Thursday, 16 March 2017

Take the lead - lambing season arrives in March

It is an important (and tiring) time for our tenant sheep farmers across the Peak District at the moment, with lambs arriving throughout the day and night!

One way we are supporting the farmers and their livestock is by reminding dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads, to try to reduce the disturbance caused by dogs to ewes and their lambs.

Unfortunately every year there are lambs and ewes injured or killed by dogs in the Peak District. On your walks you may notice signs asking dog owners to keep dogs on leads and under control - some have been designed by school children for us.

You may spot signs on your walk reminding you to keep your dog on a lead during this important time for farmers and wildlife.

Thursday, 28 May 2015


This week we launched the 50 Things campaign for 2015 -  a list of 50 fantastic outdoor adventures that the National Trust think all children should experience before their 12th birthday.

The list includes; visit a farm, play pooh sticks, play conkers, build a den and go birdwatching.

In the Peak District you could probably do a lot of the activities in one day at Longshaw (near Sheffield) or Ilam Park and Dovedale (near Ashbourne) and there is a free Adventure Scrapbook available for children to record where and and when they complete the activities.

Our favourite in the Peak District? Probably building a den at Longshaw, climbing a huge hill at Kinder, hunting for fossils at Dovedale and playing pooh sticks at Ilam Park.

You can find out more by visiting:

There are things to do in the autumn and winter too, like playing in the snow and catching a falling leaf.

Free scrapbooks available from Longshaw visitor centre and Ilam Park visitor centre.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Natural Art in Ilam Park

Look out for natural art sculptures in Ilam Park!

This April, University of Derby Yr2 Fine Art students took part in a 4 day residency at Ilam Park, in the Peak District. 

Using locally found natural materials, the students made artwork in response to the landscape, including hazel coppiced in the Manifold valley, sheep wool and broken china found whilst digging in the Ilam Park.

The project is part of an educational partnership between the National Trust and University of Derby, now in its 14th year. It is a great opportunity for the students to work outside of the studio, use new materials and talk about their work with
members of the public during the process.

The sculptures will evolve with the weather and wildlife over the coming weeks, so we are not sure for how long they will last. 

uge thanks to the artists, their enthusiasm and respect for the site, there have already been great responses from visitors spotting the sculptures during their walks. 

Tracey Harris
Charlotte Jones
Tracey King
Nathan Reddish
Hayley Blackwell
Elyse Bennett
Dan Carlisle
Denis O'Connor   

All of the sculptures are visible from the footpaths. Pick up a free trail map to help you find the sculptures, available from the shop or visitor centre at Ilam Park.

Find out more about  University of Derby

Discover National Trust in the Peak District 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Longshaw Year of Birds is taking off...

This year Longshaw celebrates the amazing lives of birds. The Peak District is home to many rare and special birds, including the Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher. National Trust land is carefully managed by rangers to benefit our feathered friends, and includes many SSSIs. A flock of Longshaw events in 2015 will explore the fascinating variety and resilience of moorland and woodland birds. As a long-term visitor experience volunteer, Megan Carroll is co-ordinating the project as part of her placement at Longshaw. “I’m very excited about the year ahead” she says, “I’ve always been a bird fanatic, and I know this enthusiasm takes hold of visitors of all ages and levels of knowledge”. The Peak District is a perfect habitat for many rare birds. Dovedale and Ilam Park are home to the beautiful Kingfisher and charismatic Dipper,while Longshaw is proud of its population of the scarce Pied Flycatcher. These tiny black and white birds migrate from Africa to breed in food-rich Padley Gorge, hunting for caterpillars in the early morning. National Trust rangers have provided special nest boxes for them, and bung up the entrance holes to prevent other, less rare, species from taking over before the flycatchers have chance to arrive from Africa. When the migrants return in April, the holes are un-bunged and they can move in. Similarly, the rangers manage the moorland to be perfect for lapwings and curlews, wading birds which spend the winter at the coast and return to the moors to breed. Local climbing and running groups also play their part, by giving the secretive Ring Ouzel a respectful berth during its breeding season on Burbage and Stanage. The Year of Birds takes off with the Festival of Birds on Saturday 24th January, with a guided walk in the morning and talk by local Ring Ouzel specialist Bill Gordon and ranger John Mead in the afternoon. Other events throughout the year include ringing demonstrations, surveying walks, and bird box building, plus spotter sheets available from the Visitor Centre. Ilam Park also has plenty of feathery fun in store for February half term, with "Brilliant Birds at Ilam Park" activities Tuesday- Thursday. It’s an exciting year to be winging it.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Fond memories of Ilam Park

