Thursday, 30 June 2011

Longshaw celebrates 80 years with the National Trust

On the Sunday 19th June the Longshaw Estate near Sheffield in the Peak District celebrated eighty years of public access and being looked after by the National Trust on behalf of the nation.  Staff, volunteers, residents and friends of Longshaw, past and present, got together for a tea party with a fantastic swing band, bunting and balloons, and a specially made 80th birthday cake! 

The event was a reunion for many who have given their time and skills to look after the estate over the years.  John Bunting, 93 years of age, remembered raising the funds to buy parts of the Longshaw Estate as a rambler many years ago, in a speech he gave to a busy audience before cutting the cake with the General Manager of the National Trust in the Peak District, Jon Stewart.  This anniversary is being marked by a number of displays and talks taking place on the estate throughout the year. As part of these celebrations, the Trust is asking for those with any memories, memorabilia or photographs to get in contact and join in remembering 80 years of public access to the Longshaw Estate.

Jon Stewart commented “It is great to celebrate this event as it is all about people getting together to safeguard something they really valued for the future and that they saw the National Trust as the body to deliver that for them. Although it happened 80 years ago it is really relevant to the Trust’s current priority of working with local people to provide wonderful opportunities for experiencing the best the outdoors has to offer”. 

Jon added “Longshaw is a wonderful place to discover spectacular views of the Peak District, its ancient woods, meadows, parkland and heather moorland, as well as to explore its varied history including millstone quarries and packhorse routes.  The National Trust visitor centre is an ideal starting point for Longshaw and the Peak District and with its cafe a good place to relax before or perhaps better after a walk”.

With its long and varied history, Longshaw has something of interest for everyone. It was originally part of the Duke of Rutland’s shooting estate, with Longshaw Lodge as the accommodation.  It is also the home of the Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials, reputed to be the oldest continuous sheep dog trials in the country.  There are ancient trackways, guide stones and old quarries to explore, as well as the diverse range of habitats from heather moorland to ancient woodland, with the ever popular Burbage Brook leading down into Padley Gorge.

The Duke of Rutland’s 11,533 acre estate was put up for sale in 1927, and Sheffield Corporation purchased 3,200 acres for water collection purposes.  The 747 acres originally acquired by the National Trust were purchased from the Corporation following a public appeal by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE).  The land was first opened to the public on Easter weekend 1928 and was patrolled by volunteer wardens, with working parties from rambling clubs helping to maintain the estate. The necessary funds having been raised, the deeds were handed over to the National Trust at a ceremony on 27 June 1931. The Lodge was used as a guest house by the Holiday Fellowship until 1960 and then turned into private flats. The Longshaw Estate was the first piece of open countryside in the Peak District to be acquired by the National Trust, a year before the mass trespass on Kinder Scout and twenty years before the formation of the Peak District National Park.

So come and visit the Longshaw Estate and experience this key part of the history of the National Trust and the Peak District as a whole.

Please contact the Longshaw Estate Office on 01433 631757 with stories or information, and for details of events throughout the year please visit

Marks & Spencer volunteers help out

Four hardy Marks and Spencer employees from our local store in Ashbourne took time out from their busy schedules to volunteer for a day with the National Trust.  Little did they realise how steep the banks would be when they signed up for the day…

The walk down to Hubert’s bank, our work site for the day gave them a taste of the landscape. Passing by the site where Jacobs Ladder grows freely they learned about how we manage the area to encourage the rare plants such as Jacobs Ladder and the associated problems this causes.  Limiting grazing on the grass and scree slopes stops the flowers being eaten but allows scrub to develop and that was their task for the day – removing the ash scrub that has developed along the bank.

Despite the imposing banks, Peter, Clair, Becky and Andrea really got stuck in and we cleared an impressive amount.
Before and after - one of the areas cleared

By the end of the day nobody needed to go to the gym and everybody needed a long cool drink.

Thanks to the M&S group and I hope to see you all again next year.

Mark Cunningham - Warden

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

NT Volunteers Recognised for Long Service in the Peak District

On Sunday 26th June, the National Trust in the Peak District celebrated the incredible service and dedication of its volunteers by presenting them with their Long Service Awards. 

Over 25 volunteers arrived at the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, near Sheffield, to receive their awards which ranged from 5 to 65 years’ service.  Presented by Jon Stewart, General Manager, the group was informed of how much each individual’s support and commitment has helped the National Trust to continue to preserve its countryside estates for ever, for everyone.

Present were volunteers of all kinds, from membership recruiters, to kitchen gardeners, to bee keepers, to conservationists, each of whom play their part in the maintenance of Peak District’s beautiful places.  Members of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers were also in attendance having cut short their morning of bracken cutting to receive awards for, in many cases, over 30 years’ service.  

John Boyle, who has been involved with the National Trust’s work since 1977, said, “Volunteering for the National Trust has always been fun. I've learned lots of new skills and made long lasting friendships.  When I first started volunteering I thought I would just be contributing to the maintenance of our glorious countryside. After over 30 years I now realise that this has become a way of life and I've been rewarded a thousand fold by the fun I've had and the friends I've made."
Jon Stewart, General Manager of the National Trust in the Peak District said, "To meet and celebrate the achievements of people who have put in so much voluntary effort to help the National Trust look after large areas of the Peak District for everyone is both inspiring and humbling.  One of the volunteers, Graham Baxby, has been involved since 1947!  What I also take from this is that volunteering with the Trust is something people get a lot out of and I hope this inspires others to volunteer so that we can continue to do a great job in looking after and making available to people some of the country's most special places". 

If you are interested in volunteering for the National Trust in the Peak District, please contact Cathryn Hamer, Volunteer Programmes Manager, on or 01433 670368.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Countryside Open Days at Dunscar Farm, in Castleton.

On the 29th and 30th of May, the National Trust in the Peak District held it’s annual Countryside Open Days at Dunscar Farm, in Castleton.

The hobby horses returned for the second year running and the Dunscar Derby was the highlight of both days, with both children and adults galloping to the finishing line with style. Families had a go at geo-caching, many for the first time, and the mobile cave and crazy bikes were popular new activities.  The majority of the activities are put on by the National Trust staff and volunteers, who made the most of the bank holiday weekend’s unpredictable weather, creating a fantastic event for families and people of all ages.  Monday’s rain was no problem; with the Penny Pot CafĂ© in the big barn and the camp-fire in the woods keeping everyone warm, dry and happy!

Events Officer Jenny Gerrans says "The Family Countryside Open Days are our biggest and best event of the year, so a big thank you goes to everyone involved.  Set in the stunning scenery at the foot of Mam Tor and Winnats Pass, Dunscar Farm becomes a fantastic place of adventure and play, with music, refreshments and activities for the whole family to enjoy.  If you missed the event, don’t worry - with plenty more events coming up in the Peak District, families have still got a fun-packed summer to look forward to with us, starting with the Cycling Weekends at Longshaw in July.”

Friday, 10 June 2011

Moorland Restoration Work Continues...

The National Trust Estate Team has been busy in the Peak District getting materials ready for the next round of gully blocking, as part of the on-going moorland restoration work.

The first picture shows the team loading and weighing bags of stone for building dams in the peat on Kinder Scout. The second picture shows the bags of logs that are ready

The team now have now prepared 415 bags of stone (each containing around 400kg stone) and 300 bags of logs ready for flying onto the moors by helicopter at the end of July, this being the only way we can get the materials onto the moors.

Jonathan Leyland, Estate Worker