Where is your special place? National Trust launches new “I Oak Leaf” campaign

Today’s post is written by Gabriella Swaffield, one of the newest members of the Media and External Affairs team. Gabriella will be working closely with the PR team throughout her internship and will be blogging about all the exciting goings on in the Press Office.

Last week the National Trust launched their 2013 campaign which celebrates the emotional connection between people and their special places.

I 'Oak Leaf' Hunting Bugs

The campaign follows research undertaken by the National Trust which found that 84 per cent of Brits have a favourite place they go to which positively affects their wellbeing and happiness.

According to the study, four out of five people (81 per cent) said visiting their favourite place had a bigger impact on their wellbeing than shopping or going to the cinema. 87 per cent said their special place made them happy just thinking about it, with three quarters of those surveyed (75 per cent) revealing the place they love the most reminded them of their family.

The campaign which includes outdoor, press and digital advertising uses the National Trust’s iconic oak leaf as a symbol to represent love and draws on the well known “I heart NY” design. Each version showcases a different activity available at National Trust places such as bug hunting and tree climbing or simply just reveals the name of somewhere special.

The imagery, visible all over England, Wales and Northern Island bring real people’s memories to life and are coming to a bus stop, newspaper or website near you!

It is hoped that this campaign will inspire the public to discover or revisit their special places and share their experiences with others. In order to capture and showcase these personal testimonies, the National Trust has recently developed the ‘Special Places Project’ – a Facebook App designed to celebrate and map individual experiences and memories at locations all over the UK.

The app will also feature places that are important to National Trust staff, volunteers and members of the public.

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Liz Foot, Marketing Manager at Heelis, is just one of the Trust’s staff who has shared the place that means the most to her:

Brownsea Island is really special for myself and my husband. We used to go to stay in the holiday cottage there every December for my husband’s birthday – a desert island all to ourselves. We could walk from end to end and side to side, admire the castle, the beautiful church, the deer, red squirrels and peacocks, and, of course, the amazing over-wintering wading birds. It’s somewhere we’ve shared with both our families and I miss it now. We took our daughter as a baby, and will start going again when she’s a better age to enjoy it.”

Celebrities have been getting involved with the App too by posting their own photographs and memories explaining why certain places mean so much to them. Well known names such as Nell McAndrew, Kim Cattrall and Austin Healey have shared experiences of their special places and other celebrities such as the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom and Henry Herbert, chose Dyrham Park near Bath due to lasting memories of family picnics and views across the South Gloucestershire countryside.

Model, David Gandy, comments: “I wanted to share my favourite photograph of Melford Hall as I have such fond and affectionate memories here, from visiting the beautiful grounds and rooms on school trips with all my school friends to family outings. Lots of people have special places that evoke happy memories so I think it’s great that the National Trust is encouraging people to share their love and give these places the importance they deserve.”

Watch the video to find out more !

Whether they evoke childhood memories, are a place of natural beauty or are a secret escape, there are certain places which mean something special to everyone. So if you’ve got a special place that’s important to you, share it with the National Trust on Facebook at The Special Places Project and Twitter #specialplaces.

And just in case you’re wondering, my special place is Chedworth Roman Villa. This fourth century settlement located in the heart of the Cotswold countryside is steeped in history and has been vividly brought back to life by the National Trust. After studying Ancient History at university, spending my summers amongst the Roman ruins, seeing children happily racing around dressed as gladiators and witnessing the uncovering of the glorious floor mosaics truly brought my books to life. What’s more, I gained lasting memories and first hand experience of life in Roman Britain!

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