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Working with Barbour to recover from Storm Arwen

Person standing on fallen tree assesing weather damage after Storm Arwen in Wallington, Northumberland, November 2021
Storm Arwen damage at Wallington November 2021 | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

We're delighted to announce a new partnership with iconic British brand Barbour. They are generously donating funds to a group of North East National Trust properties to help repair and rebuild after the devastation caused by Storm Arwen and the subsequent winter storms of 2021. These storms left a trail of destruction across the region in their wake and now funds from Barbour will support Wallington, Cragside, Hadrian's Wall and Allen Banks and Staward Gorge with the early steps to recovery.

Storm Arwen devastated Wallington's tree population in November 2021. Winds of up to 98mph tore through the region and devastated 40 hectares of trees across the 20-square-mile Wallington estate. Among those lost were a 250-year-old oak, beech trees planted by Sir Walter Calverley Blackett in the 1800s and what was the only surviving larch tree from five given to the estate in 1738 by the Duke of Atholl. As well as these notable individual losses, whole, large woodland blocks were also razed to the ground.

The road to recovery: where to begin

The aftermath of the storm hit the local team particularly hard, both emotionally and in terms of the work needed to repair the damage. It was clear that a huge task lay ahead; working out where to begin was the just first in a line of many decisions needing to be made.

Amongst the first essential jobs were to reopen the property to visitors as soon as was safe to do so and to ensure that livestock across the estate were both secure and safe. The Wallington team carried out extensive tree assessments across the main visitor areas and began to clear paths, fell trees that were unsafe and assess the areas where greater time and support to clear were needed. Clearance and repair work is still taking place as will be the case for many months to come. External contractors with specialist equipment have supported the ranger team with a number of other more complex and remote areas of damage.

Tree snapped in two after Storm Arwen at Wallington
Tree snapped in two after Storm Arwen at Wallington | © Tree snapped in two after Storm Arwen at Wallington

Working with Barbour

Barbour were keen to help the recovery and replanting efforts at places that had been severely impacted by the storms. They have generously impacted by the storms to begin to recover and replant. Barbour has generously donated funds to help Wallington, Cragside and Hadrian’s Wall. These funds are making a huge difference and we're proud to be supported by a partner rooted in the North East.

Where will the Barbour funding go?

The generous donation to Wallington is funding a whole new broadleaf woodland, rebuilding for the future. Visitors, staff and volunteers will plant 8,500 native broadleaf trees along with Barbour employees this coming winter, close to the Dragon cycle trail. This will, in time, become a woodland supporting wildlife and serving as a reminder of not only what was lost, but importantly, the opportunities gained from the impact of the storm.

As well as this woodland creation project, two lasting monuments will be created from trees felled by the Storm. The first memorial carving will be a story of the storm and the power of the weather, carved into a huge oak tree that fell close to the entrance of the East Woods. This monument will lay across the ground, alongside the path and will be a poignant reminder of Arwen. A second tree, an old oak that fell into Garden Pond adjacent to the Walled Garden during the storm, will have an 8ft owl carved into the now righted stump. Visitors will be familiar with spotting owls around the house and grounds here as they form part of the family coat of arms.

"After the immediate shock and as we started to come to terms with the loss of so many important and significant trees, we have started to look at this as an opportunity for change. It has been a huge help and comfort that the team at Barbour has stepped up to help."

- Paul Hewitt, Countryside Manager, Wallington