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Our work at Springhill

Staff cleaning items at Springhill
Conservation in action in Springhill's Blue Room. | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

To look after special places like Springhill, important conservation work takes place every day. Find out what happens in the house and the wider estate, including the community allotments.

Our work in the house

Restoration of the dining room chairs

In late August, Fergus Purdy, furniture conservator for the National Trust visited Springhill to care for and repair four of the 16 dining room chairs that call Springhill their home. These chairs have been part of Springhill’s collection for over 300 years, therefore it’s of great importance that we care for them for generations to come.

This was not only a great opportunity for visitors, but for the house and collection staff at Springhill. This hands-on cleaning is a very specialist job and it was a great chance for the team to learn how to care for these chairs and learn new skills. The newly repaired chairs are currently located in the dining room at Springhill and can be viewed on your next visit.

Our work on the estate

Spotted flycatcher at Springhill

The rangers at Springhill have been contributing to the BTO Nest Record Scheme, which gathers information on the breeding success of UK birds by finding and following the progress of individual nests. The data is used to assess the impact that changes in the environment have on the number of young that birds can rear. This year as part of the survey the rangers found and followed the progress of the Springhill flycatcher pair. They were very attentive parents; bringing insects to the nest constantly and successfully raised four healthy chicks.

Hopefully our data from the Springhill flycatchers will help solve the unknown reason behind their decline.

Community Allotments at Springhill

For over 10 years the walled garden at Springhill has been a community-led escape from the day-to-day stress and struggles of modern life. The ethos of the allotments is that of wellbeing, friendship and enrichment, with many local families growing up amongst its fresh garden fayre.

Sophie Atkinson came to Springhill as a ranger in 2006 with a love for the Springhill Estate. She wanted to develop, improve and more importantly share this place with the surrounding community and further afield.

In May 2007, Sophie got the chance to explore the disused Walled Garden. She was met by a tangle of weeds, dilapidated fencing and rusty machinery. Sophie cut her way through the undergrowth, delighted to discover the remains of a couple of ancient fruit trees amongst the wild overgrown jungle.

The estate team, along with their dedicated volunteers, spent time over the next two years preparing the growing space behind the wall. Old fences and machinery were removed and there was lots of spraying to try and tame the weeds. Removal of stubborn tree stumps was the hardest job, but necessary in order to try and level the site.

In February 2009, Springhill jumped onboard an initiative launched by the National Trust, to create 1000 new allotments, due to the high demand for growing spaces throughout the UK. They had around an estimated 100,000 people interested. The plan was to use agricultural land, disused kitchen gardens and any vacant land, to offer help and advice to all who wished to start growing their own vegetables, allowing the land to fulfil its potential.

In spring 2009, Springhill's plots were pegged out, 15 plots all 12ft x 8ft. Since then, the allotments have grown to 27 plots, plus there's a waiting list of prospective growers keen to share in the fun.

Wildflowers in June at Godolphin, Cornwall


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