On tenterhooks as Bourne Mill’s history set to be discussed

How much do you know about Bourne Mill and its role in Colchester’s industrial past? This January the University of Essex is hosting a conference that will give people the chance to find out more about Colchester’s working past, as well as unveil a set of reconstructed fulling stocks powered by bicycle!

The quaint Bourne Mill, seen across the mill pond

This free conference, which is open to everyone, is part of a year-long ‘young roots’ project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, University of Essex, Essex County Council and the National Trust. It involves young people aged 11 to 25 exploring their local heritage through the telescope of Bourne Mill.

The conference will explore the rich history of Bourne Mill and the role that it and the people connected with it, played in the local and regional community. Expert speakers who have been imparting their knowledge to the students will discuss the key themes of mills and milling; textiles and fashion; and social history. And we can’t wait to unveil a set of bicycle-powered fulling-stocks, reconstructed as a project centrepiece on the mill’s history.

Sarah Barfoot, our Community Engagement Manager in Essex picks up the story…

As you look at Bourne Mill today in its idyllic grounds, it’s hard to imagine that this beautiful building once played a key part in the local cloth industry. It has also been a fishing/banqueting lodge for Colchester’s elite and a corn-mill at different points in its history.

Sitting at the head of Bourne Brook and pond, fed by a natural spring, Bourne Mill was built in 1591 with its distinctive Dutch gables. In its lifetime it has seen the rise and fall of the cloth trade in East Anglia and was once a hub of industry, surrounded by fields that shone white with the drying cloth on tenterframes.

Bourne Mill was a fulling mill and before fulling stocks the process of fulling meant ‘walking the cloth’, getting your feet wet in a tub of stale urine, as Tony Robinson explains below.

Chamber-lye, another name for urine was also used as part of the washing process to break down the oils in the wool. But did you know that the best urine came from males who liked a pint or two? One of our younger volunteers is devising a downloadable walk to take in a few of the local pubs, though, we might have to resist asking visitors to fill the pot as they pass outside the gate, which was once common practice!

This process from start to finish resulted in the finest ‘Colchester White’, a cloth famed for its quality and controlled by the Dutch merchants in the town. Colchester White is no longer made and isn’t to be confused with the modern baize. In fact there are only fragments left of it at Hollytrees Museum in Colchester.

Bourne Mill Bay Cloth HollyTrees Museum - cropped

At Bourne Mill the harnessing of water as a constant power source was important for driving the wheel, which worked the machinery powering the fulling stocks. These would have been used at Bourne Mill to pound the woollen cloth to clean it and make it thicker before the cloth was stretched on frames using tenterhooks in the fields surrounding the site. It’s going to be great to be able to show visitors how the fulling stocks would have worked and children will even be able to have a go on our bicycle-powered reconstruction of them.

Hear from Abigayle Crockett, one of the students involved in the project to see what she has got out of the project and why she is passionate about Bourne Mill.

“I think Bourne Mill is amazing and is a hidden gem in Colchester that more people need to find out about and engage with.”

The project will have finished by the time the Mill is ready to receive visitors for the 2016 season. But it is clear that there is more to discover, completing the ‘Full’ story of Bourne Mill.

So for now you can book your free tickets attend the conference on Saturday 16 January to start your immersion into this fascination world.




2015 was the year of the coast

2015 has been a year of coastal celebrations at the National Trust and here in the East of England it’s not hard to see why we wanted to mark the 50 year milestone of raising funds for the coastline in our care.

001 Brancaster Beach

Brancaster Beach, Norfolk Coast

Back in late 2014 we asked award-winning photographer, Justin Minns, to help us capture the beauty of the coast in our care over the course of the year and here are some of our favourites from his stunning collection.

002 Sheringham Park

Sheringham Park, Norfolk Coast

So what is it about the coast that captures Justin’s imagination…

“I love the coast. It was the beautiful east coast sunrises that first attracted me to landscape photography and it’s the diversity of the East Anglian coastline that keeps me coming back with my camera.”

The new area of heathland at Dunwich Heath

Dunwich Heath, Suffolk Coast

“From the exposed saltmarsh teeming with birdlife, brooding beneath endless Norfolk skies; to the tiny harbours with stacks of lobster pots and brightly coloured boats strewn in the mud at low tide.”

004 Stiffkey

Stiffkey, Norfolk Coast

003 Brancaster Staithe

Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk Coast

“From Norfolk’s vast pristine sandy beaches, fringed with dunes, grasses swaying in the breeze, to the wild shingle coastline below the purple heather and yellow gorse-splashed cliffs at Dunwich Heath.”

