Monday, 9 December 2013

Ilam Park's Christmas Festival 2013

The perfect ingredients for festive family fun at Ilam Park have been discovered.

  • 71 wooden reindeers made
  • 208 giant marshmallows eaten
  • 26 fat balls made
  • 94 visits to Santa
  • 46 biscuits iced and decorated

On Sunday 8th December the Christmas Festival at Ilam Park attracted lots of families looking for festive fun in the great outdoors. School children from Ilam CofE Primary School sang carols in the stableyard, whilst Jane the chef offered a great winter BBQ to visitors. Coppiced wood from the White Peak estate provided body parts for the wooden reindeer making which kept our staff and volunteers busy for the 6 hour event! Inside the Manifold Tearoom, freshly made biscuits were decorated by children, with icing and lots of sweets – soon to be eaten by their makers. At the fire, children and parents warmed their hands and toasted giant marshmallows, under the supervision of volunteer Steve Maynard.

We don’t want to wish the year away, but we are looking forward to repeating it all in a years time!

Friday, 6 December 2013

The First Christmas Tree

This is a lovely story which we tell our visiting schoolchildren at Christmas time. We thought you might like to share it with your families and friends. Get your listeners involved with the sound effects of the storm and the birds to really bring it to life!

There was once a great forest which grew up the sides of a tall, steep mountain. The trees stopped growing only where the rocky tips of the mountain reached into the clouds.
The forest had grown here for years and years; ever since the oldest people in the village at the bottom of the mountain could remember and probably even before they were born.
Like the villagers, the trees were all of different ages and heights. The largest of them, the great grandparent trees which had been there ever since the forest started to grow, were twice as tall as houses and had trunks so wide that it was impossible for one person to reach all the way around them. Smaller than these and not so old, were the grandparent trees and the parent trees. And finally, no taller than you or me, were the youngest trees of all, the baby trees. 

Although they were of different sizes, all the trees in the forest had something in common. Their branches swept gracefully to the ground and were covered, not in leaves, but in thick green needles which they kept all year round to protect them from the cold. Because of this the trees were known as ‘evergreens’.

One winter, just as snow was beginning to settle on the mountain, weighing down the branches of the trees and making them bow even lower to the ground than usual, the north wind began to blow. The villagers at the foot of the mountain hurried indoors from the biting cold, closed their shutters and drew their chairs closer to their cosy fires.
The bitterly cold wind blew gently at first but steadily gained in strength. In the dark sky, the clouds gathered thicker so that the stars could no longer be seen. The trees in the forest shivered, snow dropping from their branches.
Time passed and, as it did so, the wind blew in stronger and stronger gusts, swirling the snow around and around into great drifts. The trees in the forest shivered and shook, bracing themselves against the wind. As the night wore on, the wind grew stronger and faster, louder and louder until it roared its way all around the mountain. The trees in the forest were pushed this way and that, clinging with their roots to the stony mountain soil below. But the smallest of the trees did not have the strength to withstand the wind’s force and soon they were being ripped from the ground and caught up into the spiral of the

For days, the storm continued; stronger, faster and angrier than ever. Soon even the parent trees and the grandparent trees were being pulled from the ground and smashed against the mountainside. Then as suddenly as the storm had started, it stopped. Everything became quiet and still. The villagers at the bottom of the mountain crept timidly out of their houses to see what damage had been done to their forest. Up towards the mountain they climbed but when they reached where the forest should have been they found that it was no longer there. In its place was a vast expanse of devastation. Broken trees lay everywhere – it seemed as if every single tree in the forest had been destroyed. 

The villagers stood in silence. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Unexpectedly, out of the silence, they heard the sweet sound of birdsong. Where could it be coming from they wondered? There, on the far side of the mountain, stood one solitary remaining tree, one of the great grandparent trees. The oldest tree in the forest, it still stood strong, having survived the terrible storm. And on its topmost branch perched a beautiful yellow bird singing as if celebrating the new day. As the villagers watched in wonder, more birds appeared on the end of the tree’s branches and these were all of different colours – red, green, orange, pink and blue. All of them were singing so that the air was filled with their beautiful sound.

The villagers were so happy that at least this, the strongest of the trees had survived the storm and protected all the birds of the forest. So every midwinter from that time onwards, they covered the tree with brightly coloured decorations, to remind them of how the tree had given shelter to all the birds in the forest. 

And that is how the first Christmas tree came to be decorated and how it is that, every year, we decorate trees at Christmas.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bamford Primary School launches our ‘Treegeneration’ project

On Wednesday 6th November, National Trust Peak District Rangers visited Bamford Primary School in Derbyshire to launch ‘Treegeneration’, a project to grow native trees from seed.

The day started with an assembly introducing the ‘Treegeneration’ project to children at the school. Afterwards, one child from each year group joined our Rangers to look for acorns from very old local oak trees. As they collected the acorns, they made a careful note of which trees the acorns came from.

