• 4 June 2021 4:53 pm



Ancient Estate Reunited Forever – National Trust acquires Godolphin House and Garden in Cornwall

The National Trust has acquired Godolphin House and Garden, the centrepiece of one of Cornwall’s most breathtaking historic estates.

Set within a beautiful countryside estate of 550 acres – which the Trust has owned since 2000 – Godolphin House is one of Cornwall’s most romantic old houses, with elements dating from the late Middle Ages. The garden is an almost unique survival from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries and is rightly heralded as one of the most important in Europe. The estate is part of the ‘Cornish Mining’ World Heritage site.
The acquisition means the National Trust will take on the care of the beautifully conserved Godolphin House and Garden from the ownership of the Schofield family, who have sensitively nurtured Godolphin through much of the twentieth century.

Fiona Reynolds, the Trust’s Director-General, described the importance of the acquisition, “Godolphin is an unrivalled treasure with a special atmosphere all of its own. The house, gardens and wider estate are a near-miraculous survival dating back over 600 years and together form one of Cornwall’s great gems. We are delighted to be able to re-unite the estate with the house and garden and to begin work on ensuring the continued future of this magnificent place”.

The Trust has also launched a major fundraising appeal to help raise £500,000 for the conservation and access work at Godolphin. The Godolphin appeal will help fund a long term restoration programme for the property. It is hoped that volunteers and trainees will join in with the conservation work from an early stage.

Fiona Reynolds concluded, “In all regards, Godolphin is a special place. It has remained intact for centuries and we look forward to the challenge of ensuring the future of this great house, estate and garden forever.”

Before Godolphin closes as usual this autumn, the Schofield family will continue to open the house and gardens to the public at a charge (including National Trust members, though at a discount) and to run events. The Schofields, who have been committed to passing the property to the National Trust since 1970, will be remaining at Godolphin for a transitional period.
From next year, the National Trust will open the gardens, run events and allow limited access to the interior of the house, restoration work permitting.

National Trust Will Open for Free on Saturday 8th September

Heritage Open Day

As part of Heritage Open Days this year, the National Trust will be opening many of its properties for free on Saturday, September 8th and is inviting visitors to discover and share their stories. A series of events at historic houses, gardens and other properties across the country will include oral history recordings, workshops and family history ‘taster’ sessions.

Some Trust properties, in conjunction with the Society of Genealogists, will show how to begin tracing your family tree. Others will be giving visitors the chance to record memories of their lives and to listen to the fascinating reminiscences of people connected to the properties, not just of the families who lived there, but of former cooks, maids and footmen to evacuees, nurses and wartime servicemen and women.

To support these events, the Trust has launched a major on-line resource to provide a wealth of hints and advice on researching your family history and heritage. The site includes a ‘surname profiler’ to discover the roots of your name, a memory map on which to upload and share your memories, and top tips from family history and genealogy experts on researching your family tree.

For details of National Trust properties taking part and to view the Trust’s on-line family history and heritage resource, visit:

Hatfield Forest and Public Enquiry into the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport

In early September, The National Trust will be giving evidence against the proposed BAA expansion of Stansted airport, located only a few miles from the Trust’s ancient medieval hunting forest – Hatfield Forest.

The National Trust is opposing plans for BAA’s proposed expansion of Stansted on the grounds of NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) impacts and noise pollution from increased aircraft on the forest.

Keith Turner, the National Trust’s Area Manager for Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire, will be giving evidence at the enquiry: “We have opposed the incremental expansion of Stansted Airport for over 25 years, due to its unknown impact on the Forest. This unique medieval hunting forest is of great historical and ecological importance and provides a vital open space for up to 250,000 annual visitors. The coming 12 months will be crucial year in determining the future of both the airport and, by implication, the Forest.”

The National Trust is committed to preserving Hatfield Forest for the enjoyment of future generations and for the benefit of the wildlife that rely on it to survive. The Trust has pressed BAA to undertake more detailed monitoring to assess current levels of light, noise and air pollution on the surrounding environment before they even consider further expansion.

BAA is also preparing a separate and new planning application to build a second runway and other expanded facilities. This is expected to be submitted to Uttlesford District Council in August/September 2007. BAA has already published some details of its plans and a public consultation on transport to/from the airport is underway, including proposals to widen the M11 motorway. This application is likely to be considered at a public inquiry in 2008/9 and, if approved, BAA expects the runway to be operational by 2015 with annual passenger numbers up to 68 million by 2030.

Theatre Royal Reopens

For the past two years the National Trust has been working together with the Theatre Royal Bury in St Edmunds on a £5.3million project to restore the 188 year old venue to its former Regency splendour.

The Theatre Royal is the only working theatre on the National Trust’s portfolio of properties and one of eight grade I listed theatres in the UK. On September 11 2007 the venue will re-open following the restoration of the original Georgian 1819 configuration and decorative scheme.