011 Brancaster Beach

Brancaster Beach, Norfolk Coast

005 Dunwich Beach

Dunwich Heath, Suffolk Coast

“The coast is somewhere to arrive, not just a place to pass through.”

009 Blakeney Freshes

Blakeney Freshes, Norfolk Coast

010 Blakeney Point

Blakeney Point, Norfolk Coast

“Muted winter landscapes are brought to life by the chattering of wildfowl. In spring and summer the shingle, marsh and heathland come alive with birdsong and a vibrant patchwork of plants.”

007 Orford Ness

Orford Ness, Suffolk Coast

“The saltmarshes and mud flats provide food for tens of thousands of birds whose calls and cries ring out on a sunny afternoon as loudly as on a misty morning, giving a characteristic reminder of exactly where you are.”

006 Northey Island

Northey Island, Essex Coast

It takes an intimate knowledge of the features and conditions of each stretch of coastline. But ultimately, our vision in the years ahead is to work with natural processes as they continuously shape our coastline, conserve our coastal and marine wildlife, and where possible we’d like nothing to get in the way of an amazing view. We’ll help more people enjoy access to the seaside, celebrate the history that has shaped our coastline and explore ways to continue to raise funds for its care.

012 Orford Ness

Orford Ness, Suffolk Coast

So, as we welcome in the New Year, we want to say a BIG thank you for all of your support in caring for the coast over the last 50 years and for celebrating with us in 2015. We hope you agree, Justin’s done an amazing job at capturing the beauty of our coastline. Here’s to continuing our work to protect, care and enjoy it for many more years to come.

Replica carpet is made for Felbrigg Hall after historic looms revived

After years of planning and months in the making, Felbrigg Hall’s library has now been restored to its former glory, with the arrival of a custom-made new carpet based on the unique original. 


All photographs courtesy of Paul Bailey

We caught up with Felbrigg’s House and Collections Manager, Louise Green, who has been overseeing the laying of the carpet this week…

The original library carpet, which dated from around 1830, had become extremely faded and worn – from age, light and nearly 200 years of use.  It was not possible to repair the damaged tapestry carpet, as the original yarn had been dyed with the pattern before being woven. So, we looked at ways to replicate its historic design.


Analysis of the original carpet revealed that it was made up of 30 colours in a 3ft floral design, making it a rare surviving example of a printed tapestry carpet. The pattern was traced and the colours carefully matched, before being expertly woven in strips and sewn into one piece before its arrival at Felbrigg.

The new carpet has been made by specialists from The Living Looms Project, a not-for-profit project based in Stourport that seeks to preserve our nation’s weaving heritage. Their late 19th century carpet looms are the last of their kind in the world and thought to be the only ones capable of making such a replica. Using traditional methods and historic looms recently revived, they have not only produced a new carpet, but are helping to keep alive the skills to make it.

In recent days, the original carpet has been removed and new underlay put in place.  Now the carpet has been laid, giving visitors a taste of the library’s original grandeur.


It’s felt a little like Christmas, waiting for the carpet to arrive. The National Trust is founded on the principle of caring for our country’s heritage and if we want to maintain the intrinsic character of ageing properties like Felbrigg Hall well into the future, then we also need to preserve the traditional skills and machines that will make that possible.

Mike Sutherill is the Curator for the National Trust in the East of England;

“The invention of the printed tapestry looms marked a massive change in carpet design, allowing manufacturers to use more colours than they ever could before. So it was important to us, to try to replicate the carpet in as much detail as possible, so visitors to Felbrigg could see just how beautiful and colourful the original carpet would have once looked. To witness the process and skill involved to take single threads to create the colourful pattern in this carpet was just incredible.”

David Luckham, from The Living Looms Project added;

“Any product is only as good as the specification and skills employed in its manufacture, so it has been a pleasure and privilege for The Living Looms Project to work with the knowledgeable team at the National Trust. Without the support and backing from conservation individuals and organisations like the National Trust for traditional skills and standards to be maintained, numerous important historic textiles including carpets and tapestries will disappear. The houses will be poorer for this and, once gone, these textiles and skills will be lost to future generations.”


With the replica carpet now laid, we just need to move the furniture back.

Ground-breaking mapping project reveals 50 years of land use change along the coast

One of the biggest mapping projects of the 20th century has been repeated 50 years on by the National Trust to understand how the way land is being used along the coast and how it’s changed since 1965.

