been more disconnected from nature. It has never been so important that children love the natural world around them. A great start is to get outdoors and record a fun video about why we love wild time and why it is so important.”
Last year it was predicted that UK consumers spent nearly £1 billion on gifts over Valentine’s Day. This year consumers are set to spend even more.
David Bond added, “Every February we spend hundreds of millions on romance. This year, ditch the spending and help us re-wild a generation of kids with a wild Valentine’s video for nature.”
So share your Wild Time Valentine’s with us and make this the year you give up the tacky cards and Hallmark teddies in favour of something wilder.
Keeping your home cosy warm when it’s cold outside can be difficult and expensive. One way to keep the draughts out and make your home more energy efficient is with thermally lined curtains.
The video tutorials are presented by Lauren Guthrie, finalist of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee 2013, and were shot at Southwood House Farm holiday cottage at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey Estate.
Lauren, owner of Guthrie & Ghani haberdashery in Birmingham, said: “It’s surprising how much difference thermally lined curtains can make in keeping the warmth inside your home.
“You don’t need to have advanced skills to have a go at this project – all you need is some spare time and a sewing machine.”
Watch the videos and find out more about the National Trust’s energy and environmental work at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/energy