The Georgian repertoire and the theatres for which it was written have largely disappeared from the theatrical landscape. But in tandem with the restoration of the building the Theatre’s artistic team has been researching the lost theatrical canon of the period.

Hundreds of texts from the 18th and 19th centuries have been re-discovered and selected plays will be performed at the Theatre in a unique programme entitled ‘Restoring the Repertoire’.

The Theatre’s re-opening production is one of the better known of these lost gems, the nautical melodrama Black Eyed Susan, written by Douglas Jerrold in 1829. Produced using hand-painted perspective recreation sets, an extended forestage and other theatrical devices regularly employed in the 19th century, the production will recreate the ambience of a Georgian playhouse.

As part of its re-opening celebrations, the Theatre will be open to the public to view for free on 15 – 16 September.

Full guided tours of the Theatre are available throughout the autumn season, lasting approximately one hour and costing £4 per person (£3 for National Trust members). Tours need to be booked in advance through the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01284 769505. For further information about Theatre tours or live entertainment visit

Waxcap Watch

Waxcaps are distinctive fungi commonly found in old, short grassland and National Trust lawns are the perfect place to find them. With colours ranging from pink to green, the shiny caps of the waxcaps mean that they really stand out.

Although we suspect that Trust land is home to a great many waxcaps, there has never been a national survey-until now…We are asking visitors to help us find out exactly what is out there, and all you need is a keen pair of eyes, pen and paper and this website.

Visitors are asked to log their sightings on the National Trust website. These results will be used to find out where there are large concentrations of waxcaps on National Trust land. These areas will then be targeted for more in-depth biological surveys in autumn 2008 and for specialist fungus forays designed to encourage naturalists to get to grips with the wonderful and mystical world of toadstools.

National Trust celebrates 40th anniversary of working holidays

The National Trust is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its working holidays with a massive ‘Megabash’, its biggest ever holiday to protect and preserve endangered wildlife habitats. On 5 – 7 October, hundreds of people will join the Trust’s countryside teams in rural Surrey and West Sussex to tackle invasive plants and help to play a vital role in heath land conservation.

At Hindhead in Surrey, volunteers will help to clear the holly which is creating dense undergrowth and enable the heathland to return to its natural state of heather and gorse, providing a haven for many wildlife species. At Black Down, in West Sussex, the task will be to control invasive birch and pine and to allow the area to rejuvenate. When work is complete at the two sites, it will provide the right conditions for cattle to be introduced to keep the scrub under control and manage the heathland mosaic through grazing.

Volunteers at the ‘Megabash’ weekend will camp out at a site in Surrey, where the price of £37 per person includes campsite charges, food for Saturday and Sunday and a celebratory party on the Saturday night. The ‘Megabash’ is open to volunteers over the age of sixteen.

Jennie Owen, Volunteer Programmes Manager for the National Trust says: "Many of our volunteers enjoy working holidays so much they return again and again. The ‘Megabash’ will be a great way for us to celebrate their vital contribution, but we hope it will also encourage new people to join in. It promises to be a lot of fun while giving everyone a real sense of satisfaction that they are contributing to something so worthwhile."

To book a place on the ‘Megabash’ working holiday, for further information and a brochure, call 0870 429 2 429, or visit
Great Storm

This October sees the 20th anniversary of the Great Storm which had such an impact on the South East of England on the night of the 15/16 October 1987. National Trust properties from Slindon in West Sussex to Chartwell in Kent (in the eye of the storm) were all badly affected by the high winds that hit England from the Wash to the River Test. Woods, gardens and built structures all suffered at the hands of this once in a 200 year event. This major natural event lead to a review of woodland management practices in the National Trust resulting in a greater understanding and use of natural processes in our work.

At Toys Hill in Kent a non-intervention zone was created after the storm as well as areas which were cleared and replanted; and we have people who can talk about the changing nature of this wood and the impact on wildlife – creating new corridors, the loss of trees, and the issues around invasive species

Around 50 per cent of the trees and shrubs were lost over night at Sheffield Park in East Sussex changing the skyline that had taken hundreds of years to grow. Also, the bluebells have never been the same since losing their woodland cover – significant oak and beech trees came down. One of the Sheffield Park team has been at the property since 1971.

We also have some dramatic aerial images of National Trust properties immediately after the Great Storm in 1987 and also in 2007 showing what has happened in the intervening twenty years.

Food Lovers’ Delights – Celebrate British Food Fortnight with the National Trust

It’s British Food Fortnight from 22nd September to 7 October 2007 and the National Trust has food events happening in every region. So you just need to bring your taste buds along to sample some seasonal and regional culinary delights.

For more information on National Trust events, please visit our website at

To find out more about British Food Fortnight please visit

National Trust AGM, 3rd November 2007

Open to all National Trust members, the 2007 AGM will be held at Central Hall, Westminster, London, on Saturday 3 November. There will be a programme of activities for the day including information about local National Trust properties which are accessible for visits from central London. More information can be found on our website