Stiffkey, Norfolk (Photo credit Justin Minns Photography)

On 11 May 1965, concerned about the potential impact of development and industrialisation on the coast, the National Trust launched the fundraising campaign, Neptune. That summer, as part of the Trust’s efforts to focus public attention on these threats, geography students from the University of Reading were appointed to survey how land was being used at the coast.

In addition to establishing land use, the survey sought to identify coastline considered to be ‘pristine’ and in need of long-term protection from development and poor land management.

Now, five decades on, the survey has been repeated by geographers at the University of Leicester. They were commissioned by the National Trust to revisit the pioneering mapping project to determine the location and nature of land use change along the coast and establish how successful the Neptune campaign had been.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of thousands of supporters, the campaign has achieved extraordinary success and raised more than £65 million. This has helped the Trust to acquire, care for and provide access to the 775 miles of coastline in its care with just one mile of coast costing the charity £3000 to look after every year.

 Orford Ness, Suffolk (Photo credit: Justin Minns Photography)

  • The new mapping report, which compares the two surveys, shows that a total of three quarters (74%) of the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland remains undeveloped providing an important resource for people and nature.
  • Much of the land that has remained undeveloped is now protected by landscape or nature conservation designations such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In fact, of the 3,342 miles identified as pristine in 1965, 94% of this has some form of statutory protection.

We talked to Peter Nixon, Director of Land, Landscapes and Nature for the National Trust:

“50 years after we launched our Neptune campaign, most of the UK coast remains undeveloped. Our coastline has been spared the sort of sprawling development that other countries have suffered. This is a moment to pause and celebrate the generosity and passion of our supporters, and the value of a robust planning system in securing a coastline that people can access and enjoy. National Trust ownership provides unique permanent protection of the coastline to benefit people and nature, and there is a continuing need for us to raise funds for this. But we also know that 90% of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland agree that it’s important that the planning system works to protect the beauty of our coastline, and long may that continue.”

As the findings of the two surveys illustrate the importance of a robust and well-enforced planning process, the National Trust hopes it will encourage partnership working within and between local communities, landowners and policy makers in order to maintain a sustainable and beautiful coast for the next 50 years.

Peter went onto say:

“We must also look out to sea where the challenges are now much greater. As the need for offshore development increases, the new marine planning process must be as effective and rigorous as the planning system on land has become.”

Along with helping to ensure the coastline is protected from inappropriate development the National Trust will remain dedicated to providing access to the coast by working with others, while caring for its wildlife and heritage. Part of this will be supporting the Government’s commitment to creating a coastal footpath around the whole of England by 2020. Climate change will also accelerate the natural process of coastal change, and this November the Trust will set out its commitment to addressing this challenge.

New research into daylight exposure of historic spaces

New research into the distribution of natural light and its level of exposure in historic buildings has been carried out by Loughborough University on behalf of the National Trust.

smoking room

John Mardaljevic, Professor of Building Daylight Modelling, in the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University, has been using high dynamic range (HDR) imaging to measure where the natural light falls at different points throughout the day and over several months in the Smoking Room at Ickworth in Suffolk.

As a result of this research, which was conducted in partnership with Cannon-Brookes Lighting and Design, we’re looking into the feasibility of revising our daylight management guide for our historic houses, which takes into consideration the scheduling and use of shutters and blinds in each of our rooms.

You can read more about the research on light exposure carried out by Loughborough University here.

Dr Nigel Blades, Preventive Conservation Adviser at the National Trust, said:

“The research is enabling the National Trust to understand better than ever before, the fall of daylight onto light sensitive surfaces in historic showrooms. We are learning how the daylight received accumulates through the days and seasons of the year. This knowledge will enable us to understand the impact of extended opening hours on light exposure.

Based on the research, we will fine tune our use of daylight to minimise the rate of change in light sensitive objects, while providing sufficient daylight for visitors to enjoy our collections.”

The last 20 years have witnessed a marked reassessment of the function and evaluation of natural illumination in buildings. At the National Trust we’re keen to balance visitor enjoyment with the preservation of paintings, textiles and furniture that are vulnerable to light fading and ageing.

National Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support as it unveils major new project

The National Trust has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project, ‘Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo’.

Sutton hoo 1

Photo credit Justin Minns Photography

Thanks to National Lottery players, the £2.4m project will transform the experience visitors have when visiting the site of the world famous Anglo-Saxon burial mounds and release the full potential of the dramatic landscape and its fascinating story.

