Fish and food finale for Withdrawn


To celebrate the end of art installation Withdrawn by Luke Jerram at Leigh Woods a finale fish and chip event cooked by Michelin starred chef Josh Eggleton will take place on Sunday, August 23.

Found in Leigh Woods, a national nature reserve on the edge of North Somerset towards the city boundaries , Withdrawn is an artwork, which came about thanks to the National Trust and their partners, the Forestry Commission.

It has surprised and excited audiences as part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital since April when it opened.

The artwork comprises of five abandoned fishing boats set within a tranquil glade in the woodland on the edge of the city.

The boats have been host to a variety of well received events including cinema, theatre, talks, walks, storytelling and choral performances.

The final event of the exhibition from 5-7pm for guests with pre-booked tickets.

National Trust Leigh Woods engagement ranger Nicole Daw said: "This is going to be a brilliant event for visitors and for me, as I watch the National Trust events programme around Withdrawn draw to a close.

"Visitors will enjoy a stimulating discussion between Luke Jerram and academics from the Cabot Institute before tucking into a fish and chip supper that Josh Eggleton will be cooking for us fresh on the day.

"Josh will then join the discussion to talk about the meal we will have all just eaten, and how he makes sure his fish is sustainably sourced.

"So we will all go away with full tummies and a lot to think about.’

Cabot Institute professor Rich Pancost who will be joined by Prof Daniela Schmidt said: "The sea provides food, medicine, energy, protection, jobs and identity, but we are polluting, warming and acidifying it.

"The vessels showcased in Withdrawn illustrate a lifestyle and a food source that may someday no longer exist.

"We hope people will join us as we explore in an inclusive and entertaining way these themes in the beautiful and unique setting of the boats and woodland."

Audience members are encouraged to bring along their own ideas and questions to share in the discussion.

As well as the talk there will be a chance to chat and mingle informally with Luke, and the rest of the panel while enjoying the supper.

Luke said: "I am so pleased at how well the events programme has been received.

"This seems like such a brilliant way to finish it, with delicious food and the chance to really get people thinking about the deeper meaning of my work and where its title Withdrawn came from.

"It is strange to think in just a few more weeks the boats will no longer be resting in the woods, but the great news is they all have new homes to go to.

"So people may well see them again in and around Bristol, as well as a bit further afield."

 Tickets £5 per person from the National Trust booking line 0844 249 1895 or online by clicking HERE.

Withdrawn is open from 9am-5pm until September 6.

Visitors are invited to walk, bus or cycle to the site in keeping with the environmental message of the project.

The project was commissioned by the National Trust, working in partnership with Arts Council England. 

It is one of six arts projects funded by the Arts Council England, Exceptional Fund, as part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.

To read more about the project scroll down this page.

The gothic glory of


  • Learn about life upstairs and downstairs at Tyntesfield near Nailsea once the home of the Gibbs family and now owned by the National Trust; and

  • Leigh Woods a national nature reserve on south west side of the Avon Gorge



Visitors to Tyntesfield, the National Trust Victorian gothic mansion and estate, near Nailsea will have the opportunity to learn more about Victorian costume and culture during the site’s upcoming Victorian week, from Monday to Sunday, March 9-15.

Tyntesfield’s costumiers will be in the Cow Barn atrium from 10:30am-2:30pm throughout the week, giving visitors a close up look at some of the handmade pieces from the estate’s costume collection – made mostly from repurposed fabrics which have been donated or recycled.

There will be free daily guided walks at 10.30am and noon each day, which will focus on Victorian history in the outdoors.

These will include the modelling of Home Farm and day to day life on the estate.

Indoors, families can try their hand at Victorian household tasks, including silver polishing and napkin folding.

Tyntesfield senior visitor experience officer Malcolm Thorne said: "Tyntesfield’s Victorian week will give visitors a great opportunity to learn more about how the team research, develop and create Tyntesfield’s historically accurate costumes.

"This is the first time visitors have been able to take a close look at some of the pieces in the collection."

For more information click HERE.

Warning about dogs worrying deer

Rangers at the National Trust’s Leigh Woods, near Nailsea, are asking for the public’s help to keep the woodland safe for wildlife after increasing numbers of incidents involving out-of-control dogs.

Leigh Woods area ranger Tor Stanfield said: "We’re grateful to all the responsible visitors and dog owners who enjoy Leigh Woods while respecting the fact it’s also a National Nature Reserve.

"However, we’re receiving more reports of dogs being out of control and frightening or attacking the deer.

"We are asking all visitors to help keep the woods safe for wildlife by keeping all dogs on a lead or under close control."

Many deer use the site as a refuge year-round, with mothers hiding young fawns in the undergrowth who then stay there until the mother returns.

Keeping dogs under close control will also protect the herd of Red Devon cattle who help maintain and manage the woodland through grazing during the summer months.

The Trust cares for 65 hectares (160 acres) of historic woodland on the site, which has three nature conservation designations in recognition of the high quality habitat and diversity of species; it is a National Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Leigh Woods is home to internationally protected species, as well as many which are locally scarce.

These include the protected Hazel dormouse and seven species of bat, as well as being an important site for nesting birds, many of which spend time on the ground before fledging.

And at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire they have gone even further in

warning out of control dogs mauling deer could be shot and quoting online that 'the law permits landowners, in extreme circumstances, to shoot dogs that are worrying the deer'.
Leigh Woods was donated to the National Trust in 1909, to prevent the area from being developed.

Now, the National Trust care for the site, famous for its views of Clifton Suspension Bridge and endemic flora.

The site is partly cared for by the Forestry Commission.

Wassailing at Tyntesfield's new orchard

Go wassailing at Tyntesfield on Saturday afternoon, January 25.
Booking is not needed for this free event although admission applies.
There is a craft session in the Sawmill from 11am-1pm which does need to be booked - click HERE - then armed with your own shaker to rattle you can join the parade through the estate at 2pm.
The final Wassail and blessing of the orchard will take place at the end of the procession - if you can't make the craft workshop feel free to bring your own instruments and noise-making implements
The parade will leave at 2pm at the front of the house and the final Wassail will take place at 3pm in the orchard.
As the majority of this event will be outdoors, please wear clothing suitable for the weather and walking in long grass.
The forecast is currently dry for Saturday. 


The good tidings of Christmas are well on their way at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield estate, near Nailsea.

From Saturday to Sunday, November 23-January 5, visitors can immerse themselves in the excitement of a Victorian Christmas, joining costumed characters playing the part of the Gibbs family as they prepare for Christmas of 1891.

There’ll be dancing, singing and merriment every day, and visitors will be invited to join in with traditional carols and learn some dance steps in the Drawing Room.

The house and estate are open every day except Christmas Day, and will open late five days a week throughout December, giving more visitors the chance to see the house dressed up in its winter finery, shop and eat. From Wednesday to Sunday, the estate is open until 8pm, and 9pm on Fridays.

The Cow Barn shop and restaurant are open until 30 minutes before closing, and last entry to the house is one hour before. 

While the halls are lavishly dressed, the decorations don’t stop there. Throughout the estate, lighting and decorations will adorn the outdoors, and there’ll be two very special illuminated and animated sculptures made by Bristol’s The Gentleman Octopus, inspired by Tyntesfield’s flora and fauna.

In another first for the estate, visitors can take home a very special souvenir of their visit to last through the season, as Christmas trees will be on sale in the upper courtyard.

A selection of four different trees will be available, from £25.

To fully immerse themselves in Christmas spirit, visitors can book into one of many carol concerts in the chapel.

A range of local professional and community choirs will perform, including UWE Gospel Choir, St Mary Redcliffe Church Choir and Spiro.

For those wishing to travel in true Victorian style, there’ll be horse and carriage rides running daily from the front of the house, or for the more creative there are workshops, including firm favourite, wreath making.

Passengers arriving by public transport can claim a 20 per cent discount in the shop and restaurant.

Booking is highly recommended via the Tyntesfield website, or on 0344 249 1895.

Autumn at Tyntestfield

Rather than go into a seasonal hibernation, the Tyntesfield estate near Nailsea springs to life for autumn. There’s plenty to see, lots to do at the site cared for by the National Trust, and plenty of seasonal vegetables harvested from the Kitchen Garden to taste in recipes in the Cow Barn restaurant.

