Hay Book Festival

Hay Festival

Join in the Hay Book Festival fun with a fascinating National Trust programme of events.

This year we're going to be at the Hay Literary Festival, held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, from 26 May to 3 June. If you thought you knew the Trust, come along and be surprised. What better way to learn about our work than by listening and talking to our authors and experts?

Speak to our experts

Friday 26 May is our ‘house’ day where our conservators will be talking about housekeeping and discussing everything from how to clean metalwork through to the best way to dust porcelain – bring something along to ask their opinion. Our experts on silver and porcelain will tell the story of dining and our libraries advisor will be revealing some of the extraordinary finds he has made over the years.  

Get closer to nature

Thursday 1 June is nature day with a focus on trees. Bring along a leaf (or a picture on your phone) for our experts to identify and then listen to them talking about the extraordinary ancient trees that have witnessed so much of our turbulent history, from the sealing of the Magna Carta through to the Tolpuddle Martyrs' tree.

Add to this, an evening with Kate Fox, poet and comedian, talking about women’s work at Quarry Bank Mill and the announcement of the Longlist for this year’s Wainwright Book Prize for nature writing. For families, look out for Mike Langman’s birdwatching event and join in fun 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾ nature activities for children, in the Make and Take Tent in the Haydays Courtyard.

Make and Take Tent

National Trust events, in date order:

Mark Purcells is author of The Country House Library

Mark Purcell - What I found in the library 

Even when owners did not collect ancient books, they were likely to assemble libraries of everyday useful books - such as those at Erddig, Dunham Massey or Calke Abbey, bought new, but now two, three or even four hundred years old. These often provide some pretty startling insights into the lives of the people who owned and read them.

Friday 26 May: 4pm

Show and tell

Simon Murray - The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping  

What is this for? And how do I clean it? The National Trust’s Director of Curatorship, Simon Murray and his team of expert conservator colleagues display and demonstrate some of the most wonderful and interesting household items from their collections. They’ll offer advice on any treasure you’d like to bring along. Joining Simon will be Andrew Bush, specialising in all things paper from wallpaper to watercolours; Claire Magill, a specialist in ceramics; Trevor Proudfoot specialising in plaster and stonework and Rupert Harris, our adviser on all metalwork. Bring something along to test our experts on the care, cleaning and repair of your special piece.

Friday 26 May: 5.30pm

" This year we're going to be at the Hay Literary Festival. If you thought you knew the Trust, come along and be surprised. We look forward to seeing you there."
- Simon Murray, Senior Director for Strategy, Curatorship and External Affairs
The Art of Dining

James Rothwell and Patricia Ferguson - The Art of Dining 

What do silver and ceramics tablewares tell us about our heritage? Are they for ever for everyone? Join our experts James Rothwell, author of Silver for Entertaining and Patricia Ferguson, author of Ceramics: 400 years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces, as they discuss their passions for interpreting the past for future generations.

Friday 26 May: 7pm

Kate Fox

Kate Fox - Quarry Bank Women’s Work 

The comedian, poet and BBC Radio 4 contributor performs work produced during her residency at Quarry Bank, one of the Industrial Revolution’s best-preserved textile mills. Linking the women’s mill work to modern work issues, Fox has had unique access to the archives, which inform her commitment to the issues of gender history.

Monday 29 May: 8.30pm

Illustrated by Mike Langman

Mike Langman - Bird spotter's guide 

Do you know your buzzard from your bullfinch? Get some tips on how to sharpen your observational skills and come on a virtual bird-watch with bird expert and National Trust Complete Bird Spotter’s Kit illustrator Mike Langman. Learn to recognise more species of bird by sight and sound. There’ll be drawing, quizzes and lots of audience participation. Join in the nature fun.

Wednesday 31 May: 12pm

Join our tree experts

Brian Muelaner and Alan Power - The Ankerwyke Tree and the Ancient Trees that Shaped our History 

The Ankerwycke yew, the Trust's oldest tree which played a crucial role in Britain's history, is the very apple tree which inspire Sir Isaac Newton's theory on gravity and the Tolpuddle Martyrs' tree beneath which the first trade union was formed. What is special about these trees? Where do I find one? Our two specialists will answer these and any other questions you may have on these internationally important trees.

Thursday 1 June: 10am

Autumn leaves in a garden

Brian Muelaner and Alan Power - Hay Festival Leaf Day 

Do you have a tree you need identifying? Bring us a leaf or a photo and we’ll ask our experts Brian and Alan and The Woodland Trust’s tree guru Jill Butler. They’ll be at the Woodland Trust stall onsite during the day. Come and talk all things trees and tree planting and conservation.

Thursday 1 June: 11am-1pm

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare - National Trust Nature Writing Day  

Come and join us for a day’s inspiration walking in the National Park with the award-winning author of Running for the Hills, A Single Swallow and Orison for a Curlew. Horatio will discuss response to nature and the landscape and develop ideas formed on his epic Slow Radio wak in the Black Mountains, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Bank Holiday Monday, 2-6pm. In association with The Wainwright Book Prize.

Saturday 3 June: 9am-5pm