A Heritage Lottery Fund ‘first round pass’ grant of £150,000 has now been awarded to help us progress the project through its early development stages, which will see the overall plans take shape in consultation with National Trust members and the local community.

Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and the 7th century burial mounds, excavated from the late 1930s onwards, have revealed items including the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet that have helped shape our understanding of the origins of English history. The landscape has been cared for by the National Trust since 1998.

Luke Potter, East Suffolk General Manager, said:

“We want to enrich and enhance the experience people have when visiting Sutton Hoo. This special place is about so much more than the treasure, it tells the hugely significant story of how the first English people lived their lives. Their significance continues to resonate down the centuries in our language, our craft traditions and our connections to land and landscape.

The project aims to release the power and magical inspiration of Sutton Hoo’s history by untapping the human stories that reside within its landscape. We aim to create a layered experience that reaches out and appeals to diverse and new audiences, from the academic to the casual visitor.”

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said:

“I’m delighted Sutton Hoo has been successful in obtaining a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Creating a new interactive experience to showcase the story of this hugely important excavation is important for our national heritage and will attract many more visitors to Suffolk important for our local economy.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said:

“Sutton Hoo is one of the most important Anglo-Saxon sites in the world and it’s exciting that thanks to National Lottery players, Sutton Hoo will be transformed for visitors from near and far. This is a great opportunity to share this amazing place and its stories from the past 6000 years.”

Although still in the early development stage, ‘Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo’ will ultimately see visitors take a whole new route through the landscape, with the importance and setting of the burial mounds playing a central role.

Sutton Hoo 2

Photo credit Justin Minns Photography

Plans include building a raised platform to provide views over the entire burial ground and to the River Deben beyond, which itself played such a significant part in the Sutton Hoo story. It was from the river that the Anglo-Saxon ship was hauled up the valley before it was used in the burial chamber found in Mound One, where the famous treasure was discovered, and it is hoped that visitors will also follow in the footsteps of the final stages of this dramatic journey. New innovative interpretation will help bring both the landscape and the museum to life.

The aim of the project is to create an experience that will appeal to a wide range of visitors, whether they are holidaymakers looking for a family-friendly day out, local people who regularly enjoy the landmark, students studying the Anglo-Saxon period or people from around the world with an interest in archaeology.

The project will bring a wide range of inclusive learning and hands-on/participatory opportunities for all visitors to Sutton Hoo, including an enhanced formal education programme, an art and craftsmanship programme and a range of new volunteering roles.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2021. So watch this space.

New book: Landscapes of the National Trust

We caught up with Ben Cowell, Regional Director for the National Trust in the East of England and co-author of a new book that has just reached our bookshelves…

Felbrigg-lo-38Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk (photo credit Justin Minns Photography)

For me, no other word captures the National Trust’s mission better than the word ‘landscape’. It’s a word that implies many different things: the landscape paintings that hang in our mansion properties, perhaps, or the gardens and parks that surround many of our houses. Yet the word can also apply to the everyday landscapes of fields, farms, beaches, woods, heaths, villages, towns and city suburbs. Our job is to be true to the spirits that reside in all of these places, and which make them so enjoyable for people to live in, visit and explore.

A new book recently published by the National Trust, explores landscapes in all their complexity, and the Trust’s role in looking after them. Landscapes of the National Trust is richly illustrated by pictures of landscapes of all kinds and from all over the country. The book is the product of collaboration with academic researchers sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and affirms the importance of thinking broadly about the concept of landscape while also being mindful of the need to protect landscapes for future generations.

Sheringham-lo-14Sheringham Park, Norfolk (photo credit Justin Minns Photography)

As a charity, the National Trust has a unique mission: to preserve places of ‘historic interest or natural beauty’. These are the words enshrined in the Act of Parliament of 1907 that put us on a statutory footing, after we were first founded in 1895. The words are of their time, although it is perhaps fitting that we have one of very few acts of Parliament that seek expressly to promote ‘beauty’.

Landscapes are in a constant state of change, which means that to preserve them we need first to understand what it is about them that is special and in need of protection.

Here in the East of England we are blessed with a diverse canvas of landscape of all kinds. We are famous for being a farming region, and many of our places such as Wimpole and Blickling are surrounded by hundreds of acres of actively managed farmland. We work closely with our farm tenants to influence the way in which this land is cultivated, and at Wimpole we have one of the few in-hand National Trust farms in the country. Visitors there appreciate the chance to hear more about the practical business of farming in the 21st century, and the Trust’s role in looking after the quality of our soils and livestock.