Looking for acorns © National Trust/Kait Jones

In the afternoon, every child in the school had the opportunity to plant an acorn, and made a note on the pot of which tree it had come from. The acorns will be left to germinate over winter, and will be cared for by the school children until they are ready to be planted out.

Planting the acorns © National Trust/Kait Jones

Rachel Mora-Bannon, who is leading the ‘Treegeneration’ project, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for local children to get outdoors and connect with nature. These children will be adults when the oak trees they planted are mature and many are looking forward to seeing their trees in the Peak District as they grow up.”

Planting the acorns © National Trust/Kait Jones

The ‘Treegeneration’ project is part of the High Peak Moors Vision and Plan, which was launched on 20th September 2013. The oak trees will one day line the valleys and cloughs on National Trust managed land near the children’s school in Bamford.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Discovering Fungi!

(c) John Leach
(c) John Leach
For one whole day, on Saturday 2nd November, the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate in the Peak District will be devoted to its magical world of fungi! A variety of fungi-themed activities for all ages can be enjoyed, including walks and trails and hands-on crafts and displays, based at the Moorland Discovery Centre from 10:30am – 3:30pm.

Longshaw is famous for its beautiful and rare fungi.  With at least 600 different species recorded which range from the majestic to the downright weird, there’s the chance to spot all kinds of wonderful mushrooms, including the bright and colourful waxcaps, which thrive on the Longshaw meadows.

Self-led fungi-spotting trails will allow families to explore the wonders of Longshaw freely, whilst guided walks by the experts (the fun-guys themselves!) will provide fascinating insights and information about the world of fungi for curious minds. Hands-on crafts activities will bring create a new arty connection with fungi, all set to the backdrop of colourful displays. 

The National Trust’s Visitor Experience Officer, Jenny Gerrans, says: “Our Discovering Fungi day is a great chance for people at all levels of learning to find out more about these incredible life-forms!  Everyone is welcome to join in and see what they can spot at this peak time of the year for fungi.  It is also a chance for us to ask people to please treat fungi with care and not to pick them but to leave them in their place to spread their spores and so that other visitors can benefit from seeing them too.”

Tickets: All £3, with no booking required.

The Moorland Discovery Centre is a short walk down into the woods near the Foxhouse pub on the Longshaw Estate, S11 7TZ.
Bus service: 272 from Castleton; 65, 214 & 272 from Sheffield. Car parking available.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Our autumn events in the Peak District

Half term is nearly here and we’re getting inspired by our spooky bats and other nocturnal animals as well as weird and wonderful fungi and autumn colours…  At Longshaw and Ilam Park you can pick up a trail over half term for just £1 and you’ll be rewarded with a Hallowe’en themed treat at the café when you’ve finished.

Hallowe’en Family Trails    
Longshaw, near Hathersage
Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov, 10.30am-3.30pm
Pick up a trail sheet from the shop and spot the spooky signs as you find your way around the haunted Longshaw. Wear wellies!  £1

Spooky Fun and Autumn Art
Longshaw, near Hathersage
Mon 27 Oct – Fri 1 Nov, 10.30 – 3.30pm
Drop-in at the Moorland Discovery Centre for autumn crafts & spooky activities. £2 activities 

Spooky Halloween Trail     
Ilam Park, White Peak
Sat 26 Oct - Sun 3 Nov, 11am-4pm
Take the spooky trail through the Ilam Park and discover what lives in the woods. Complete challenges and answer clues along the way. Suitable for all the family. £1 per trail leaflet

Discovering Fungi
Longshaw, near Hathersage
Sat 2 Nov, 10.30am-3.30pm
A day of fungi themed activities for all ages, including short walks discovering Longshaw’s fungi along the way, some hands-on craft activities and displays at the Moorland Discovery Centre. Drop in throughout the day.  Wear wellies!  £3

Have a go at Hedge-Laying
Dark Peak, Peak District
Sat 2 Nov, 9.30am-3.30pm
Have a go at the traditional countryside craft of hedge-laying. Learn the basic techniques of laying hedges with National Trust Rangers. £30 B

Tales & Tunes at the Penny Pot
Penny Pot Café, Edale
Fri 22 Nov, 7.30pm-10.30pm
An evening of intriguing tales from Raymond Greenoaken, live folk music courtesy of local trio Dogwood Rose, and a delicious and hearty meal in the Penny Pot Café.  Bring your own bottle. £10 B

Christmas Wreath Making Workshops
Longshaw, near Hathersage
Sat 23 Nov, 10.30am-3.00pm
Ilam Park, White Peak
Sat 30 Nov, 10.30am – 3.00pm
Make a beautiful traditional wreath with our expert at the Moorland Discovery Centre. £20 B

We have regular drop-in walks at Ilam Park (Fridays) and Longshaw (Wednesdays & Sundays) - all starting at 11am and meeting outside the shop/ visitor centre, and free to join in!

