Inside the National Trust at Cragside

Learn more about our places with Inside the National Trust

Learn more about our places with Inside the National Trust

Latest update 01.10.2013 13:53

New TV series airs 6 October 2013, 12.25pm ITV1

This autumn, ITV is showcasing six National Trust places, including Cragside and the Farne Islands in Northumberland, in a 20 part series which reveals just what goes on behind the scenes to keep our special places open.

Broadcast journalist Michael Buerk will rediscover some of Britain’s best-loved landscapes, uncover hidden secrets and meet the people behind the scenes of the National Trust in this new documentary series. In each episode he will also try his hand at a new skill.

Staff, volunteers and animals are all set to become the stars of the show with everyday occurrences captured on film from puffin counting on the Farne Islands to an insight into Victorians at Cragside.

Cragside is an extraordinary Victorian house, gardens and woodland built by Lord Armstrong – a Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius.

Andrew Sawyer has worked as a Conservation Officer at Cragside for 25 years. He says: 'My favourite moment was talking with Michael Buerk about jelly and jelly moulds. It is just one of those wonderful moments in life you have to pinch yourself and say, am I really talking to this influential, serious journalist about Victorian jelly making? It was just so much fun with all the jolly jelly japes we all had! It was just brilliant to be part of the film crew camaraderie.'

Michael Buerk commented on Cragside: 'A Victorian palace in the most extraordinary spectacular setting. Built by Lord Armstrong who built most of the British (and also Japanese) navy’s of the great inventors, manufacturers and entrepreneurs of that, or any other age. He made one of the biggest fortunes in the world, and spent so much of it on this amazing house.'

Home to the most exciting seabird colony in England, visitors to the Farne Islands can see 23 nestings species, including 37,000 pairs of puffins, arctic terns and guillemots. There is also a large grey seal colony with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn.

It’s been a special and busy year on the Farne Islands with head ranger David Steel and his eight strong team performing the five yearly puffin count. He says: 'The puffin count is the only way we can truly measure how our colonies are doing. With the extremes of weather and rain especially last year, we have been really concerned about population numbers falling.

'Viewers will see the outcome of the count; and the coming and goings of our birds - particularly during the nesting season – as well as witnessing the challenges all island inhabitants’ face with the extremes of weather.'

Michael Buerk commented: 'I love grand houses, but the Farne Islands are special. With all the birds in the breeding season, they’re the closest thing England has to the Galápagos. To be there during the Terns’ breeding season was hair-raising in almost every way and the closet you can get to nature this side of the African bush.'

The six featured properties are Cragside and the Farne Islands in Northumberland, Wimpole in Cambridgeshire and Sizergh, Wordsworth House and The Lake District in Cumbria.

Inside the National Trust is to be broadcast weekly on Sundays at 12.25pm from 6 October.

For more information on Inside the National Trust visit or follow #InsideNT on Twitter.