12 reasons to thank you this Christmas

Blickling Hall, Norfolk

This Christmas, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers, supporters, donors and members. Together you’ve helped us care for country houses, gardens, delicate artefacts, precious wildlife, coastland and countryside, as well as much more. Here are 12 reasons to say thank you for your support in 2017.

On the first day of Christmas…

We’d like to say thanks for helping us to open the doors of a state of the art conservation studio at Knole, securing the future of hundreds of historic objects. This is part of a £19.8 million building, conservation and restoration project that has also received a major National Lottery grant of £7.75 million, rescuing Knole from centuries of decay.

Senior conservator, Heather Porter, working on the iconic Knole Sofa in the Conversation Studio at Knole, Kent
Knole, Kent

On the second day of Christmas…

Thank you for supporting us in our goal of reducing our energy use by 20 per cent and sourcing 50 per cent of our energy from renewables by 2020.

Garry Sharples, National Trust environmental practices adviser inside the hydro-energy turbine shed at Sticklebarn Tavern and Stickle Ghyll, Cumbria
Sticklebarn Tavern and Stickle Ghyll, Cumbria

On the third day of Christmas…

Some of Britain’s rarest butterflies are booming at our places, because of you. This year, a study led by charity Butterfly Conservation revealed that rare species like marsh fritillary are bucking nationwide declines, with these ‘habitat specialist’ butterflies seeing their numbers grow by a tenth at National Trust places since 1992.

The chalk grassland-loving Adonis blue butterfly has increased by 13 per cent at our places since 1992
Adonis Blue (male) - Polyommatus bellargus

On the fourth day of Christmas…

We’d like to thank all of you who entered our photo competition to find the front cover of the Handbook for 2018 as well as the member card. We had some fantastic entries showcasing our places and what they mean to you. The winners will be inspiring members throughout 2018. 

Handbook photo competition runner-up image taken of St Cuthbert's Cave, Northumberland
Handbook runner-up, Jules Hammond, St Cuthbert's Cave, Northumberland Coast

On the fifth day of Christmas…

We thank you for your amazing support for and donations to our White Cliffs appeal. This was hugely successful in helping to secure 700,000 square metres of land immediately behind the clifftop - reaching our target of £1million in just three weeks. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the public which helped us secure the land.

The White Cliffs aerial view
View of White Cliffs of Dover

On the sixth day of Christmas…

We’d like to thank you for participating in BBC Countryfile Live, back in August. We were able to welcome many of you to the event at Blenheim Palace, along with a host of special guests, including Michaela Strachan and Elly Pear.

National Trust at Countryfile Live 2017, Blenheim Palace
Countryfile Live

On the seventh day of Christmas…

We look back on the Great Storm of 1987 and how your support has enabled us to take several approaches to managing the devastation and the restoration of woodlands. Some of the ravaged areas were cleared, others were replanted, and non-intervention zones were left alone to regenerate naturally. This taught us valuable lessons about how we manage the land in our care, while benefitting ecosystems and wildlife.

At Chartwell, the hill behind the house and garden lost most of its trees in the storm
Damage to the trees around the lake caused by the storm in 1987 at Chartwell, Kent

On the eighth day of Christmas…

We’d like to thank you for volunteering. So far in 2017 over 65,000 volunteers gave more than 4.7million hours of their time to help us and we are very grateful for their support.

Cotehele volunteers getting ready to hang the Christmas garland
Cotehele garland volunteers

On the ninth day of Christmas…

Thanks to you, historical objects from the 6th Earl of Coventry’s collection have been returned to Croome with some key pieces, absent from the house for over 70 years, being presented in unique ways. The return of the furniture, paintings and ceramics has provided a unique opportunity to work in collaboration with artists to highlight parts of the collection, revealing them in creative ways and bringing their stories alive. 

Chair Play by Will Datson at Croome
Installation called 'Chair Play' by artist Will Datson

On the tenth day of Christmas… 

We’d like to say thanks for spending time at our places. So far in 2017 there have been 24 million visits to our pay-for-entry places. With your help we will continue to keep them open, for ever, for everyone.

Visitors enjoying Easter activities at Sutton House and Breaker’s Yard, London
Breaker’s Yard, London

On the eleventh day of Christmas…

Thank you for remembering us in your Will. Gifts in Wills continue to be an invaluable source of support for all our places, particularly for protecting our coastline and coastal habitats. Last year we received £61 million in legacies and a further 250 supporters let us know that they plan to leave us a gift in their Will.

Rockpooling at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne and Wear
Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne and Wear

On the twelfth day of Christmas…

We’re celebrating reaching the milestone of having five million members for the first time in our history. Your support, alongside that from our volunteers and supporters, is what enables us to fulfil our purpose as a conservation charity. Thank you.

Young girl playing in the autumn leaves at Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales, in October
Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales