Conserving and Preserving at Anglesey Abbey

This autumn, Anglesey Abbey invite you on a journey of discovery to uncover the stories behind keeping this special place here for the future. Find out how the Conservation Assistants are preserving Lord Fairhaven's collection for generations to come, how we're keeping Lode Mill's wheel turning and how our garden team are busy preparing for next years blooms. 

6 October - 25 November 2018 | Daily

The ten agents of deterioration 

Had you ever considered the effect of the environment around us has on historic buildings and collections? The Conservation Assistants at the house monitor and control ten different agents of deterioration on a daily basis. Change in individual objects is, of course, inevitable over time. Preventative conservation is one method that we use to ensure that visitors are able to see and experience Lord Fairhaven's collection, meaning that we are constantly trying to manage and minimise change, before it happens. 

Carefully cleaning a portrait of Lord Fairhaven
Conservator using a brush to clean a portrait of Lord Fairhaven
Carefully cleaning a portrait of Lord Fairhaven

As you wander through the house, you'll discover more about the ten different possibilities that pose a threat to the collection, and learn more about how we approach them. With a selection of tours, delve a little deeper into the clock collection, or head behind the scenes to discover what is hidden within the storage spaces above the visitor route. 

Timely Tour

Wednesdays at 12pm | Weekly | This tour is run on a first come first served basis, find out more here

Behind the scenes

Fridays at 12pm | Weekly | This tour is run on a first come first served basis, find out more here

Keeping the mill wheel turning

Throughout September and October, a major conservation project is underway to replace all 54 of the wrought iron buckets encircling the wheel with brand new mild steel replicas. The waterwheel is 150 years old this year, and many of the buckets have rusted through - which can only be expected! This has made them weak and inefficient, and the decision was made to replace them, ensuring our mill is able to continue producing the wholemeal flour we sell both at the mill, but also in our Anglesey Abbey shop. 

Lode Mill at Anglesey Abbey in the Autumn
Autumn - Lode Mill
Lode Mill at Anglesey Abbey in the Autumn

You may remember that a few weeks ago, we had to replace two teeth on the great spur wheel. To coincide with the works to the waterwheel, we're replacing a number of teeth on the this wheel, in addition to the pit wheel. The breakages are not as major as the one that ceased milling in August, but by replacing them now before they get any worse, we're preventing having to stop milling suddenly in the future. 

If you would like to find out more about our restoration project, head to the mill throughout Conserving and Preserving to chat to one of our friendly millers. 

Preparing next year's stunning displays 

With approximately 114 acres of land sitting around Anglesey Abbey, there is never a dull moment in the gardens, with plenty to do all year round. To ensure next years displays are as spectacular as the last, there's lots of hard work done behind the scenes making this happen. 

One task in particular that goes towards creating next year's blooms, is collecting the leaves that fall each autumn. This may seem like a never ending task - and if you ask our gardeners, they would agree! But it is essential in order to add to our Anglesey Abbey leaf mould. The leaves become leaf mould, and this is a perfect compost to add to our borders such as the Herbaceous Border and Dahlia Garden so that they are ready for next year's displays. Not only does this help finish of the border, but it adds organic matter to the soil. 

" Autumn is the perfect time to apply mulches of garden compost, leaf mould or manure. By doing it now it traps in heat and moisture, along with keeping winter weeds down."
- Alan North, Gardens and Outdoors Manager

As well as clearing away, we're also busy planting new life into the gardens ready for next springtime. Over 12,000 tulip bulbs have been ordered for across the gardens. The four thousand tulipa 'Little Beauty' bulbs that carpet the silver birch grove will be planted over autumn, along with over eight thousand tulip bulbs to replace the dwarf dahlias in the Formal Garden.

What's going on in the gardens?

Tuesdays at 12pm | Weekly 

Along with spectacular colour, this season also brings with it a brand new garden tour. Every Tuesday, a member of the garden team will guide you round to show you the work that goes into keeping our gardens flourishing. 

To find out more, click here

Seasonal garden tour

Weekdays at 11.30am or 1.30pm

Our friendly, knowledgeable garden guides will be here to take you on a seasonal tour of the garden. This tour, running on weekdays, will take in the highlights of the garden, whilst giving you an insight into the history and design of many of Anglesey Abbey's iconic features. 

Find out more here.

Autumnal garden tour 

Take in the best of the season with this autumnal garden tour. From seasonal horticulture, to spectacular colour, there's plenty to see. These tours must be pre-booked, find out more here.


Fun for families

This autumn, we need you to help us care for Anglesey Abbey. Pick up a conservation Training logbook from Visitor Reception to begin to unlock the secrets of how we care for the house, gardens and working watermill donated to the National Trust by Lord Fairhaven in 1966. 

The training will take place across the whole property. From learning about pest control at the mill, to helping us collect the leaves so vital to next year's blooms, there will also be the opportunity to head to the Discover Cabin in Hoe Fen to create your own take home display for next springtime. For every training activity completed, there will be a stamp available. Once you have collected all five stamps, head to Visitor Reception to claim your reward. 

In addition to your training logbook, there is an optional activity pack available from Visitor Reception for a suggested donation of £1. Inside, you can find all you need to develop your training further, but also a few optional extras for fun along the way! What's more, by donating, you'll be helping us ensure that the care and preservation of Anglesey Abbey is able to continue on into the future. 

Food for thought

Redwoods Restaurant | 10.30am - 5.30pm | Daily 

With the weather turning colder, there's nothing better than a warming cuppa and a slice of cake to finish (or start!) a stroll round the gardens. Redwoods Restaurant offers the perfect environment to pick up a hot drink, light bites or hot lunches, all finished off with a slice of cake. 

We're lucky enough to have our own pastry chef, Sue, who works hard to create the yummy sweet treats available from our restaurant. Each season, Sue creates a brand new, mouth-watering recipe and this month, we're excited to be able to share it with you for you to try at home.  

Giant Jammy Dodgers

Anglesey Abbey's Giant Jammy Dodger recipe

The perfect accompaniment to a warming cuppa, our giant jammy dodgers combine a delicious crumbly biscuit with sweet raspberry jam.

Have you had a go at this recipe? Share your results with us on Facebook or Instagram. Use the hashtags #AngleseyAbbey #ConservingAndPreserving to join the conversation.