For those wishing to explore the best of seasonal colour, there are self-led trails for all ages.

Families can pick up a new seasonal trail map, and go on a sensory adventure across the estate.

For older visitors who are looking for far reaching views and an array of colour, there will be a Golden Tree trail to follow, with four different routes to follow based on variety and accessibility.

And things are about to get spooky at Tyntesfield, as the Victorian Gothic mansion and estate prepares for the fun and mysteries that half term and Halloween bring.

This year, visitors can pick up a Halloween trail from the ticket office for £3. Follow the trail of clues naughty spiders have left across the estate to unscramble the code.

There are seasonal prizes to win on a trail suitable for younger as well as older children.

For those that fancy a spot of pumpkin carving, craft and storytelling, families can book a place on the Halloween hunky punk adventure.

The activities are on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 29-30, with morning and afternoon sessions available for £6 per child.

If you’d prefer to just stretch your legs and learn all about the changing colours, sights and sounds of the season, pick up a seasonal trail leaflet from the ticket office for free, and explore the wider estate.

Or for those who would prefer to travel round the estate like a Victorian lord or lady, there will be horse and carriage rides running every day throughout half term for £3 per person.

These can be booked in advance or on the day, subject to availability.

For more information on any of the above, or to book click HERE.

PHOTOS: From top Lisa Topham, misty morning; Alana Wright, pumpkins in the glasshouse and Peter Hall, purple dhalia with morning dew

Tyntesfield's fruitful fungus

PHOTOS: Anna Kilcooley

Tyntesfield, the 540 acre estate cared for by the National Trust near Nailsea, has just had a record month for sightings of the fruiting bodies of many different varieties of mushroom.

 The North Somerset and Bristol Fungus group meet monthly at Tyntesfield to conduct an audit across the estate.

The group believe August’s extensive rainfall led to a particularly good number of the fruiting bodies on the Tyntesfield estate; the most species identified since 2017.

Their August foray uncovered 73 different species of mushroom, including the death cap mushroom – an apt name for this highly toxic mushroom.

What one generally recognises as a mushroom is just the fruiting body of the fungi.

The network of ‘mycelium’, essentially a mushroom’s root system can consist of many miles of delicate strands of hyphae - single strands of mycelium.

Mycelium is so tiny, that there can be many miles of it under each footstep taken in the outdoors.

This network allows the fungi to ‘communicate’ across the network, sharing nutrients and even information to help the fungus thrive.

Since the group began their audits in 2005, more than 1, 000 different species have been recorded, and more continue to be discovered.

Indeed, since January this year, six species new to Tyntesfield have been recorded, as well as one which has not been seen since 2008.

Tyntesfield area ranger Darren Mait said: “It’s a real honour to have the North Somerset and Bristol Fungus group meet at Tyntesfield.

“Without their expert knowledge, many of the fascinating and rare species found here would go unnoticed.

“The diversity of mushrooms at Tyntesfield is a great sign as to the health of the land here.

“Fungi are natural recyclers, ensuring that dead and rotting plant life are broken down and become important nutrients for the ecosystems around them.”

Sharp eyed visitors to Tyntesfield throughout the year will see these unusual and varied beings appear throughout the woodland, park and garden, but are reminded that fungi are best appreciated by simply looking at them, and that foraging should only be undertaking with an expert, licensed guide.

Tyntesfield summertime

Family visitors to the National Trust’s Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, this summer will find plenty to keep them entertained, with an array of events, play areas and plenty of space to picnic and explore.

For green-fingered families, Wonders of the Walled Garden workshops, on selected dates through July and August offer an opportunity to learn all about how things grow, have a go at planting yourself and to make something tasty with Tyntesfield’s produce.

If craft, stories and games sound like a good day out, TYNTEfest marks National Play Day on Wednesday, August 7, and is a festival for 2-5 year olds and their families.

This year will celebrate the stories of Beatrix Potter, with sessions on Wednesday to Friday, August 7-9.

Horse and carriage rides take place on selected weekends in July and August, giving visitors a chance to travel across the estate in true Victorian style.

There’ll also be a performance of Alice in Wonderland by Immersion Theatre on Friday, August 16, taking place on the croquet lawn with the house as a fitting backdrop.

Intrepid explorers can shelter from the rain in the Gothic mansion and pick up a Hispanic Explorer’s trail to learn about travels and adventure in the Victorian era.

There’s plenty of interactive things to get involved with, including spotting the poison in the medicine cabinet, and discovering Victorian cures for different illnesses.

Sunny days mean a chance to get out and engage with nature, following the 50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ trail.

For those that prefer to take things at their own pace, Tyntesfield has four play areas.

For tiny tots, there is the indoor Cow Barn play area, where mum and dad can grab a coffee while the little ones play.In the Home Farm courtyard,

there’s The Farm play area, with a big tractor to climb up, and slides to slide down.

For bigger kids, there’s the Orchard play area by Tyntesfield’s Pavilion café at the lower end of the estate, where they can play under the watchful eye of parents while the dog tucks into some doggy ice cream.

Or for a real outdoors escape, the woodland play area features a den building village and sculpture trail.

Tyntesfield visitor experience manager Paula James said: "Tyntesfield during the summer offers families a safe space and freedom to explore, engage with nature and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

"Parents can relax on the lawn while the kids run wild, engage with nature and make memories to last a lifetime."

Picnics are always welcome at Tyntesfield, and if you arrive unprepared, the shop and café are fully stocked with everything you might need for a successful day out on the lawn.

For opening times, prices and to book online click HERE or call the National Trust box office on 0345 249 1895.


PHOTOS:Face-painting at TYNTEfest © National Trust/Alana Wright and picnicking at Tyntesfield this summer © National Trust/Anna Kilcooley

WILD THINGS; Emperor dragonflies emerge from the ponds cared for by the National Trust at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, during late May and early June each year. Emperor dragonflies (Anax Imperator) are Britain’s largest dragonfly species, with a wingspan of up to 10cm, and up to 100 new adults will shed their underwater skins and take off from the water. The dragonfly catches and eats its prey in mid-air and does not land often. Males have a bright blue abdomen and bright green thorax, females tend to be green all over. Male emperor dragonflies are known for their aggressive nature. Emperor dragonflies stay as larvae for 1-3 years, and will moult several times underwater as they grow. The final moult takes place above the water on nearby vegetation. The new adult dragonfly will live for around 10 days, returning to the pond to mate. NT outdoors manager Lisa Topham said: "It’s a really exciting time for us down in the walled garden during dragonfly season. “Dragonfly emergence usually happens on the riverside, so Tyntesfield provides an amazing opportunity to see the entire dragonfly lifecycle up close. Tyntesfield’s knowledgeable estate guides will be on hand to help visitors spot these wonderful creatures as they emerge into their adult forms." Visitors to Tyntesfield over the bank holiday weekend and May half term may be lucky enough to see new adult dragonflies shedding their underwater skins, warming up their wings and taking flight for the first time.

PHOTOS: From left egg laying; larvae; emergence and adult dragonfly all by © Steve White

Wildlife photos from Backwell Lake at in a slideshow at Galley 2019 

Spanish roots at Tyntesfield

From Wednesday, May 22, the National Trust at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, is giving visitors the chance to discover more of the estate’s historic Hispanic connections.

From Madrid to Tyntesfield: A story of love, loss and legacy reveals the life of Tyntesfield’s founder, William Gibbs in the Hispanic world.

Born in Madrid, the son of a Spanish woollen merchant, William’s story is one of long struggles to pay off inherited debts, of lost love, and business deals across the Hispanic world that generated a vast fortune.

Many of the items within the house and across the grounds give insight to this legacy.

The theme will be explored through displays within the house, seasonal events, new dishes on the menu and an autumn photography exhibition.

Tyntesfield and Bristol curator Susan Hayward said: "William’s Anglo-Spanish identity was an important factor in the huge success of his South American trade and the reason why he had the cash to create his grand high gothic’ design at Tyntesfield.

"We are excited to be revealing new insights into the Tyntesfield estate and the man who created it through a series of fascinating and exquisite objects throughout the house, many on display for the first time."

Visitors will be able see items from the vast Tyntesfield collection that have never been on display before, including ornate model interiors from the Alhambra palace in Granada, and a series of portrait miniatures painted by the miniaturist to the Spanish Royal Family, Antonio Tomasich y Haro.Hispanic themed food and drink will be on offer in Tyntesfield’s Cow Barn Restaurant, including chorizo burgers made with meat from Tyntesfield’s tenant farmers and orange and rhubarb cake using ingredients grown in the kitchen garden.