Dunwich Heath-1Dunwich Heath, Suffolk (photo credit Justin Minns Photography)

The East of England region is also defined by its coast, from Norfolk’s golden sandy beaches and nature reserves to the unique coastal landscapes of Dunwich Heath and Orford Ness in Suffolk. This year we’ve been marking the 50th anniversary of our Enterprise Neptune campaign, established in 1965 to raise funds so that areas of coastline could be saved for the nation. Sea level rise and climate change are having a profound influence on these landscapes, raising questions about what we mean when we say we are here to protect places ‘for ever’.

The National Trust is looking to play its part in facing into the challenges of the 21st century, while also remembering what we are here for: looking after special places for everyone.

Landscapes of the National Trust by Stephen Daniels, Ben Cowell and Lucy Veale is published by the National Trust. ISBN  9781907892813. 

National Trust calls for urgent action to manage threats to our coastline

The National Trust is calling for urgent action from Government and agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure all coastal areas are ready for the enormous challenges presented by severe storms and rising sea levels.

Morston on the Norfolk Coast – photo credit Justin Minns Photography

Did you know that 12,500 new homes and businesses have been built in coastal areas at risk of significant erosion or flooding over the last decade despite a range of national guidance strongly advising against such developments?

And only one in three coastal planning authorities in England have the most up-to-date planning policy in place to deal with rising sea levels and more frequent storms.

In 2013 and 2014, you might remember how our coastline was battered by a series of storms and high tides which resulted in levels of erosion and flooding experts would usually expect to see every five to 15 years. And, in the coming years extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent, affecting people and natural habitats putting coastal wildlife at risk.

mg_3050bNorfolk Coast Path – photo credit CamroVision Photography

In our new report Shifting Shores – playing our part at the coast” we’re calling for a bold and imaginative approach to coastline management, involving an understanding of how nature works, moving towards adaptation and away from maintaining engineered defences, where appropriate, while being sensitive to community needs. This includes ending the ineffective cycle of continually rebuilding hard sea defences and instead relocating buildings, infrastructure and habitats to safe areas further inland at some of our more at risk locations.

Earlier this year at Dunwich Heath in Suffolk, we announced the acquisition of 36 acres of coastal heathland adjacent to the existing Heath.

Grant Lohoar is the Countryside Manager…

“The coastline is constantly changing in this part of Suffolk and erosion means the land is being lost. Re-named Mount Pleasant Heath, the acquisition demonstrates the Trust’s long-term planning approach which recognises coastal change and aims to ensure new habitats are created and secured for the future.”

Dunwich Heath in Suffolk – photo credit Justin Minns Photography

The Trust, which cares for 775 miles of coastline for the nation, will be putting this approach into practice with its commitment to have plans in place for 80 of the coastal areas it cares for by 2020.

Here’s what Phil Dyke, the National Trust’s Coastal Marine Adviser had to say…

“We know from our own experience how difficult taking the adaptive approach can be, despite all the good policy guidance that now exists. But action is now needed by all coastal stakeholders to manage the threats to our beautiful and diverse coast to prevent us drifting into a future where our coast is a rim of concrete. We need to actively transition from maintaining old defences to working with natural processes, where and when it’s appropriate, to conserve the beauty and wildlife of our coastline.”

Recreating a naturally functioning shoreline will free us from the sea defence cycle of construct, fail and reconstruct and lessen the impacts of severe weather.

At coastal areas at risk we also want to ensure there is space and land to help with a managed realignment; rolling back and relocating buildings, infrastructure, shoreline and habitats. For example, the National Trust has recently acquired Dunsbury Farm on the Isle of Wight to allow for the rolling back of Compton Bay to secure continued coastal access and for new wildlife-friendly habitats for any displaced species.

IMG_0429-EditBlakeney on the Norfolk Coast – photo credit: Justin Minns Photography

The Trust also favours a landscape-scale style approach, where large areas of the coast are viewed as a whole to create more joined up and better managed stretches of coastline.  It is also committed to working in partnership with a wide range of local landowners, communities and groups to deliver a joined up approach to managing coastal change, which works for all the parties involved.

