Elizabeth and John's ongoing support for Exmoor

Exmoor is a special place for donors Elizabeth and John Brightwell

Gazing out at the snow-covered Exmoor coastline as a child, Elizabeth Brightwell became enchanted by this wild, surging landscape. Exmoor was her first love and has become more precious to her over the years, as she has continued to discover this special place with her husband, John.

Elizabeth and John have been National Trust members and regular supporters since they were married more than 40 years ago. Last year, to celebrate their wedding anniversary and four decades of membership, the couple made a special donation to the place that first captured Elizabeth's imagination all those years ago.

‘Exmoor won my heart as a schoolgirl’ Elizabeth says. ‘Snow had recently fallen, but we arrived on a cloudless, blue-sky day. I was enthralled by the drive along the coast, climbing up from Porlock with the sea shimmering in early April sunshine on our right, and the magnificent patchwork of moorland glittering to our left, disappearing completely in places into the steep-sided coombes.’

Donor Elizabeth Brightwell was spellbound at her first glimpse of the Exmoor coastline
Hangman Hills Exmoor Heddon Valley
Donor Elizabeth Brightwell was spellbound at her first glimpse of the Exmoor coastline

Wanting to make a hands-on contribution and to see how their donation was supporting a special wildlife project, Elizabeth and John joined a National Trust working holiday. The couple cleared holly from the woodland floor, so the sun could reach it and help flora to thrive.

‘This was my first National Trust working holiday and I loved it,’ Elizabeth says. ‘It was such a happy week: partly because I was in a place I love, but also as I’d made a donation to the Trust’s wildlife monitoring project in northwest Exmoor. Now I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the enthusiastic Trust intern managing the project, who spoke of the difference my donation had made.

‘Making a donation and spending time working in this breath-taking landscape have made it even more special. With the help of the National Trust, I hope it will be special for everyone, for ever.’

Sweeping view of Bossington and Porlock, Exmoor
View of Bossington and Porlock
Sweeping view of Bossington and Porlock, Exmoor

The couple set ambitious plans for their fourth decade of National Trust membership. They aimed to visit 40 places looked after by the Trust in just one year, including several in Northern Ireland – a country they have never been to before.

Elizabeth says, ‘With every passing year, my appreciation grows of the Trust’s care of our open spaces, our countryside, coast and wildlife habitats.’

We’d like to thank Elizabeth and John for their ongoing support and the difference they have made to a precious place for wildlife, loved by people. We congratulate them on their 40th wedding anniversary and wish them all the best for the future. 

Making your own donations in celebration

Celebrate your own milestones – weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more – with a one-off donation to the National Trust. You can donate to a place that’s particularly special to you, or donate more generally towards our ongoing work to look after the coast, countryside, wildlife and heritage in our care.

Your gift gives precious places and wildlife a future, for everyone to enjoy. Thank you.

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Celebrate life's most important moments with a special donation that lasts forever