The story will be told throughout 2019-20, and will feature a family trail which launches on Sunday, June 30; $tow High In Transit - a photography exhibition through September and October; and Hispanic links across the wider estate will be revealed as the story progresses.

PHOTO: From top clockwise Tyntesfield Alhambra © National Trust / Bob Fowler, Tyntesfield Alhambra with William Gibbs inlaid © National Trust / Bob Fowler & Henry Lyndsay and Spanish playing cards at Tyntesfield © National Trust / Bob Fowler

Victoriana for May

Families can immerse themselves in Victorian life on weekends in May as Victorian Month returns to the National Trust at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea.

During the bank holiday weekend the Natural Theatre Company returns to Tyntesfield with their walkabout act, having previously performed at Glastonbury Festival, Royal Ascot, and in 48 countries across the world.

Join the governess, kitchen maid, gardener and other staff on the estate as they prepare for a very important occasion: Mr Gibbs’ birthday.

Victorian illusions, trickery and puzzlement will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12, as Discovery History demonstrate Victorian fairground entertainment. Spin the praxoniscope or the zoetrope and experience TV Victorian style. 

Raphael History, the UK’s longest established historic falconers, return with historic displays on the lawn on the Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19. There’ll be a chance to see the birds up close, and talks will go ahead even in the event of bad weather.

Tyntesfield senior visitor experience officer Malcolm Thorne said: "Tyntesfield’s Victorian month will give visitors an amazing insight into Victorian entertainment.

"It’s a firm favourite in the Tyntesfield calendar, and brings the house and garden to life."

May half-term week, there’ll be a family trail across the estate to celebrate William Gibb’s 227th birthday. Families can create a birthday card, translate the language of flowers and try to find the right key for the lock to the house, given to Victorians on their 21st birthday.

Tyntesfield’s Victorian month events take place on weekends throughout May and during May half-term. 

More information is available on

PHOTOS: Falconry William Pummel and

Visitors Trevor Ray Hart

Daffodils are out at Tyntesfield

Celebrating Mother's Day at Tyntesfield

Monday to Friday, March 25-29, 4-5pm

Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31, 11am-3pm and noon-4pm         

Why not treat your mum at Tyntesfield this Mother's Day with an afternoon tea, a handmade card, a gift from the garden team, or all of the above?

Price: details on the website, normal admission prices apply.

The Gibbs family Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday to Monday, April 6-22, 10am-3.30pm    

Can you find out more about the family of William Gibbs, who lived at Tyntesfield in the 1800s, by matching up the family portraits and completing Victorian games and activities?

Price: £3, normal admission prices apply.

Make a celtic backstool

Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, 10am-4pm

On this two-day workshop, with the expert guidance of the Somerset Bodgers, you can make a three-legged celtic backstool using traditional woodworking tools and techniques.

Price: £130 including materials, use of tools and hot drinks.

Booking essential: 0344 249 1895. 

Victorian month at Tyntesfield

Saturday, May 4, Sunday, May 26 and daily in half term10.30am-4.30pm

The Victorian era is coming to life at Tyntesfield this May, with fairground entertainment and illusions, horse drawn carriage rides and traditional Victorian falconry displays.

Price: normal admission prices apply.

Seasonal food and craft market

Sunday, May 19, 10am-3pm

From freshly baked bread and fine cheeses to hand-made jewellery and ceramics, there's plenty of seasonal treats for you to discover at an array of local food and craft producers at Tyntesfield.

Price: normal admission prices apply.

For a complete guide to What's On click HERE.


PHOTO: Daffodils at Tyntesfield by William Shaw

Young peeps

February half term at Tyntesfield

Thursday, February 21

From 11am-3pm you can warm up this winter with a herbal tea-making session and learn all about the amazing properties of herbs. Then create your own Victorian pomander filled with herbal fragrances of your choice.

Price: £4, normal admission prices apply.


TYNTEtots 2019

Storytelling, crafts and games for the two to five-years olds and their families inspired by classic stories including Thumbelina, The Little Red Hen, The Owl And The Pussycat and Peter Rabbit.

Price child £8, two children £14, three children £21, normal admission prices apply.

Here are the dates to storytime for pre-school children at Tyntesfield:

  • Wednesday, February 27

  • Thursday, February 28

  • Wednesday, March 20

  • Thursday, March 21

  • Wednesday, March 24

  • Thursday, March 25

  • Thursday, April 25

  • Thursday, May 23

  • Friday, May 24

The times are 10-11.45am and 1-2.45pm.

Booking essential: 0344 249 1895.

PLANNING APPLICATION: Wraxall and Failand Parish Council has given a poor reception to expand the old Gibbs estate to accommodate more visitors. The National Trust has put in a planning application to North Somerset Council to build a new £350,000 ticket hub at Tyntesfield. It says the current reception cannot cope with the nearly half a million people visiting the historic tourist attraction annually. But the application submitted in November 2018 has not found favour with the parish council which has lodged an objection citing 'exclusivity' and traffic issues. While Wraxall & Failand parish council is in general supportive of the National Trust and its work at Tyntesfield it has made these comments on the planning application 18/P/4994/FUL. To read more go to the Breaking News page by clicking HERE.

PHOTOS: Christmas lights glimmers, National Trust volunteers sewing and hand-making Christmas decorations at Tyntesfield. © National Trust/Alana Wright​, National Trust/Owen Roots and National Trust/William Pummell

Tinsel and trimmings at Tyntesfield

The National Trust team at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, is getting ready for the return of their immersive Victorian Christmas this November.

From Saturday to Wednesday, November 24-January 2, visitors to the Tyntesfield estate will be able to experience the festive life of its Victorian owners; the Gibbs and their estate workers, as they prepare for and enjoy the festive period.

Albinia Rose Gibbs (1876-1941), the eldest of Antony and Janet Gibbs’ three daughters, will be joining the costumed characters in Tyntesfield house this year. A well-travelled young woman, she was known for her sporting prowess, interest in astronomy, and her support of the movement for female access to further education and university. Visitors will be able to speak to her about her interests as she gets ready for her family’s festive celebrations.

National Trust Tyntesfield senior visitor experience officer Malcolm Thorne said: "It’s great to be able to bring Albinia Rose to life this year - she was a fascinating woman, her parents – Antony and Janet – have been a key part of our Christmas celebrations for a few years now so it’ll be nice to bring the family together.’

This year is also the first time that all of the costumes worn at Tyntesfield during the Christmas period have been handmade onsite by a team of National Trust volunteers. The team carefully researched the costumes to ensure they were as authentic as possible - for example the stole worn by the Chaplain is an exact replica of the one worn by the Gibbs family’s chaplain in the Victorian period.

Tyntesfield volunteer costumier Pauline Tillett said: "We’ve built up a store of costumes and materials during the past few years but this is the first time we’ll be completely self-sufficient.

"The team have been working hard since our first sewing session back in the summer and we’re well on track to have everyone dressed by Christmas. It’s a really nice team, and we’ve seen our volunteers’ skills develop over that time."

The costume team aren’t the only team getting crafty this Christmas. All of the decorations on the estate – both inside the house and out in the grounds – have been handmade, either by National Trust volunteers or local expert florist, Sarah Pepper, to traditional Victorian designs.

Meanwhile, a team of staff and volunteers from the estate are busily knitting nativity characters for the festive family spotter trail in the house.

As with last year, the Victorian festivities won’t be limited to the house at Tyntesfield, with outdoor characters and rustic decorations in Home Farm ensuring the whole estate is in the festive spirit.

On select evenings in December, the estate will also be open after hours giving visitors the opportunity to see Tyntesfield in a new light, pick up some presents in the Cow Barn shop, and taste some festive treats in the Cow Barn restaurant.

Tyntesfield is open every day except Christmas Day.

For more details of all the Christmas events and activities at Tyntesfield click HERE.

Windfall from raffle rebuilds stone wall

A stone archway in the Victorian parkland boundary wall at Tyntesfield near Bristol has been restored thanks to funding raised through the National Trust’s annual raffle.

The restoration of the archway follows on from the successful repair of a 450 metre stretch of the historic boundary wall in 2017.

The continuation of the project to save the mile and half long wall, which is thought to date from the 1880s, was made possible thanks to £2,981 raised through the sale of raffle tickets at Tyntesfield.

National Trust Tyntesfield visitor experience manager Paula Jame said ‘It’s truly wonderful to see the tangible results the raffle can produce and we’d like to thank all of the visitors who took part and supported this work.

"As a conservation charity we rely on fundraising to help us look after the historic sites in our care and stop significant structures like the wall crumbling away.’

Work to repair the archway, which was identified as a priority section of the wall by the National Trust team, began in late July.

Using the same historic techniques that would have been used to first build the wall in the late 19th century, including an authentic lime mortar mix, the team rebuilt the archway over a custom-built frame.

Once the lime mortar was dry, the frame could be removed and the wall on the other side of the arch rebuilt.

National Trust Tyntesfield lead ranger Darren Mait said: ‘This summer was so hot that we had trouble with the lime mortar drying too quickly.

"We had to cover the wall every night with hessian to keep it cool and plastic sheeting to keep in the moisture so the mortar didn’t dry too quickly.’

The work was completed by a team of National Trust volunteers and local qualified waller and instructor, Simon Knops, of Bristol based company, Greenspace Walling.During the work to repair the wall, the team also uncovered historic latches and part of a hinge buried in the ground by the archway.

Darren added: "We can assume that there was once a door in the arch – there’s an archway further down the wall that still has its door.

"We think the doors were added after the wall was built because the arches are higher than the walls on either side.

"It gives us an idea of how the Gibbs family who lived here would have used the estate.’

The National Trust team hope to restore this second archway in 2019.

More information on the Tyntesfield estate click HERE.

Kitchen garden grows pumpkins for poets...

The National Trust have put a poetic spin on their annual pumpkin display at the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, which has been cared for by the conservation charity since 2002.

Every year, the garden team at Tyntesfield create a display of the pumpkins, squashes and gourds grown in the Kitchen Garden on the Victorian estate.

Visitors to the 2017 display will remember the distinctive inscriptions on a selection of the pumpkins, which labelled the pumpkins with their variety.

Tyntesfield gardener Marianne Closius said: "You have to write on them when they’re not too hard – they should be slightly sappy then you can use anything, even a hard pencil, to scratch your words or design into the rind."

This year, a few of the pumpkins have been inscribed with four lines of poetry taken from the inscription on the sundial in the Kitchen Garden, around which they’re now displayed:

Let others tell

Of storms and showers,

I’ll only count

Your sunny hours.

The display is particularly fitting as Tyntesfield’s poet-in-residence, Holly Corfield Carr, reaches the end of her time at this estate after spending the past few months writing and leading workshops in the woodland.

The rest of Tyntesfield’s pumpkins, squashes and gourds will be harvested before the end of September.

Once picked, they will be laid in the glasshouses to gently bake before being displayed in the Orangery next month.

PHOTOS: © National Trust/Alana Wright

Tall trees

Get to know the tallest tree at Tyntesfield this autumn on new walks.

Visitors to the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, which is cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust, will be able to get to know the estate’s tallest tree this autumn.

The giant redwood, which stands at 32m (104ft) tall, was brought to the estate by the Gibbs family, who lived at Tyntesfield from 1844 to 2001.

Visitors to the estate will be able to get up close to the tree, and find out more about this fascinating species, during a series of brand new autumnal events at Tyntesfield.

There are also newly developed golden tree walks.

There are four routes that take in different views across the Somerset hills and the different ages of the trees on the estate as they transform ready for winter.

The walks are marked by handmade golden leaf markers, created using wood felled at Tyntesfield.

National Trust gardens and countryside manager Lisa Topham said: "Autumn is my favourite time of year at Tyntesfield the Gibbs family planted trees from around the world so when autumn hits the garden’s full of incredible colours that change every day."

At weekends throughout October, the National Trust’s volunteer estate guides will be leading guided walks to take in the changing colour and reveal more about the history of Tyntesfield and the estate’s most unique and rare living treasures, like the giant redwood.

Closer to the ground, family visitors to Tyntesfield can take full advantage of the season by playing in fallen leaves, building dens, wanging wellies and conquering a woodland tree maze as an autumn explorer.

At the weekends families can also take a piece of Tyntesfield with them by decorating a willow crown with fallen leaves and fallen flowers from the estate. 

For those looking for something a little spookier, there is a mystery to be solved in half term on the gothic tales family trail, with a pumpkin prize for those brave enough to take part.

Up in the woods there is more spooky fun to be had on a Terrifying Tyntesfield bookable family session with seasonal activities, crafts and games.

More information click HERE.

PHOTOS: From top south facade at Tyntesfield by John Millar, morning light on the south terrace and the grounds in autumn both by Alana Wright

Homes & Gardens on TV

English gardener, presenter, poet, and novelist Alan Titchmarsh is back for a second series of Secrets Of The National Trust and is coming to a stately home near you.

Three places in the south west will feature including Tyntesfield for this getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of Britain’s most intriguing historic homes and gardens. 

Alan embarks on the second half of his 12-part journey by visiting a different property each week to unlock its secrets.

Along the way he’ll be joined by some familiar faces, who will uncover tales of high society, life below stairs and the trials, triumphs and scandals of our great estates.

Three of our special places in the South West will feature in this part of the series, including Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle who are featured in the programme on Wednesday, August 1, and Tyntesfield on Wednesday, August 8.

At Kingston Lacy Alan unearths the story of William John Bankes, an Egyptologist and aesthete who filled his family mansion with treasures while exiled abroad, but never got to see the home he lovingly created.

Joan Bakewell hears more about specialist analysis work on a thought to be rare painting and Alan will be hearing about the trust’s conservation grazing work being undertaken by some award-winning Red Devon cattle

At Corfe Castle, Oz Clarke learns about William’s great, great, great grandmother Dame Mary Bankes, who during the Civil War resisted a siege by a Roundhead [or Parliamentarian] army of 600 as she defended the castle with only 80 men.

And at Tyntesfield, Alan learns about the rise of William Gibbs, who became the richest non-aristocrat in 19th-century Britain through the trade of guano - otherwise known as bird droppings.

Meanwhile, chef Tony Singh and presenter Miriam O’Reilly explore beyond the Victorian Gothic house to discover the estate’s gardens.

The series at 9pm on Channel 5.

Estate children summer day schools

Children invited to experience life as a Victorian, in summer day camps at Tyntesfield

This summer the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield, cared for by conservation charity the National Trust, has announced it will be inviting children to experience life as a Victorian in a series of kids-only day camps.

The Victorian Explorers: Tyntesfield through Time day sessions, which are aimed at those aged 7-12 years old, will allow children to see the estate through the eyes of the people that would have historically lived at and visited Tyntesfield.

The Tyntesfield estate, near Nailsea, was once the home of the Gibbs family.

The wealthy City of London merchant William Gibbs, bought Tyntesfield for his growing family in 1843 and the family transformed Tyntesfield into the Gothic extravaganza it is today creating the perfect place for four generations of family life.

Tyntesfield learning and development officer Rachel Greeves said: "Over the years, Tyntesfield was home to a lot of children.

"Like many Victorian families, the Gibbs family was on the large side. In fact, the 1891 census shows us that Anthony Gibbs and his wife Janet Louisa had nine children under the age of 18 living at home’.

"Although Victorian childhood doesn’t have the best reputation (and rightly so), I can’t think of many better places to grow up as a child living in the Victorian times.

"Not only did the Gibbs children live in a beautiful house, there was a farm to explore, trees to run around in the woods, gardens to play hide and seek in, and even a tennis court and boating lake!"

The Victorian Explorers: Tyntesfield Through Time day-camps will be a chance for children to discover the kind of activities Tyntesfield’s younger residents would have once enjoyed themselves. Children will have the opportunity to take part in a range of activities across the estate including growing and tasting food, clay modelling, and taking part in some exciting games in the woodland. The sessions will provide an immersive experience for inquisitive children to part-take in some historical crafts and play, as well as offering a great opportunity for children to get out of the house and into nature.

Inspired by the historically used commonplace books, which were used by many people in the past, including poet and evangalist Hannah More who wrote about her time in the woodlands of the Tyntesfield estate, children will also be able to create their own diaries to document their summer adventure at Tyntesfield, and to keep as a memento.

Tyntesfield learning assistant Tish Russell said: ‘It’s great to be able to bring Tyntesfield’s Victorian history to life for children and to help them explore what life would have been like for the children living at Tyntesfield.

"This year’s Tyntesfield through Time is a brand new event for 2018 and it’s bound to be a lot of fun!’

Victorian Explorers: Tyntesfield through Time will take place on various dates throughout the summer holidays; each day will begin at 10.30am, when children will be signed in and greeted by the learning team at Home Farm. The group will then be taken on a tour around the estate to take part in the different hands-on activities, before stopping for lunch. Children are invited to bring a packed lunch for a picnic in the beautiful surroundings. After the picnic, the group will take part in the day’s final activities, before making their way back to Home Farm for a pick up at 2.30pm.

The sessions will be led by Tyntesfield’s learning team, who run all of the school visits during term-time, the team have plenty of experience with school-aged children and have all been DBS checked. Children are welcome to book on to the sessions with their friends or siblings, or come independently, as there will be plenty of opportunity to make new friends on the day. To ensure that every child has the very best day possible, the sessions will run in small groups, therefore booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

More information is available on

Poetry seeds

Celebrate midsummer with an evening of music and poetry at Tyntesfield in the Victorian kitchen garden.

The Victorian estate was bought by the Gibbs family, who famously made their money on the trade of guano, in the 1840s.

It has been in the care of conservation charity, the National Trust, since 2002.

Since then, the Tyntesfield team have welcomed visitors to a range of events inspired by and in celebration of the estate’s Victorian history, but the midsummer event on Sunday, June 24, is a new addition to the calendar.

After a sold out Christmas concert in Tyntesfield’s chapel last year, Bristol-based chamber choir, Spiro, who first formed in September 2017, are returning to perform.

They will be performing songs inspired by the flowers and plants that grow across the estate.

Tyntesfield senior visitor experience officer Malcolm Thorne said: "We’re really looking forward to welcoming Spiro back to Tyntesfield, they always put on an incredible show and it’s great to be able to support a new local group."

Spiro’s performance will be interspersed with poetry readings from Tyntesfield’s poet-in-residence Holly Corfield Carr.

During her residency at Tyntesfield, Holly is publishing a sequence of new poems in response to the life and legacy of 18th evanganlist and poet Hannah More.

The event is in the Victorian kitchen garden  which still provides food to the estate to this day.

Tyntesfield senior gardener Marianne Closius said: "Every week we send ingredients up the drive to the Cow Barn restaurant to be used in recipes across the menu, with less than a mile between the two, the produce couldn’t really be more local."

As well as the music and poetry, there will be refreshments available throughout the event including drinks, ice-creams and a barbecue stocked with produce from Tyntesfield’s tenant farmers.

Tickets £12 must be booked in advance.For more information click HERE.

Hannah More's legacy

for woodland writing

Award-winning Bristol poet, Holly Corfield Carr, is the new poet-in-residence at Tyntesfield, the Victorian estate near Nailsea cared for by the National Trust.

Holly, who has previously held residencies at The Wordsworth Trust and the University of Bristol amongst others, has been named as poet-in-residence as part of a project inspired by 18th century poet, Hannah More.

During her residency Holly will be hosting a series of woodland writing workshops in Tyntesfield’s woodland, and has produced a sequence of new poems in response to Hannah More’s poetry and the landscape that inspired her.

Tyntesfield curator Sue Hayward said: "It’s wonderful to think that the natural beauty of the woodland was a crucial source of inspiration for one of Bristol’s greatest writers and we’re delighted to welcome Holly to rediscover the poetry of the landscape and explore Hannah’s legacy. ’

"More’s feminist legacy is complicated, and the opportunity to work with her poetry was both thrilling and troubling, while she set up schools for girls across Bristol including Nailsea and campaigned for improvements and access to women’s education throughout her life, she celebrated women’s power as a limited and very local thing."

Holly said: "My work at Tyntesfield this summer will explore More’s dedication to the local landscape and consider what this means for feminists, environmentalists and poets.

"My work at Tyntesfield this summer explores More’s ‘little elevation’ as the ideal position, a place in which we prioritise expertise, cooperation and care, and as part of this I have produced a book of poems, Indifferent Cresses, which takes its name from Hannah More’s complaint that women’s writing is sometimes as celebrated as a salad."

Holly took her inspiration for Indifferent Cresses from the Victorian books, British Grasses and Wildflowers and Their Teachings, both purchased by the Gibbs family shortly after their arrival at Tyntesfield and still found in the Tyntesfield library today.

Indifferent Cresses replicates the style of the Victorian ‘herbarium’ by featuring a combination of poems, field notes and pressed natural material found in the woodland at Tyntesfield.

Alongside Indifferent Cresses, which was written onsite in the woods at Tyntesfield and is published by the National Trust, Holly will be leading writing workshops across the summer with guest writers:

  • critic Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell;

  • poet Elizabeth Jane-Burnett; and

  • novelist, Abi Andrews.

Holly’s residency will end with a special Little Elevations event on National Poetry Day, Thursday, October 4, at Spike Island in Bristol.

PHOTOS: Holly Corfield Carr running a poetry workshop with Hannah More Primary School, St Philips, Bristol; and visitors walking in the cut flower garden which is part of the kitchen garden at Tyntesfield © National Trust/Alana Wright

Tyntesfield open  new poet's walk 

A new poetry walk inspired by evangalist and poet, Hannah More, opens at Tyntesfield near Nailsea.

Bristol-born Hannah More (1745-1833) was one of the most influential women of her day.

A successful poet, playwright and campaigner, she was a champion of social reform, female education and the abolition of slavery.

For six years, she spent much of her time on Tyntesfield’s neighbouring estate, Belmont (now privately owned and not open to the public), and was inspired to write poetry by the sheer beauty of her surroundings.

Miss More was a regular guest at the Belmont estate through her relationship with the owner, William Turner. During their courtship they laid out the planting and paths in the woodland, part of which is now on the Tyntesfield estate, and Turner arranged for More’s poems to be painted onto wooden boards and attached to trees along the paths.

It is these boards that the National Trust team at Tyntesfield have replicated to form the new poetry walk through the woods at Tyntesfield.

Tyntesfield curator Sue Hayward said: "Hannah More’s poems provide a fascinating glimpse into the early career of this fiercely intelligent and passionate poet.

‘It’s wonderful to think that the natural beauty of the woodland was a crucial source of inspiration for one of Bristol’s greatest writers.

"We’re thrilled that our visitors will be able to explore the beauty of the Tyntesfield landscape through the poems written here."

More’s relationship with Turner eventually ended in heartbreak.

The pair were engaged but Turner postponed their wedding three times over six years before eventually breaking the engagement altogether.

As compensation, Turner offered More £200 a year which she originally refused but later accepted.

This income allowed her to be independent, at a time when women rarely were, and left her free to pursue her literary career.

Her poem, The Bleeding Rock, inspired by the rocks on Turner’s estate, catapulted her to success in London’s traditionally male-dominated literary circles and she became a member of the exclusive Bluestocking Society.

National Trust. project manager Alex Smith said: "Evidence indicates that Hannah More’s poetry boards were still in situ when William Gibbs purchased the estate in 1844.

"We know that in around 1900 the Gibbs family arranged for the boards to be restored and reinstated in the landscape.

"By reinstating them at Tyntesfield today, we hope our visitors will again be inspired by Hannah More and by the beautiful landscape."

Visitors to Tyntesfield can now follow in the Gibbs family’s footsteps to find Hannah More’s poetry boards through the woodland at Tyntesfield and read newly rediscovered poems unearthed by the team’s research.

These poems may never have been published in print in More’s lifetime.

Walking maps can be picked up from the National Trust Ticket Office.

Alongside the new poetry walk, and as part of the National Trust’s 2018 Women And Power programme, the team at Tyntesfield have welcomed a poet-in-residence to the estate. award-winning Bristol-based poet, Holly Corfield Carr, has been exploring Hannah More’s legacy through a brand new collection of poetry, due for publication later this year.

Holly will also be running a series of writing workshops with guest poets across the summer.

For more information about Hannah More, the new poetry walk, and Holly Corfield Carr’s work click HERE.


PHOTOS: From top left clockwise 1) Visitors reading one of the new poetry boards in the woodland at Tyntesfield © National Trust/Alana Wright; 2) Visitors walking in the woodland at Tyntesfield © National Trust Images/John Millar​; 3) Hannah More by F Reynolds © Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, UK. Purchased with the assistance of the subscribers, 19.13./Bridgeman Images

Stepping back May time

The Victorian estate of Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust, sees the return of its annual Victorian month this May with brand new events appearing alongside old favourites.

Returning events include Victorian naval demonstrations, this year provided by the Bluejackets Re-enactment Society, and Victorian falconry displays, with Raphael Falconry, both firm favourites in this yearly celebration of Tyntesfield’s Victorian history.

Tyntesfield senior visitor experience officer Malcolm Thorne said: "It’s great to be able to bring Tyntesfield’s Victorian history to life for visitors and we’re really excited to offer some new events for the first time this year."

New to the Victorian month line-up this year are Discover History.

They’re bringing a Victorian careers fair ready to sign Tyntesfield’s visitors up for the ‘worst children’s jobs in Victorian history.

Also new for 2018 is an all Victorian evening concert with local chamber choir, Spiro, in the beautiful surroundings of Tyntesfield’s Victorian chapel.

For the first time during May half-term, visitors to Tyntesfield will be challenged to have a go at 10 Victorian things to do, from napkin folding and silver polishing to hopscotch and carriage rides.

Visitors will also have the chance to make their own salad dressings from herbs grown in the Kitchen Garden at Tyntesfield, just as the estate’s Victorian staff would have done.

Tyntesfield senior gardener Marianne Closius said: "The Kitchen Garden at Tyntesfield still provides food for the estate to this day.

"Every week we send ingredients up the drive to the Cow Barn restaurant to be used in recipes across the menu.

"With less than a mile between the two, the produce couldn’t really be more local."

Tyntesfield’s Victorian month events is on weekends throughout May and during May half-term. 
For more information click HERE.


PHOTOS:  Horse and carriage rides at Tyntesfield during Victorian month © National Trust/Sarah Robbins. Discovery History present the worst Victorian jobs at Tyntesfield this May © Discover History, using a pestle and mortar to prepare ingredients © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Another stone in the wall

A team of volunteers have helped save the historic parkland boundary wall at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust.

The boundary wall is thought to date from the 1880s and was built using local stone and lime mortar.

It had fallen into disrepair until the team of volunteers - trained and led by qualified waller and instructor, Simon Knops, of Bristol-based company, Greenspace Walling - began work in summer 2017.

Simon said: "I love to see these old walls come back to life, not only are they part of the original structure, they’ve developed a habitat of their own, hosting mosses, lichens and even small birds that nest in the crevices."

The team use the same historic techniques that would have been used to first build the wall in the late 19th century, making sure to check with a National Trust curator that the lime mortar mix they were using was correct.

The team began by removing any adjacent trees that were causing damage to the wall before carefully removing the ivy that had been growing along the wall and pushing the stones apart.

They salvaged as much stone as they could from the collapsed sections.

Walling volunteer Mel said: "I’ve loved being part of the team.

"It is new friends, new skills and teamwork at its best. It’s been fascinating learning how to take a pile of stones (some of them needing to be recovered from the field) and a lot of holes, through the art of finding the right stone for the right place to working out how to get it to stay there for a long time.

"We also learned lots about the wildlife and their habitats, as well as about walling.’

The team started working in late June and finished their current project in the autumn.

National Trust lead ranger at Tyntesfield Darren Mait said: "This type of work is very much dictated by the weather and there were a handful of occasions when the work had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.

"Frosts can also cause the mortar to ‘blow’ and fall out so we had to be careful to finish the work in time."

In that time, the team completed repairs along a 450 metre stretch of the historic wall which has now weathered the winter and is standing proud in the Tyntesfield woodland.

Thanks to the success of this project, the National Trust team will be continuing the work this year, focusing on historic walls across the Bristol countryside that are in need of repair.


PHOTOS: Volunteer working on the historic boundary wall at Tyntesfield © National Trust/Tony Laverton and the wall team group © National Trust/Alana Wright

Last of the summer stories...National Trust marks 1st 15 years Tyntesfield


The National Trust Bristol team had two causes for celebration this summer as they marked Tyntesfield’s 15th year in the conservation charity’s care, and the record-breaking 100,000 volunteer hours given by National Trust volunteers across the Bristol portfolio.
The National Trust Bristol portfolio cares for the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield, the broadleaf woodland of Leigh Woods and the manor and garden of Clevedon Court, as well as multiple natural sites in the area.

More than 900 volunteers in 57 different roles across these sites contributed a record-breaking 100,000 volunteer hours to the conservation work of the National Trust in the last year, making it the first National Trust portfolio in the country to reach this milestone.
Volunteers across the portfolio are involved in a hugely varied range of roles; including dry stone walling, harvesting, administration, inventorying collection, bus driving, auditing fungi, making historic costumes and room guiding.

National Trust Bristol portfolio volunteering officer Emma Hodges said: "We’re so grateful to all of our volunteers for their support, every one of them brings their skills and life experiences to the portfolio, helping us look after the amazing sites in our care."

Based at Tyntesfield are 866 volunteers and a number of them have been on-site since it was first taken into the care of the National Trust in 2002.

One of these is Gerry, who received his 15 year long-service award for volunteering during the recent celebrations.

Gerry started as a tour guide at Tyntesfield in 2002 before becoming involved in the inventory, cataloguing the house’s contents for around nine years.
He said: "Around that time a lot of the volunteers were saying how nice it would be to have books for people to borrow and share so I set up a little second-hand book stall.

"It’s grown from there and now I run the second-hand bookshop with a team of around 24 volunteers.

"I’ve learned a lot about books, and it’s great that everything we raise goes to caring for Tyntesfield."
 It has been fifteen years since Tyntesfield was saved for the nation thanks to £20m National Lottery funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), £17.4m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), public donations and the National Trust.
 The team celebrated both milestones with a party at the end of August which saw the presentation of long-service volunteer awards, a special Tyntesfield cake, and a visit from National Trust volunteering and participation director Helen Timbrell.

The party also launched new commemorative badges for volunteers at each of the sites, to celebrate the 100,000 hours gifted to the portfolio.

Local runners help conservation work


Runners from Nailsea Running Club are helping to fund the National Trust’s vital conservation work at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea with a £1,000 donation.

The running club, which celebrated its 13th birthday in 2016, is a trail and road running club that emphasises social running over competition.

They have been running events at the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield which is cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust - since 2011, including the club’s annual Tyntesfield 10 and the National Trust’s fortnightly four mile event called Feel Good Friday Run.

This year, both events saw record numbers of attendants with more than 400 runners taking part in the Tyntesfield 10 and 25+ runners regularly attending the fortnightly run.

The proceeds from the Tyntesfield 10 is shared between Nailsea Running Club and Tyntesfield, and new club chairman Alison Wright presented a £1,000 cheque to the National Trust team at Tyntesfield this week.

Alison said: "It’s great to be able to support the conservation work that goes into caring for this beautiful place.

"The woodland and parkland of the wider estate are such great places to run whatever the weather and time of year."

Nailsea Running Club’s donation will also help train National Trust volunteers to be Leadership In Running Fitness (LIRF) certified, allowing the team to run more sporting activities at Tyntesfield, including the annual night run on Saturday, November 18.

NT events officers Hugh Harris said: "The level of support Nailsea Running Club has given Tyntesfield during the past six years has been fantastic.

"It’s great to be part of a partnership that helps encourage people to spend time in the outdoors and explore the North Somerset countryside."

More information about the running events on the Tyntesfield estate is available on

NIGHT RUN: Stretch your legs on a Night Run around the Tyntesfield estate near Nailsea on Saturday, November 18

All routes are totally traffic-free, mostly on paths and trails and if you'd rather walk than run, you're more than welcome.

There will be two cross-country courses for all running abilities:

  • Explore course (2.5k) all ages £7; and

  • Adventure course (5.5k) aged 12+ fee £14.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The house will be floodlit and Home Farm will be open late for warming grub and drinks. A goody bag is included in your race fee.

Full event details and booking click HERE.

Tyntesfield October half-term


The National Trust team at Tyntesfield is running a week of Hallowe’en inspired family events this October half-term as part of Bristol Family Arts Festival.

Fancy dress is encouraged throughout the week at the Victorian Gothic estate on the outskirts of Bristol, especially on the spooky family trail around the grounds.

To celebrate the fact that Tyntesfield was one of the first houses in England to have electricity installed, the team will be leading bookable half-hour paper lantern making workshops every morning in the courtyard of Home Farm visitor centre. In the afternoons, the sessions take on a spookier theme with half-hour pumpkin carving workshops.

On Tuesday, October 24, the Tyntesfield garden team are running drop-in sessions to make Hallowe’en bath-bombs in the estate’s recently restored Victorian Orangery.

The Orangery is situated in Tyntesfield’s Kitchen Garden which is full of seasonal produce at this time of year, much of which is used in recipes in the Cow Barn restaurant to this day.

Anything that’s left can be picked up from the produce table in the garden for a donation.

Up in the woodland, on Tuesday and Thursday, October 24-26, families can join bookable spooky woods adventure sessions aimed at children aged 7-12 for hot chocolate making and natural crafts around the campfire.

Outside of half-term there is plenty for families to do at Tyntesfield, with four different play areas across the estate, including the adventure play and den building village in the woodland.

More information click HERE.

'Passions And Possessions' exhibition ends this month


The National Trust’s award-winning Passions And Possessions exhibition at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, is coming to an end after nearly two years this month.

The exhibition explores the material world of Tyntesfield’s Victorian owner, Antony Gibbs (1841-1907), using a collection of over a hundred of his personal possessions.

Antony was the second generation of the Gibbs family to live at Tyntesfield and the objects on show were all collected, commissioned or crafted by him, giving a rare insight into his personal passions.

Tyntesfield curator Susan Hayward said: "Antony’s interest in arts and crafts was ignited as a boy when he visited the Great Exhibition of 1851.

"The Gibbs family were frequent visitors and Antony went on to buy from, and then lend artworks to, many other exhibitions around the world."
Antony bought from dealers and major auction houses such as Sotheby’s and invested heavily in pictures, paying wide ranging prices from £4 to £2,500.

He built his collection and drew inspiration from the natural world and his extensive travels, which began in 1861 with a tour of Italy.

Antony went on to journey further afield in his later life taking in a vast array of cultures from the Pyrenean mountains to the Paris opera, and from the bazaars of Cairo to Czar Nicholas II’s Russia.

Passions And Possessions’ showcases Antony’s love for collecting and creating both local and exotic art and highlights some of the grandest pieces in Tyntesfield’s collection.

Among these are the unique bronze throne of Charlemagne - a gothic masterpiece complete with shimmering rock crystal heads - and intricately carved miniature gemstones known as intaglios.

Placed alongside these impressive pieces are more personal objects; such as a locket containing a lock of Antony’s hair, and a set of exquisite candlesticks that he turned by hand on his ornamental lathe, currently on display in the Billiard Room at Tyntesfield.

Visitors still have a few weeks to experience Passions And Possessions before it ends on Sunday, October 29, at a time when the Tyntesfield estate is looking its autumnal best.

Once the exhibition is over, the Tyntesfield team will begin the festive transformation of the house ready for the start of ‘A very Victorian Christmas’ on Saturday, November 25.

More information is available by clicking HERE.

PHOTOS: From top left family at Passions And Possessions exhibition © Toni Vella-Sultana, visitors looking at the intaglios © Alana Wright and locket of Antony Gibbs' hair © John Hammond all taken for National Trust

HENRY EIGHTH: Billed as the best show outside of the Edinburgh Festival here is another chance to see The Six Wives of Henry VIII with Living Spit at Tyntesfield. It is on Saturday, September 23, at 7.30pm.The Six Wives of Henry VIII was an undisputed hit at the Bristol Old Vic and with live original music, embroidery, Barbie dolls, silly songs and historical hysteria, this promises to be an ill-researched lesson in Tudor history you'll never forget. The six wives of Henry VIII, two actors, too many characters, and one big ego. Recommended for ages 14+. Tickets £16 which includes two drinks.Ticket holders should park at main visitor car park and head for Home Farm Visitor Centre where you will be met by event stewards. There is no dress code but you are advised to dress for the weather as there is a walk from the car park to Home Farm and bring a torch as the car park is only partially lit. To book online click HERE or call ll 01275 461900. This play is also at Theatre Tropicana, Weston from Monday to Wednesday, September 18-20 that week. Go to the preveiw page for more information

Bottoms up for outdoor theatre at Tyntesfield?


Outdoor theatre is once again returning to Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, this summer as travelling theatre company, Illyria, present their ‘cheekiest ever show’ on Saturday, August 19.

The show is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story of The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which an Emperor is deceived by two weavers who promise to make him a suit of clothes invisible to anyone who is stupid or unfit for their positions.

Illyria’s production promises larger-than-life characters, audience participation, ‘cheeky’ finale and lots of family fun.

It’s the third time the theatre company, who were first established in 1991, have visited the Victorian estate of Tyntesfield - cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust.

At this time of year, the estate’s formal gardens are full of colour making them the perfect outdoor theatre location.

National Trust events officer Hugh Harris said: ""It’s great to welcome Illyria back to Tyntesfield.

"Having outdoor theatre on the lawns really brings the gardens to life and the house makes for the perfect dramatic backdrop."

Illyria will be performing their version of The Emperor’s New Clothes at 7.30pm, with gates opening at 6.45pm for picnics.

Booking is essential.

Tickets and more information about the event by clicking HERE.

PHOTOS: Emperor’s New Clothes artwork © Illyria and

outdoor theatre at Tyntesfield © National Trust / Peter Hall

Victorian 'play away' through gothic window

Families are encouraged to ‘play like Victorians’ this August by the National Trust team at Tyntesfield, near Bristol, with a series of outdoor and indoor activities taking place across the Victorian estate.

The activities have been inspired by the lives of the Gibbs family who lived at Tyntesfield for four generations; beginning with William Gibbs who moved his family to the estate in the 1860s after making his fortune in the guano business.

National Trust Bristol portfolio learning and engagement officer Rachel Greeves said: "It’s great to be able to have fun exploring the history of Tyntesfield and its Victorian routes with families, tthere’s a real legacy of exploration and adventure through the Gibbs family’s travels across the world and we’re looking forward to sharing this with Tyntesfield’s visitors."

For budding Victorian explorers there are bookable outdoor activities in the woodland of the estate, with both full day ‘summer training camp’ sessions for children aged seven to 12-years and two hour ‘summer woodland adventure’ sessions for under sevens and their families.

Attendees can expect to get outdoors and explore the natural environment, as well as trying their hands at natural crafts. Inspired by the Gibbs family’s nautical connections, the activities will include creating and printing flags, designing and racing boats and practicing wayfinding with orienteering through the trees.

In the boudoir of Tyntesfield’s Victorian Gothic Grade 1 listed house, visitors are encouraged to have a go at Victorian pastimes and games.

With the option of dressing in Victorian costume visitors can play a range of classic games including dominoes, zoetrope and bagatelle - the historic inspiration for the modern pinball game.

The launch of all of the activities at Tyntesfield is on Wednesday, August 2 in celebration of Playday, the national day for play in the UK which celebrates its thirtieth birthday this year. The activities will run through the month of August.

Spaces on outdoor activity days are limited, so booking is essential.

For more information click HERE.

Be a Tyntesfield ranger for a day


The chance to have a go at being a ranger is being offered by the National Trust team at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, with a week’s worth of practical activities, talks and workshops in August.

World Ranger Week at Tyntesfield runs from Monday to Sunday, July 31-August 6, and was inspired by the internationally observed World Ranger Day, celebrated every year at the end of July.

The day was set up by the International Rangers Federation and celebrates both the work of rangers across the globe to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures, and commemorates those killed or injured in the line of duty.

National Trust ranger Janine Connor said: "We’ve been marking World Ranger Day at Tyntesfield for several years now but this year we wanted to really celebrate it by inviting visitors to get some hands-on experience with the work we do to conserve the estate.

"Being a ranger is so varied; one day you’re repairing pathways, the next you’re planting trees and the next you’re surveying bats."

The event starts on Monday with ‘ranger school’ - a hands-on conservation session for families to meet the Tyntesfield rangers, find out how they care for the Victorian estate, and help out with important maintenance work in the orchard.