B   =  Booking is essential                  

Call 0844 249 1895 to book events (unless shown otherwise) or call 01433 670368 for information
Visit our website to book & for information:
Dark Peak including Penny Pot:
Ilam Park, Dovedale & Ecton:

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

4forRed4 Peak District Challenge

4forRed4 Peak District Challenge

RAF Test Pilots and Fast Jet Navigators are taking part in an exciting
teamwork challenge for young people. 4forRed4 is a high profile
fundraising event for the Jon Egging Trust, which was set up to honour
RAF Red Arrow’s Pilot Jon Egging (Red 4) who tragically died two years
ago at the Bournemouth Airshow.

4forRed4 demonstrates the ethos of the Jon Egging Trust Blue Skies Programme:
• Inspiration
• Teamwork
• Leadership
• Widening Horizons
• Helping young people be the best they can be.

On the 15th October 2013 four teams of young people will be part of an expedition
navigating four separate routes up Kinder Scout in the Peak District. Each team will
include a qualified mountain leader and and an inspirational individual. These include a
Test Pilot from the Empire Test Pilot School at Boscombe Down, an ex Red Arrow, and
both male and female Fast Jet Navigators.

The Trust has developed an exciting and unique youth engagement programme – Blue
– which provides new opportunities to help disadvantaged young people achieve
their full potential. In the past two years we have given young people teamwork and
leadership experiences varying from a day with the Red Arrows, to digging up bones on
Salisbury plain with Wessex Archaeology. The Blue Skies Programme is now established
in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Dorset, providing young people with new opportunities to help
them be the best they can be. Emma Egging, founder of the charity says “Although we
are a small charity we have big ambitions. By 2016 we will be established
nationwide, operating in seven different counties and positively affecting the lives
of 400 young people each year. We are asking people to sponsor events like
4forRed4 to ensure that Jon Egging’s legacy of inspiring and achieving lives on
through his Trust.”

The participating schools in 4forRed4 are:
• Priory Witham Academy, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
•Downham Market Academy, Downham Market, Norfolk
•Glenmoor and Winton School, Bournemouth, Dorset

For more information please contact:
Su Ingle - Tel: 07789 430642

Registered Charity in England and Wales 1148180

Monday, 14 October 2013

Peak District Bunkhouses

This is the current weekend availability (at 14 October 2013), please note dates do get booked quickly so it’s advised to book now to avoid disappointment. To check weekday dates please get in touch.

2013 13-15, 20-22 December
Ilam Bunkhouse - living area
2014 All in January and February
March: 28-2, 7-9, 21-23, 28-30
April: 4-6, 18-21
May: 2-5, 16-18, 23-26, 30-1 June
June: 6-8, 13-15, 20-22
July: 11-13, 18-20, 25-27
August: 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-25, 29-31
September: 5-7, 12-14, 19-21
October: 17-19, 24-26
November 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
All in December 

Dalehead Bunkhouse - living area
2014 All in January & February
March: 28-2, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
April: 11-13
May: 30-1 June
June: 6-8
July: none
August: 29-31
September: none
October: 17-19
November: 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
December: 5-7, 19-21, 31-4 Jan

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Escapes and Photography: Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud

This is a lovely blog about walking in Dovedale by 

Escapes and Photography: Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud: Dovedale is a beautiful area on the southern part of the Peak District. It is a valley with the river Dove running through it for about ...

Reaching the summit - Kinder Jack

‘Kinder Jack’ made the summit

Thursday 10 October 2013: Friends help Jack Thompson to the top of Kinder Scout

Keen walker and mountaineer Jack Thompson (89) from Dronfield had his greatest wish fulfilled on Thursday 10 October when he was helped to the top of his favourite peak, Kinder Scout, by fellow walkers and Rangers from the National Trust.  
Mr Thompson loves Kinder. He was a regular rambler with the St John’s Church Dronfield walking group until health problems, age and limited mobility meant he had to stop. He asked his friends, who nick-name him ‘Kinder Jack’, to arrange a visit before he reaches his 90th birthday next February. The National Trust agreed to help but recommended an autumn trip to avoid potentially hazardous winter conditions.

National Trust Rangers for Kinder and Edale Mark Leah and Myles Brazil have volunteered their time to make Jack’s wish to stand on Kinder again come true. They drove the small walking party in a Landrover at 11am from Hayfield to Edale Cross and then accompanied them the short distance on foot to Kinder Low.

Joining Jack on this special occasion were members of the St John’s Church walking group Christine and Brian Sleath, David Grainger and Wendy Hudson. Also in the party, and supplying the birthday cake, was  Cynthia Ramsden from Holmesfield who climbed Mont Blanc with Jack in August 1999. 

Happy 90th Birthday Jack!