This approach can be seen at Blakeney in North Norfolk. After the area suffered widespread flooding during the tidal surge at the end of 2013 we worked closely with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Norfolk County Council and other partners to find ways to evacuate saltwater from grazing marshes owned by us and other landowners and deal with the impact on the National Trail footpath whilst taking account of the wildlife that lives there. The legacy of this work is ensuring that we have active partnerships in the area where we are seeking the best outcomes for people and wildlife, for the long-term.

Peter Nixon, is our Director of Land, Landscape and Nature at the National Trust…

“The harsh truth is that our natural environment is in poor health – wildlife is in decline, over-worked soils are being washed out to sea and climate change is becoming an increasing threat. The Trust has always been about much more than simply looking after the place it manages. The complex and ever-changing challenges we face on the coastline can only be addressed by working in partnership with others. We can’t and won’t ever succeed on our own.

Above all we need to understand the forces of nature at work, so that we can all make well-informed choices about whether and where to continue maintaining hard defences or to adapt to and work with natural processes.”

In order to manage our coasts for the future, including the impacts of climate change, we need to work with the grain of nature and not against it.  A long term vision, with action to reduce risk and create new habitats for wildlife, will protect inland regions from flooding and ensure that future generations can enjoy the coastline as we do today.

Green champions celebrated at Environmental Awards

From reducing energy use and saving water to planning for a green future, work by National Trust teams to help create a greener region has been celebrated at an awards ceremony last night.

x8n6MBcuWWsGzkFJjdHKy2HKoO6u--pbnS0QkvyHECYPhotos courtesy of Paul Tibbs

With winners coming from Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the East of England Environmental Awards saw muddy boots, kitchen uniforms and blustery coastlines swapped for suits and evening wear for the ceremony at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge.

National Trust teams from around the East were competing for prizes in ten categories, including Green Kitchen, Wise Use of Water, Holiday Cottage Hero, Best Energy Reduction and Green Team of the Year.


As the largest conservation charity in Europe, the National Trust is committed to reducing its energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Of the remaining 80%, half will be from renewable energy sources.

Speaking after the ceremony, the Trust’s Environmental Practices Adviser for the East of England, Miranda Campbell, said:

“We work hard to ensure our supporters see our places looking their best, but there’s also a huge amount of innovative work that happens behind the scenes to keep these historic places ready for the challenges of the future. Our teams are really encouraged to take steps to reduce impacts on the environment and these awards are a way to say thank you for work that is often unseen. We are determined here in the East to meet some ambitious environmental targets and it is great to be able to recognise all the contributions made towards those.”

The awards were sponsored by Adnams and Anglian Water and each winner received a unique wooden plaque made from magnolia sourced from Sheringham Park in Norfolk. The plaques were all created by Norfolk woodturner Keverne Dewick and engraved by the Bury St Edmunds charity, Workwise. Winners also received a framed certificate, and a bottle of bubbly from Adnams.


The categories and winners were as follows:

Green Team of the Year – for the team making the greatest overall impact
Winner: Green Living team, Felbrigg Hall Norfolk and Regional Consultancy

O9dSPtKaOhOldT0yV1UCyJvKBw1Av2kBCJ4T19znVRsFelbrigg Hall annually hosts “Green Build”, organised by North Norfolk District Council, but this year, the 6,000 visitors had the opportunity to visit the National Trust’s own Green Living stand. This was planned and run as a joint effort by members of the property and consultancy team. The focus of the stand was green living past and present, with a special trail developed around the property linking these aspects together and included the ice house, the donkey wheel, the dovecote, composting, the walled garden, rainwater harvesting, woodland and energy reduction measures.

Best Energy Reduction – for those making the greatest improvements in reduction of energy use in oil, electricity and gas
Winner: Ickworth, Suffolk3eTO3SZRYBgb_Y3IcNbKw6494H8usC8OC5JQG3H3fRs

Ickworth has made a clear commitment to installing energy reducing technologies including a phased LED replacement and significant draught proofing projects. Last year Ickworth achieved almost 26% reduction from baseline levels. Site management at the property has had a strong focus on efficiency and this has driven significant reductions. In addition the decision to take the catering function back in hand has put them back in control over their kitchens energy consumption and allowed the kitchen team to really get to grips with energy management.

