Friday, 28 October 2011

Christmas at Ilam

Get festive in the Peak District at Ilam Park’s new Christmas Festival!

Christmas at Ilam will be full of festive magic and visitors from near and far are invited to experience the winter wonderland of Ilam Park in the Peak District, on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December, from 11am – 4.30pm.   

On the second weekend in December, the courtyard and the Tea Rooms at Ilam will be transformed into a magical Christmas Market, with beautiful, sustainably sourced Christmas Trees and some local hand made crafts for sale, as well as musical entertainment provided by Ilam School and other local musicians.  There will be children’s games and Christmas craft activities to take part in, with festive face-painting, the chance to make Christmas decorations, and a warming cup of free mulled wine (for grown ups) in the Tea Rooms!  Stall holders in the stable yard will include: Taste of the Moorlands, On a Wick & Prayer, Yumma Gumma Pickles, Woodland Crafts, Holly Wreaths, Hand Painted Cards & Pictures and many more.

Part of the National Trust’s Peak District Estate, Ilam Park is nestled next to the Manifold Valley, and offers stunning walks amongst majestic woods and open parkland.  Visitors are invited to enjoy the peace and beauty of the area, and to celebrate the festive season with National Trust staff and volunteers at this new event. 

Engagement and Events Officer, Jenny Gerrans says: “The atmosphere at Ilam Park will be one of festive enjoyment for all the family.  Ilam is a beautiful place to share time with family and friends, enjoy some fresh air and try some of our delicious home made food.  It’s the first time we’ll be holding our annual Christmas Market, so with all the plotting and planning, we’re really looking forward to creating something very special for everyone.  I can’t think of a more magical place to buy a Christmas tree!” 

Christmas at Ilam runs on Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December, from 11am – 4.30pm.  The event is free, and is part of an annual programme of events with the National Trust in the Peak District.  For more information please visit

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Christmas in the Peak District

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop
Ilam: Sat 19 November 10:30 - 15:30
Longshaw: Sat 26 November 10:30 - 15:30
Make a beautiful Christmas Wreath with our expert at the Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw. Equipment provided.

Christmas Tree Sales - Longshaw
Sat 26 November - Wed 21 December from 10am-4pm
Buy a Christmas tree from us and support our conservation work at Longshaw.
Call 01433 631757 for details

Christmas Crafts at Longshaw
Sat 3, Sun 4, Sat 10, & Sun 11 December, 10.30am - 4pm
Make fun and simple decorations at the Moorland
Centre. Enjoy festive music and meals in the tea room.

Christmas Festival at Ilam
10 & 11 December
11am to 4:30pm
Enjoy a family day out with tree sales, market stalls,
 craft making, singing, music and entertainment at Ilam Park.

For a list of all of our events in the Peak District please go to

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Iconic Kinder plateau
Dark glowering peaks of granite stone
Frown down on the melancholy land.
The mist blows in from distant shores
And sits forlornly on the giants shoulders.

The mountain plays hide and seek from swirling clouds
Hiding its macabre beauty, in a sombre cloak.
How different from the balmy summer days
When the sun basks the plateau in golden light,
Catching the purple glow of heather in all it’s magisterially splendour

A mountain where trampling boots made history
Where freedom to roam was won up on high
The mass trespass sweeping aside, decades of pious rule.
A treasure now for posterity, to keep and cherish
A burden upon the mantle of the National Trust.

As the clouds unfurl, it reveals a teardrop on the cheek of Kinder
Mermaids pool, a tear lamenting the waning of former glories
Kinder a fast decaying wasteland, a mocking travesty of once proud bog moorland
But now only endless hags of peat, and dark unforgiving groughs.
The bane of walkers, hands clutching to their lifeline ‘the compass’.

And yet here, still, where the white hare coarses
Where swoops and glides the curlew and the plover
Where creeps the spongy sphagnum
The bubbling stream that is Kinder river, which cascades over the downfall
Only to be thrown back on high by unseen giant hands, the upside down waterfall.

Here amongst the tormented rock, twisted into evocative shapes.
The hardy strength of bilberry, and crowberry, which clings tenaciously to life
Here where tranquillity, is found in the isolation and solitude
The majestic beauty of a mountain that can still define
The inspiration and aspirations of all who visit

‘Kinder’ the heart and soul of our Peak District

Steve "Blade" Lindop
Estate Team Supervisor

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

National Trust Walking Festival

Walk with us and discover the great outdoors in the Peak District with the following events or with one of our downloadable walks from the website:

Twilight Walks at Longshaw, Ilam Park and Edale

24, 25 & 26 October 2011
Take a stroll into dusk with one of our wardens, and find out about
some of the wildlife of these special places, after a bowl of seasonal
soup at the visitor centre/ tea room. 5 - 7.30pm.
£8 adult, £5 child. Booking essential.

Health Walk in Edale

27 October 2011
Join us for a Health Walk in Edale, as part of our programme of
Health Walks in the Peak District. 1.30 - 4pm, Free. Booking not

Drop in Walk at Ilam Park

28 October 2011
Join us for a stroll around Ilam park, on one of our regular drop-in
walks. Meet at 11am at Ilam Park shop. Free. Drop in.
Call 01433 670368 for bookings and information.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Marsh Heritage Award

Question: What does Longshaw’s Kitchen Garden have in common with a stately home in Northumberland, a restored Victorian glasshouse in Norfolk and a cider-making project in Dorset?
Answer: A dedicated team of volunteers whose commitment has won them a national award!

Every year the Marsh Christian Trust and the National Trust present The Marsh Heritage Award for volunteer groups that have added value, made a difference and inspired others. The Awards are the brainchild of Brian Marsh OBE, chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, who set up the charity in 1981 in order to recognize the “unsung heroes” working in conservation, science, the arts, heritage, literature and volunteering. For more information visit

Longshaw Kitchen Garden Volunteers Dave Bone, Jill Beckett and Diane Gourley
are presented with a certificate and cheque for £250 by Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman
of the Marsh Christian Trust.

Last December teams of volunteers across the country applied for the Marsh Heritage Award and a panel of judges then sifted through the applications to whittle them down to 3 winners. This year, however, there are 4, as Longshaw Kitchen Garden achieved joint 3rd place with Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, winning £250 to spend on the project.

The award ceremony took place on 21st July at Corfe Castle on the Purbeck Estate in Dorset, near to where the winning team of cider makers, The Old Volunteers, are based. It was a beautiful setting for the event, which was held in a marquee at the foot of the Castle. Representatives from each team of volunteers gave a short presentation to Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust, Sue Wilkinson, Director of Supporter Development, National Trust and other staff and volunteers from the winning properties. Volunteers Diane Gourley and Dave Bone joined me in an overview of the last 18 months in Longshaw’s Kitchen Garden, demonstrating how, with a lot of hard work and dedication, a neglected lawn could become an incredibly productive organic garden.

As proof of the pudding is in the eating, we’d taken along some goodies from the garden, including a selection of salad leaves and vegetables, together with blackcurrants and strawberries which went very well with the mini clotted cream scones provided by the catering team at Corfe. The Purbeck Team gave us a demo of their apple press and we sampled the resulting juice, which was delicious. We were also given a bottle or two of the winning cider to take home and share with the rest of the team.
Longshaw Kitchen Garden has a fantastic team of truly dedicated volunteers who have worked really hard over the last year and a half to make this project happen, so it was wonderful for our team to receive this award and gain national recognition of our achievement. We’re now planning what to do with our prize money, as we’d like to use it on a specific project, which we could develop over the winter – Longshaw’s Gardeners are always on the go!

This year, despite the disappointing weather, we’ve had another bumper harvest and our new raised bed has produced exceptional crops of salad leaves and lettuce. The fruit has done particularly well with masses of strawberries and blackcurrants which Longshaw’s Catering Supervisor, Sue Dunster, used to create a delicious cheesecake recipe earlier in the summer. This autumn our apples are looking good too. All our produce is organic and used in Longshaw’s Tea Room so why not come along and sample it for yourself.

Ilam Archaeology Day

 Dig in Process.  Photos by Phil Evans, Volunteer Photographer

We held our second ever Archaeology Day at Ilam in July and had a really successful event.  The purpose of the day is twofold: firstly to let our visitors and members know how and why the Trust is involved in archaeology and just how exciting it is, and secondly to find out a little more about the archaeology of Ilam itself.

 Volunteer Steve Maynard with a young Archaeologist
We had around 600 visitors come on what was a lovely sunny Sunday (apart from 20 minutes monsoon style rain in the afternoon!) and were able to put on a wide range of activities and displays of interest to all ages.  The highlight for most children was the “sandpit dig”, a huge sandpit with many buried finds to dig up and find out about.  They also enjoyed making their very own original cave paintings below the Italian Gardens.  A short distance away we had a real dig going on with support from our Regional Archaeologist Rachael Hall, where we dug a trench across some “parch marks” in the grass and found what might be the boundary wall of the original Ilam Hall.  Elsewhere volunteers were excavating the Victorian ram pump that pumped river water up to the hall for the stables and gardens.  One of the most dramatic activities was iron-age style iron smelting, where using a clay stove, iron ore, charcoal and an enormous set of bellows, several kilograms of iron was produced at the end of the day.

Many thanks go to the staff and particularly the volunteers who gave up their Sunday and threw themselves with great enthusiasm into this event – their excitement and passion was infectious and really helped make the day a success.

Next year we want to make it even bigger and better!  I will be trying to get funding to pay for some more specialist archaeologists like our flint knapper and medieval cook to build on our success and make this event one that even more people want to come to.

Paul Mortimer, Projects Officer