Art in the Park 2012 needs YOU!

I’ve been working at Charlecote for just a week now and already there’s an exciting project under way.   Working with Lisa, our brilliant Park and Garden Manager, we’re planning Art in Charlecote Park 2012.   This will be the third year for the event, which sees installations appear in the grounds over the winter months, set against the stunning backdrop of the house. 

On Tuesday we met with this year’s innovative and award-winning artist, Rachel Carter, who has created pieces for the Chelsea Flower Show.   Rachel works in willow and steel to create beautiful woven sculptures, using the fluid shapes found in gardens and the English countryside as her inspiration.      

Lisa with artist Rachel Carter

This year, we’d love you to be involved…
We’ll soon be launching a competition for children, so that Charlecote’s youngest visitors can shape how one of the sculptures will develop. 

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The Fiona Factor

Last week the Midlands Region hosted a very special event in honour of our Director General, Fiona Reynolds. Volunteer, Emily tells us all about it…

As I’m sure you are all aware, Fiona Reynolds will be leaving the National Trust after 11 years as Director-General, and the Midlands region decided to say farewell with a lunch hosted by Calke Abbey.

I was lucky enough to be invited to represent Charlecote along with Stephen (Property manager) and Lauren (Retail Manager) and it was a fantastic afternoon.

The sun was shining (which was a welcome surprise!) and the food was really delicious…especially the home made victoria sponge (but you can always count on the Trust to do great cake!)

The Riding School, Calke. A great place for a celebration!

The lunch and afternoon tea were held in the Riding School and the venue was really delightful, the volunteers at Calke had handmade their own bunting which brightened the space, and the garden team had put together some lovely flowers as a backdrop to the speeches.

It was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet people from across the regions and for Stephen and Lauren to catch up with old friends and colleagues.

Beccy (Regional Director) presenting Fiona with gifts!

The speeches highlighted how much Fiona means to the Trust and the impact she has had on the organisation as a whole. There were no thoughtless presents as each gift came accompanied with a little anecdote. An apple tree was one such gift, along with the story of MP Margaret Hodge trying to plant a tree for the Trust wearing white high heeled shoes. In contrast Fiona has always been prepared to get stuck in, even cleaning tables at Snowshill during one event years ago!

The emotional support she offered was clear, Rebecca Speight (Director for the Midlands), spoke about how inspirational it was to see a woman leading the organisation and how much the Trust had changed. 10-15 years ago she was the only woman surrounded by a table of men…all wearing tweed. Continue reading

A busy Friday afternoon at the Park

It’s Friday afternoon and we were just getting ready to go home when a large section of our Ha-ha collapsed!


The Ha-ha was built when Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown redesigned the park land. All of the fencing surrounding the garden was removed and a wonderful viewing platform for the park was created

The damage has been inspected by a structural engineer and it is believed that the collapse is due to a combination of the failure of the retaining wall and damage caused by tree roots from the woodland garden

 We are hoping to be able to get some bracing put into place over the next few weeks that will allow us to reopen the path.

On a more positive note we are now more than half way through lambing. Forty of our Seventy three ewes have now lambed and we have 65 lambs – all are doing well!

Lambing at Charlecote Park

We were also visited by the team from Crug Farm Nursery who called in with a large delivery of wonderful plants for our woodland garden. This has joined the new fern collection (over 1000 plants) from Fibrex Nurseries and a whole range of shrubs and trees from our local supplier. We will be spending all of next week preparing the woodland garden ready for planting to start!

Lisa, Park & Garden Manager