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The National Trust

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Carrie Carrie | 16:58 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

Over the last few weeks the English countryside has been at its best. The sun has been shining and the hedgerows have been bursting with flowers - blue, pink, white and yellow.

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I went away for a few days down to Cornwall. Driving around the narrow country lanes and walking along the country footpaths made me think just how lucky we are to be able to enjoy so many beautiful places in such a small country! One of the reasons we are so lucky is because of an organisation called the National Trust.

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The National Trust is a charity and is completely independent of Government. Their purpose is to protect and open to the public historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments. On the way to Cornwall, we visited Stourhead - this is a house in the south west of England with a beautiful garden:

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If you visit the houses and gardens owned by the National Trust you usually have to pay an entrance fee, unless you belong to the National Trust. Anyone can become a member, and for an annual subscription you can vist all the properties owned by the Trust and you don't have to pay. Although a lot of the houses are very old, not all of them are. The Trust owns two houses in Liverpool: you might have heard of the former residents: John Lennon and Paul McCartney!

However, the National Trust doesn't only look after houses and gardens - they also own "forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands - for ever, for everyone." Anyone can visit these for free... In order to look after the land the NT raises money from membership fees, donations and sales. Because they want to protect and save the countryside for future generations, they also run special appeals when they want to try and buy a piece of land or property. Sometimes people leave the NT property or land in their will.

I was walking to Land's End in Cornwall
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when I came a across a small building perched on the edge of a cliff. Although the NT doesn't own Land's End, it does own some of the land close by - this part is called Mayon Cliff.
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The tiny building you can see is a Coastguard Station - used to look out for ships in trouble and during the First World War, for German U-boats. It hasn't been used as a coastguard look-out for more than 50 years - but you can still climb up and admire the views. I met a lovely lady called Annie who works there for the National Trust. For 4 days a week from April to October, her job is to climb up the steps, open up the look-out and chat to any visitors who pass by. In one direction you can see the beautiful Sennen Cove and Cape Cornwall
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and in the other direction the forbidding cliffs of Land's End
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What a fabulous job she has, don't you think? Something like that would be my dream job. What's your dream job?

Part of this land was given to the Trust in 1935 by "Ferguson's Gang". Even now, the identity of only one member of the "gang" is known. They were all well-educated, upper-class women who wanted to save the countryside for future generations. What a mystery and what fantastic women. Because of people like this, we are lucky enough to be able to get away from the cities and towns, breath clean air, see the views, walk along footpaths and take home wonderful memories. One of my favourite sayings is:

"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"
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Take care
Carrie

hedgerows: a row of bushes, trees and plants , usually growing along a countryy lane or between fields
entrance fee: money you have to pay to enter a building or garden
subscription: a fixed amount of money that you pay regularly in order to belong to a club or society
former residents: people who used to live there
appeal: a request for money, often by a charity
will: a legal document stating what you want to happen to your money and property when you die
forbidding: severe and unfriendly

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Carrie, I really like the photos in your post. Fantastic views! One summer I joined a National Trust working holiday on the South Downs. We cleared the woods and learned how to build a fence. It was a great experience for me and I think the NT does an important job to maintain buildings and conserve the beauties of nature for all of us (and those to come).

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Carrie! I really love the countryside. I never go home without a bunch of those pink flowers, I love them and paint them again and again. And yes, meadows look the same here now too, you go to the waist in the greenery just like in the whiteness of snow in March. But what I am sad about, not only by reading your blog, is that there is no NT with such a strong tradition here which could learn our people to worship more the beauty of the country than money and own profit. Beautiful photos, happy land! All the best!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi! You took so wonderful photos!! The views take my breath away :) I wish there were some organization like The NT in Vietnam to protect beautiful landscapes for the future generations and for people (like me :)) to have somewhere truly tranquil and peaceful to get away from the city. It's kinda sad people in Vietnam are now pulling down so many antique houses with large gardens to build skyscrapers and luxurious residential areas. Anyway, thanks for the blog entry!! :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Carrie,
    What a beautiful trip you made and how formidable are the pics you took!
    I love THE GREEN of England. Here we call it "british green" when we want to mention a special type of green. You see ? we think of the colour green whenever we say "England":-)
    My dream job is to administrate a hotel in a lovely tourist place.
    Speaking of other dreams, mine is to visit England one day.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.
    Best wishes,
    Cris (BA - Argentina)

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Carrie,
    Looking at your photos brought a poem to my mind... I only really remember the first line "Oh, to be in England..." I have just looked it up to re-read it. Those views! You must be almost able to hear me sigh wistfully... Though I ought to be fair enough to admit that it isn't downright hardship either to live with the views we get here in Austria. I would accept Ms Annie's job though. Other than that, my dream job, I think, would be singer in a vocal ensemble, such as the Swedish "The Real Group" or the British Hilliard Ensemble or The King's Singers - the two latter having the regrettable limitation of being male only. I rather like all of them and a dozen of other ensembles in addition. Unfortunately I am neither blessed with the kind of voice one would need for this kind of career, nor do I like performing on stage, and - I hate to admit it but I might be a trifle too old by now... Sooo, a dream it is and will continue to be.
    I think it's very interesting that the people in Argentina use the term "British" green! We don't have anything like that in German, as far as I know. Makes me wonder what other special colour designations might be around.
    All the best,
    Elisabeth

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Dear Carrie ,
    What a lovely shots . I always admire your green England and hope to visit UK some day . You are lucky to have such an institution for saving nature and old houses and gardens ....In my counrty there are thousands of breathtaking sceneries but I 'm sorry to say there aren't so strong depatrments for saving it . If you are interested you can vist my Blog to see some of my Shot of my provine beauty in spring ( www.pary-diery.blogspot.com ) or visit my photos in FB .
    cheers

  • Comment number 7.

    Greetings everybody
    The story of the "Ferguson's Gang" has aroused my curiosity.They presented a phenomenal approach by thinking about the future generation.They placed the society needes before their private needs.They were very modest ladies...I admire this kind of people.Their vision is so original and amazement.
    Coincidentally, the word "Gang" connects this post to the previous one…
    So different gang…
    May I refer to the "British Green"? Well it has a completely new meaning during the current Mondial. I guess the British people prefer other colour today...
    Elisabeth thanks for let me know these ensembles
    Bye bye Danny

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh, it is awesome and fabulouse place. Thanks Carrie so much. I love countryside, espcially if it is like what I see now in your pictures. You know you are lucky that you visited this beautiful place.

    Exactly, like what you said she has a great job and for sure I would love to have a job like what she has.

    On the other hand, I would tell that you are expert photographer, as you showed us the place as it should be.

    Best regards,
    Dia

  • Comment number 9.

    Wow! I envy your country!
    I really think that your nation cherishes its history and environment very much. I once came to England and saw some historical ruins there. They were kept very well. I also found that people seldom leave litters or make damages in natural surroundings like coastal places, moorland, downs,etc. Those places were so natural, clean, and unchanged that I felt I could hear the voice of nature and feel its breath.

    Well, my dream job is work with Annie in Coastguard Station and write arcitles to newspapers.

    Best wishes!

  • Comment number 10.

    Dear friend,
    I'm 梁小敏,from China. I like the sentence you said" take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints".
    Bless you!

 

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