June 7th 2012

by Mike Knutton Where'er walkers may roam with The Wayfarers they may be sure that they are helping to support local communities, conservation and preservation---not only for themselves and for today, but for everyone and for the future. It's part of The Wayfarers’ business ethic not just to take, but also to give; partly as a thank-you for the contribution the coastlines, countryside and visits to buildings or gardens make to a Wayfarers' vacation, but also to help safeguard all these facilities for future generations. Walkers taking any of nine Wayfarers' vacations in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland this year will benefit from the work of The National Trust, one of the world's leading conservation organisations. The Trust was founded in 1895 to counter some of the negative effects of industrialisation in Britain, and today looks after 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of countryside, 709 miles of coastline, and more than 200 houses and gardens, including 40 castles, 76 nature reserves, six World Heritage Sites, 12 lighthouses, and 43 pubs and inns, all of historic, architectural, or cultural significance. The words of one of the founding Victorian philanthropists, Octavia Hill, still resonate today: 'The need of quiet, the need of air, the need of exercise, and...the sight of sky and of things growing seem human needs, common to all men.' The National Trust is totally independent of government and relies for income on subscriptions from its 3.6 million members, donations and legacies. Part of that support comes from the United States in the form of The Royal Oak Foundation, a 37-year-old New York City-based organisation that engages Americans in the work of The National Trust, and offers a range of associated programs and concessions. The Foundation has to date raised more than $US 7 million to support the protection and preservation work of The Trust. Eighteen different National Trust areas or properties feature in this year's Wayfarers' Walks program.  Aficionados of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, for example, can steep themselves in the lives of their heroes during visits to The Trust's Hill Top, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage properties during the Hadrian's Wall & The Lake District walk. A highly atmospheric moment on Cornwall's Creeks & Coves Walk is a reading from Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek while standing on the banks of that romantic and secretive tidal offshoot of the tree-lined Helford River. Landscape and seascape enthusiasts can wallow in the delights of Dunwich Heath and the shingle spit at Orford Ness, both cared for by The National Trust and featured on the Suffolk Coast and Cambridge Walk. The basalt pillars of the Giant’s Causeway beckon Wayfarers on the trail in Northern Ireland, while guests on the Cotswolds Walk visit The Trust's Hidcote Manor Garden, designed and created in the Arts & Crafts style with a series of 'garden rooms' by horticulturalist, Major Lawrence Johnston. St Davids Peninsula on the new Pembrokeshire Coast Walk lies close to Europe's smallest cathedral city, and covers a dramatic section of the iconic South Wales coast path. The privately-owned Pentillie Castle, located on the River Tamar on the border between Devon and Cornwall, provides a single base for another new Walk that includes visits to two important National Trust houses, Antony and Cotehele. Antony House was used as the filmset for Walt Disney's ‘Alice’ starring Johnny Depp, while the Tudor Cotehele offers a rare working cornmill and a medieval stewpond!

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