Wise Use of Water Award – for the best at recycling, reusing and saving water
Winner: Nigel Houghton, Regional Building Surveyor, for a project based at Ickworth

newLeTyz8KQMxRuyavb08UjPoqo_OeVGXtHhtcJc7uoIckworth was, by some margin, the highest water consuming NT property in our region, but has now been relegated to second place! Over the last few years we’ve invested in a large project improving the infrastructure at Ickworth, with Nigel as Project Manager. He started with the more obvious repair work but, within the last year, introduced smart meters on each of the branches of our water supply network, so that consumption can be monitored on frequent basis (every 15 mins 24/7 if required). This allows us to react quickly to usage/leak issues as they develop, rather than months later when large water bills arrive. As a direct result, water consumption at Ickworth reduced in 2014/15 by 4,361m3 (‘or’ 4,360,580 litres) – which is over 40% reduction from that of 2013/14. To put that in to perspective, that’s enough to fill 1 & 3/4 of an Olympic-sized swimming pool; or just over 2.5 MILLION kettles full! This not only this is not only a significant saving in the supply of water, but has also reduced sewage cost, as around 30% of our wastewater flows to a main sewer.

Waste-not Winner – for the leaders in recycling and waste reduction
Winner: Peckover House garden team, Cambridgeshire

eth7o6nODL3IO3kouI9rCTr6h1vNDGb4YLnKa18FRykThe Peckover garden team are avid recyclers both in the garden and the office.
They save paper and envelopes to re-use in the printer or as note paper; compost fruit, tea bags and coffee grains from break times;  compost 99% of garden waste, shredding all woody material, used as a mulch and soil conditioner on the borders; collect autumn leaves to make leaf mould, a useful soil improver; re-use plastic compost, sand and gravel bags to store things or as rubbish bags; collect old plastic shopping bags to use on the plant sales trolley. All plants for sale come from the garden and are not bought in. They save plant pots and trays to reuse again in the garden and for our plant sales area; even re-use string if possible. They attempt to sell or give away unneeded items which are still useful and are working with the kitchen to gauge if it is feasible to start composting food waste. Even uneaten cat food is not wasted, but recycled by their very bold blackbirds!

The Acorn Award – Countering environmental impact in outdoor spaces
Winner: Keith Miller, Coastal Warden, North Norfolk Coast

fQbiOXfFWTdF6-SOTPAW_0hn2rFE7g1fNVdhTNTRIpwKeith is tireless in his care for the Trust’s coastline in North Norfolk. This includes his regular litter picks on Brancaster Beach, which he undertakes regularly throughout the season; coping with large quantities of (often unmentionably unpleasant) waste; the occasional excitement of unexploded ordnance scares; seal pups which need rescuing; and even being bitten on the nose by a gannet needing taking to the wildlife hospital! As part of Brancaster Activity Centre’s work he regularly engages with school groups doing their conservation task and is a fantastic role model for the children, enthusing about his work, and not shrinking from the harder messages of the impact of marine litter and the consequences it has for both the wildlife and his work.

Green Kitchen of the Year – for best energy reduction and waste management in our kitchens
Winner: Ickworth, Suffolk

DY-b23GjiKM0OZLhbsGmwLGbwrdCGXxPzvqUtwBQWXISince taking the catering function back in hand, they have reduced energy consumption of this function by at least 20% and water by at least 12%. From the beginning energy and environmental impact has been a priority for this team including observing previous processes and identifying high energy consuming behaviours so that they could tailor and fine tune their procedures. Working with our Energy Reduction Adviser, Jack Caldwell, the team examined a number of possible improvements and consistently showed willingness and enthusiasm to constantly improve and make things better.

Holiday Cottage Hero – for making the greatest difference in energy reduction with our holiday cottages
Winner: Alison Colton, East of England Regional Office, Suffolk

Z67HWHm9VowqushPsmMF8bpvP2gfGv9Z5RNLtf8BZcMAlison coordinates all of the region’s meter reads, including the 80-odd energy and water meters at holiday cottages. She has spent many hours resolving read issues as well as analysing holiday cottage energy use against size of holiday cottage and guest occupancy. This enables us to prioritise introducing energy saving measures. Alison also directly changed the lightbulbs at a holiday cottage at Ickworth over to LED.

Fit for the Future Award – for sustainability, helping to reduce pollution and enhance the environment
Winners: Wimpole Home Farm, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire

E6y8ULXxzXExD9shqmhGX8zgAZL2NTc3mufbkzfe7IUOver the last two years the farm team at Wimpole have been thinking, researching, learning, experimenting, testing and challenging respected industry thinkers to find a new way to work the organic arable system at Home Farm primarily to reduce energy use. One new way of working is to reduce the amount of time a tractor spends working in the field and to use shallow ploughing. The benefits are savings in an estimated 30-40% fuel , reduced carbon emissions and reducing risk of soil compaction. It will lead to better soil health, and therefore habitat to improve biodiversity, increase yields of healthy nutritious food.

Meter Manager of the Year – celebrating the unsung heroes who go out in all weather conditions and into some really tricky locations to read our meters
Winner: Peter Justice, volunteer Energy Manager, North Norfolk Coast

gYO6qzJvxnNCJP2JMpIZdWPzetyL5qAMndhj3j7P530Whilst the solution to fix the leak has not been quick or simple, finding it early has saved money literally being washed away. Peter’s role on the Norfolk Coast is unique. The property portfolio covers numerous and varied meter locations, an intrepid adventurous journey, including navigating across the river to Heigham Holmes and a boat trip across the estuary – at all times of the year – to the remote shingle spit at Blakeney Point. This is a trip of 70 miles end to end or nearly 2 hours of non-stop driving. And this is all done voluntarily, outside of Peter’s day job with BT. He has even been known to take annual leave to complete meter reads – dedication for sure. Peter’s commitment doesn’t stop at taking meter reads. He actually looks at the data and queries anything that doesn’t look quite right. This has led to him identifying the need for more efficient heaters, and spotting a major water leak on the supply across to Blakeney Point.

Neptune Award – for celebrating the Trust’s role caring for our coastline
National Trust Coastal Engagement Group (Alex Green, North Norfolk Coast; Alison Joseph, Dunwich; Sarah Barfoot, Essex; Helen Johns, Jemma Finch and Elysa Dale, Westley Bottom Regional Office).

EhzMwwzY9PuGmKyCkW8vyxwyQDMO7kt_fY_FjJEoAx0At the end of 2014 a group was set up in order to help shape and plan what the Trust’s Coast 2015 celebrations would look like in the East of England, celebrating 50 years of Neptune, the Trust’s national appeal to raise money and buy stretches of coastline so it could be protected for everyone to enjoy for ever.The campaign sought to: raise awareness of the National Trust caring for 775 miles of coastline in the UK; raise awareness of the climate change and our changing coastlines; increase the public’s connection to the coast and need to care for it; develop, plan and implement coast events such as BioBlitzes, Big Beach Picnics and regular Beach Cleans. The team’s work helped highlight the importance of the coast and the Trust’s role in looking after it.


Melford Hall in a different light

As we get ready to turn the clocks back this weekend, at Melford Hall we’ll be transporting you forward in time, by six hours to be precise! Quite literally see Melford in a different light. Whilst it’s light outside, inside the curtains will be drawn, the fire will be lit and the house will be bathed in candle-light.

1402801_438357792953908_1469854031_oPhoto courtesy of Amy Howe

Lorraine Hesketh-Campbell, who is a House Steward at Melford Hall explains…

On Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November, we set the clocks for an imaginary evening party and the rooms are prepared for the arrival of friends and guests. Dressed in their finery, our guides will explain the history of the house, its owners and how it has evolved over successive generations. You can really imagine what it must have been like to have dined or be entertained here.

When houses like Melford were built, the family and servants would have been used to the dark, using a few candles to light their way. It’s amazing how the house and atmosphere changes when we re-create these low light levels. The house has a completely different feel (or should I say glow) compared to when you wander around with daylight streaming through the windows.

Photo courtesy of Amy Howe

During the weekend, we will also look at how lighting has changed within the country house over four centuries. Standing inside the intimate and inviting rooms of Melford Hall, it is easy to visualise the flickering flames of a large open fire in a great Tudor manor, the glittering display of candlelight in a drawing room and how a ladies’ gown, embroidered with silver and gold thread, would glow and glimmer amongst the silver tea service laid out in a Boudoir.

At Melford the owners embraced new technology and we can still see evidence of early gasoliers along the Gallery banister that illuminates the art collection after dark.

Melford 1

Also in the Library, we will demonstrate a rare candle-powered night light clock. Made in France in the 1860s, this unusual time-piece stands at 21 inches in height and has an illuminated rotating glass globe which contains a night light. The time is then told via a static pointer. The globe is rotated through a long shaft and a set of bevelled gears. which are driven by an 8 day balance spring movement within the base of the bronze figure.  No maker has ever been found for the clock.

Today, lighting comes with its own set of problems and light damage is a fundamental part of our daily work. We’ll be explaining how we prevent light damage and how some country house practices have been passed down over the centuries throughout the weekend.

Why not come and experience Melford in a different light? And remember to turn your clocks back this weekend.