Simon and his father sit at the new table at Ilam Park

There is a touching story behind the new addition to the stableyard in Ilam Park, a locally made wooden table and benches, so we thought we would share it with you. Our thanks go to Simon Boughey and his family, who chose to remember his late mother at Ilam Park.

Simon Boughey writes:
Ilam Hall, set in the sublime beauty of the Dove and Manifold valleys, has been a recurring leitmotif throughout my life. As a boy I ran up and down the stone towers with a plastic sword and shield, and played football and cricket in the grass below what was then the car park with my grandfather. I stayed at the youth hostel as a teenager. Before I left to live in the USA in my 20s, I hiked to Ilam Hall with my dearest friend, kissing a tearful farewell to the part of England I will forever regard as mine. After I had lived in the USA for several years and had not been back to England, Ilam Hall was the place, on a cloudless June day, I chose to meet my parents. I see them now, smiling, by the river, as I came along the drive. I proposed to my wife on the top of nearby Bunster Hill on cold April day alongside patches of un-melted snow and thereafter we repaired to Ilam Hall tea rooms for what remains the best cup of tea for miles around. They tell me it’s the water.
For most of my life, Ilam Hall and its surrounding pastures was inextricably associated with my mother. She loved it all, her face creasing into undisguised and irrepressible joy at the sight of the first lambs of the spring on the hillside or in simple wordless rapture gazing at length upon the vistas across to Thorpe Cloud. Of all the many gifts that she left me, an abiding love for this part of England and the peace to be found in it is one of the most precious. It will be with me forever.

In the summer of 2011, a couple of months after she had been diagnosed with the motor neurone disease that would take her life less than a year later, we went to Ilam Hall to contemplate what the immediate future might hold. Now unable to walk far, she was pushed in her wheelchair to the Manifold tea-room garden, and there she sat, for a last time, looking over to Thorpe Cloud. Who knows of what she thought?  Until the last, her stoicism kept those contemplations from her dearest.

By July 2014, two years after her death, I started to investigate ways in which my mother might be commemorated. I wanted a tribute of some kind and there seemed no better place for it, no place more intimately associated with her and my family, than Ilam Park. At first I thought I would like to have a bench inscribed with her name, perhaps in the Italian garden. After contacting the National Trust, I was put in touch with the team at Ilam Park, and, in my biggest slice of good fortune in the entire process, I met the incomparable Pat Bate, then business support co-ordinator. My debt to Pat for guiding me through the next few months, and for her unfailing sensitivity and wisdom, is a large one.
Pat told me that it wouldn’t be possible to have a bench inscribed, but suggested, as an alternative, that I might want to think about donating a table and chairs for the stableyard block, below the tea rooms, for the use of the physically less able. Instantly, this suggested itself as a marvellous and apposite solution, and much better than my original idea. My mother had spent the last nine months of her life in a wheelchair, and, moreover, my sister, to whom mum was devoted, has lived her entire life in a wheelchair. The bench and tables were also to be made from local wood by a local craftsman. The views afforded from the stableyard are magnificent. There was to be no inscription on the bench, but that too was more fitting; mum never sought any recognition for herself.

Four months later, the bench and tables had been made and, on the last day of November 2014, a day of bright sun and scudding clouds, the bench and tables were unpacked and put in place. It was father’s 88th birthday, and he, as a retired clergyman, said a prayer of dedication before my wife, Pat, Anna and Stuart had the inaugural tea, brought to us by the unfailingly solicitous tea room staff. 

The table was specially designed for wheelchair users
There it stands now, and will do I hope for many years to come. I know I shall visit Ilam Park for as long as I am able, and it pleases me to think that other people, complete strangers with their own lives and own associations with Ilam Hall, to whom I will never speak, will take their ease at a table provided in the memory of the dearest of ladies. 

