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How membership supports our work

Visitors discovering the Painted Staircase in the Hall in country house at Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Worcestershire
The support of our members is vital to the work we carry out at the National Trust | © National Trust Images/John Millar

You might already know that National Trust membership helps to protect special places, for everyone, for ever. But what does that really mean? To give you an idea of how membership supports our work as a conservation charity, here are five amazing things our members do.

1. Saving the coast for everyone

National Trust members have helped to protect over 780 miles of coastline. This means that the beaches you visited as a child, where you enjoyed sandy picnics under umbrellas and clifftop walks on windy days, can be appreciated for generations to come.

Keeping the coast special isn’t always easy, but with the help of our members and supporters, we can work with nature to keep pathways open and accessible to all. We're also thankful for our dedicated volunteers who've helped protect the coastline through activities like beach cleans.

We’ve been caring for the coast for over 50 years, and with your support, we’ll continue to look after it for many more.

2. Connecting people to nature

Thanks to our members, everyone has access to wonderful places to walk, play and learn. Your support helps us to protect and promote the outdoors in our care so that people of all ages can connect to nature.

Members inspired us to launch ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ – a campaign to get children excited about the outdoors. There's so much fun to be had, from building dens and making wild art, to looking for bugs in the garden.

If you want to give your little adventurers more opportunities to discover the great outdoors, junior membership could inspire the next generation of nature lovers.

Girl sat on a tree trunk at Lyme Park, Cheshire
Our members help us to preserve these special places for future generations | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

3. Preserving stories of the past

The support of members means it's possible for us to make ground-breaking discoveries about our history at places like Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk. During the reroofing project at Oxburgh Hall, lots of hidden items were found under the floorboards. Some of these items dated back to the Tudor period, such as fragments of late 16th-century books and pieces of Elizabethan clothing.

One of the star finds was an illuminated manuscript, indicating that a family who once lived there continued to practise Catholic Mass even after it had been made illegal in the 16th century.

Members' support funds our work with archaeologists, restoration experts and historians, as well as local communities, schools and volunteers. Members have helped other people get up close to our ancestors, encouraging new generations to explore and care for the past.

4. Caring for woodlands, old and new

From rare black poplars and colourful tulip trees to ancient yews and sweet chestnuts, members help to protect the woodlands that are filled with birdsong all year round. Woodlands are a sanctuary for wildlife, bringing balance to our fragile landscapes and cleaning the air. That’s why we’ve pledged to plant and establish 20 million native trees across the UK by 2030.

At 1,200 years old, the ‘Old Man’ oak tree at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire is a thing of beauty. He once stood in Sherwood Forest, and although that's mostly disappeared, this 'Old Man' just keeps on going. Our members help to protect him while keeping him in the public eye – because he does like being admired.

NT rangers and volunteers from the local community planting 300 small saplings of various heritage varieties in the field southeast of the Chapel Ruin at Chapel Farm in the Surrey Hills
Orchard planting at Chapel Farm in the Surrey Hills | © National Trust Images/Diana Jarvis

5. Giving wildlife a wonderful home

National Trust members give back to nature every day. This means that animals like the beavers on the Holnicote Estate in Somerset can thrive. In January 2020, we released a pair back into the wild, and since then they've been loving their new home.

Their reintroduction, thanks to members, means that the rivers they build dams in will face less erosion and flash flooding, helping the whole ecosystem on the estate.

They’re just two from a cast of millions that call the places we look after home. Rare butterflies, barn owls, wild ponies, seals, otters, shy water voles, red squirrels, reed warblers, native deer and so many more. They’re all thriving thanks to the love and care of our members, volunteers and rangers.

Visitors in the garden in autumn at Stourhead, Wiltshire


Enjoy access to more than 500 places with National Trust membership. Join today and help protect nature, beauty and history – for everyone, for ever.

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