My thanks to the National Trust staff at Ilam Park, and my admiration of them and the work they do to protect and preserve the matchless beauty of their surroundings, is beyond words. I know that my mother felt the same way.
I did not think mum would have minded me adding a text about her and the bench in the book of commemoration held at Ilam Park. So I asked to be written, forever to her glory and to the majesty of Ilam Hall:
“This bench was donated by Simon Boughey, in memory of his dearly loved mother Marlene Boughey, 1937-2012, for whom Ilam Hall and the fields around were a special place wherein her spirit soared.”

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas tree sales raise money to fund conservation work in the Peak District

Festive fundraising

Our rangers and volunteers have been busy this month selling British sustainably grown trees in the lead up to Christmas.

The trees have been on sale at Longshaw near Sheffield, Ilam Park near Ashbourne and in Castleton, and have been extremely popular. 

Ranger Mark Cunningham organises the sales at Ilam Park and has a team of willing volunteers helping to serve customers, wrap the trees in netting and help people load the trees into vehicles.

 "All the money we raise from selling the trees goes back into conservation work in the Peak District, so it's a really worthwhile cause. I enjoy meeting lots of locals who are making it a tradition to choose their tree with the family."

If you fancy volunteering with us next year at our tree sales, please do get in touch!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Hen Harrier Chick Update 12 September

Hen Harrier Chick Update 12 September 2014

We are very saddened by the deaths of three of the hen harrier chicks. All indications are that two of the birds were killed by a natural predator. The body of the third has been recovered and, along with the remains of the other two, has been sent for post-mortem (as is usual practice), but there is no evidence of suspicious activity at this stage. Two chicks are still doing well. This news reinforces the need to have a strong and healthy population of hen harriers in the Peak District and England: one nest is not enough as there will always be natural losses. We will continue to work with our partners to protect the remaining chicks and create an environment where hen harriers can thrive in the future.

Our website:

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hen Harriers breed successfully in the Peak District

Five hen harrier chicks have fledged on land we look after in the Upper Derwent Valley - the first time these birds of prey have bred successfully in the Peak District for eight years. 

One of the five hen harrier chicks in the Peak District

Working together for birds of prey
The successful hen harrier breeding is the result of a wide partnership of people and organisations working together to secure the future of birds of prey in the area as part of the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative. 

‘Having hen harriers breed successfully here in the Peak District is wonderful news and would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of all the people and organisations involved, which has been truly inspiring’ said Jon Stewart, our General Manager for the Peak District.

We’re committed to increasing the number of birds of prey on the land that we care for in the Peak District as part of our High Peak Moors vision. We’re working closely with our tenants and partners, including the grouse shooting community, which has been very supportive of the successful hen harrier breeding.

Discovering the chicks
Our local shooting tenant Geoff Eyre discovered the nest containing five healthy hen harrier chicks in August and alerted the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative which set up a nest watch team to protect the birds. Two male hen harriers and one female had previously been seen ‘sky dancing’ (an incredible aerobatic mating routine) in late April but were then thought to have left the area.

Jamie Horner - Peak District Bird of Prey Raptor group, Jon Stewart – the National Trust’s General Manager for the Peak District, and Hardyal Dhindsa - Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.
Jamie Horner - Peak District Bird of Prey Raptor group, Jon Stewart – the National Trust’s General Manager for the Peak District, and Hardyal Dhindsa - Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.

Alan Charles, Derbyshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner said he wanted to congratulate the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative for their positive work, which has been instrumental in bringing about this success story.  PCC Charles has introduced strong measures in his Police and Crime Plan to protect wildlife and specifically persecuted birds of prey and is pleased to continue to support this initiative alongside Derbyshire Constabulary.  Deputy Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa visited the site to see the security precautions in place and said he felt privileged to witness this rare sighting of the birds. He added: “The most important thing now is that everything possible is done to protect these chicks.”

How you can help us
Sightings of hen harriers in the Peaks can be reported to the hen harrier hotline (0845 4600121) or by emailing Reports should include the date and location of a sighting, with a six-figure grid reference where possible.
Satellite-tagging will also be used to track the birds’ progress through the Hen Harrier Recovery Project led by Natural England. The tagging will help us learn more about the movements and behaviour of one of the Peak District’s most iconic birds.