On Tuesday the National Trust Bristol portfolio area ranger will be leading a guided walk around Tyntesfield, while on Wednesday volunteer tree registrar,Chris Watts will be leading a walk around the estate’s champion trees - the oldest, tallest, widest of their species.

Gardens and countryside manager Lisa Topham said: "Tyntesfield is such a varied estate, it’s home to a huge range of rare and significant trees, working farmland, wildflower meadows, formal gardens, Victorian buildings and a kitchen garden that supplies ingredients to the restaurant to this day.

"All of these spaces provide vital habitats for different kinds of wildlife – like fungi, bats and birds, butterflies, dormice, dragonflies and deer – which is why it’s so important for them to be protected and restored."

Visitors to Tyntesfield on Thursday, August 3, contribute to the National Trust’s restoration work in a hands-on workshop restoring the estate’s historic parkland boundary wall.

The wall is thought to date from the 1880s and was built using local stone and lime mortar.

Today’s restoration work uses the same techniques, overseen by qualified dry stone waller and instructor, Simon Knops, of Bristol based company, Greenspace Walling.

Simon said: "I love to see these old walls come back to life.

"Not only are they part of the original structure, they’ve developed a habitat of their own, hosting mosses, lichens and even small birds that nest in the crevices."A walk on Friday, August 4, led by the area ranger, focuses on the Tyntesfield estate’s ancient and veteran trees which, combined with those across the Bristol portfolio, make up one of the largest collections of ancient and veteran trees in the south west.

A generous donation in May 2017 from SC Johnson means that these trees will be conserved and protected as part of a five year project to ensure their survival.

To finish the week, on Saturday and Sunday young visitors to Tyntesfield can have a go at being junior rangers with a set of free hands-on activities inspired by the work the National Trust team do.

When they’ve ticked off all of the activities, the rangers-in-training can claim a ranger medal.

During the weekend, the team from Tyntesfield’s Cow Barn restaurant will be firing up the estate barbecue to help the young rangers keep up their strength.

Spaces are limited on the activities, walks and workshops across World Ranger Week at Tyntesfield so booking is advised.

More information is available by clicking HERE.


PHOTOS: Top left pupils from Hannah More Primary School, St Phillips, helping tree planting © National Trust/Peter Hall; Right a National Trust ranger at family muck-in day © National Trust/Steve Sayers

Families invited to try outdoor activities


A range of outdoor activities will be on offer at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, this weekend, to encourage families to have a go at completing the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ challenge this summer. 

The ’50 things’ campaign was launched by the conservation charity in 2012 to inspire families to get outdoors and closer to nature.

It includes activities from No4 den building and No7 flying a kite, to making a No25 daisy chain and No27 going stargazing.

Visitors to Tyntesfield on the first weekend of the summer holidays, Saturday and Sunday, July 22-23, will be able to have a go at a variety of these activities in the gardens and woodland of the Victorian estate.

Activities on offer will include No18 creating some wild art with the Tyntesfield garden team, No12 making a trail with sticks in the woodland and No24 going on a barefoot walk by the Rose Garden.

Inspired by No34 to track wild animals, musician and Tyntesfield visitor experience assistant Malcolm Thorne will also be leading sing-a-long music sessions, inviting families to sing their favourite animal themed nursery rhymes and songs.

He said; "Tyntesfield is a great place to get outdoors.

"It’s such a beautiful natural environment, whatever the time of year, and there’s so much to explore."

For each activity visitors try at Tyntesfield they can collect a sticker to place in their ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ journal - available to pick up on the day – to record their adventures.

Or, tech-loving families can download the ‘50 things’ app and tick off each activity as they go.

More information about Tyntesfield’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ weekender is available on

Natural play trail opens at Leigh Woods

A new play trail has opened at Leigh Woods near Nailsea, cared for by conservation charity the National Trust.

The trail uses natural materials and includes a range of separate activities to encourage families to explore more of the woodland, which forms part of the Avon Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The play trail has been created thanks to a donation from Bristol law firm Barcan+Kirby and £15,000 in grant funding from Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust, who support community and environmental projects across the UK through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).

Barcan+Kirby consultant Giles Woodward said: "Leigh Woods is one of Bristol’s natural treasures and one which all of us deserve the chance to enjoy, young or old.

"I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support a play area in the woods through the National Trust.

"It’s a fantastic charity and this project will create a safe and fun space for children and families to appreciate the woods’ natural beauty, within one of Britain’s best loved cities."

As well as the new play trail, visitors to Leigh Woods can follow a selection of waymarked walking and mountain biking trails, or find their own route. Downloadable trails that focus on finding the most dramatic views across the city or the most significant of the site’s trees are available on the Leigh Woods website, along with downloadable family trails and a permanent orienteering course.

Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust spokesman Angela Haymonds said: "It’s so important for everyone to have access to the outdoors and this new play trail will give families the chance to explore more of the historic and diverse woodland at Leigh Woods."

The new play trail activities include balance boards between the trees, hollow logs to explore, a woodland fort and a giant basket swing for gazing up at the leafy canopy.

For more information click HERE

CLASSIC CARS: For Father's Day weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18, 10am-3pm. An array of classic vehicles will be descending on the estate. On the grid will be  Austins, Triumphs, Bristols, Lotuses, MGs, Minis and a 1914 Model T Ford. You can marvel at the different makes and models, find a favourite and maybe even get photo of dad behind the wheel. Normal admissions applies. For more information on upcoming events at Tyntesfield click HERE.

New Lord Wraxall 

The 3rd Baron Wraxall, KCVO, CMG, diplomat, died on May 17, 2017, he was aged 87.

Lord Wraxall was Vice Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, 1982-86 and inherited the title when the late George Richard Lawley Gibbs, 2nd Baron Wraxall died in July 2001.

The father-of-five lived in Suffolk and sold Tyntesfield immediately he inherited the house to the National Trust.

As reported in Peerage News Eustace Hubert Beilby Gibbs was born 3 July, 1929, a younger son of the 1st Baron Wraxall (1873-1931) by his second wife, the former Hon Ursula Mary Lawley (1888-1979), a daughter of the 6th Baron Wenlock; married firstly, 1957, Evelyn Veronica Scott (1935-2003), by whom he had issue, three sons and two daughters; married secondly, 2006, Mrs Caroline Mary Feilden, dau of Sir Henry Burder. He succeeded as 3rd Baron Wraxall on the death of his elder brother, 19 July, 2001.
Lord Wraxall is succeeded in the family honours by his eldest son, the Hon Antony Hubert Gibbs, who was born August 19, 1958 and is listed as film financier with a London address.

Gift of mighty girth


Ancient trees growing in Greater Bristol are to be protected thanks to a £50,000 donation from a multi-billion US company which makes Glade air freshener.

Some of the most important trees in the country, which grow within the environs of  Bristol and North Somerset are to be conserved by the National Trust thanks to support from SC Johnson.

The collection of ancient and veteran trees can be found across a number of places - including Leigh Woods, Tyntesfield, Shirehampton Park, Failand and Clevedon Court - and consists of one of the largest populations of ancient and veteran trees in the south west.

Ancient trees of this kind, which are usually between 150 and 900 years old, are uncommon, under threat, and in need of specialist conservation to ensure their survival.

National Trust Bristol portfolio gardens and countryside manager Lisa Topham said: "Veteran and ancient trees don’t compete well with younger trees and can often find themselves shaded out, causing them to die.

"Or, they can become too top heavy and split apart.

"By thinning the surrounding vegetation and conducting specialist tree surgery, we can protect and prolong their lives.’

As well as being significant in their own right, these trees also provide vital habitats for local wildlife, and Leigh Woods and Tyntesfield are both sites of national significance because of their populations of invertebrates associated with the trees.

A recent insect survey showed that 36 of their species are nationally rare, vulnerable and endangered, while one – a moth fly, Trichomyia minima - is completely new to science.

Lisa said: "Sixty per cent of the nation’s wildlife has declined in the past 50 years, so it’s crucial that these habitats are protected.

"As well as the invertebrates at Tyntesfield and Leigh Woods, the trees and hedgerows around Bristol are home to hundreds of species of fungi, lichens and mosses, bats, birds, butterflies and dormice, many of which are rare and endangered."

The conservation of these trees forms part of a five-year project to ensure that they are well managed and protected, which will also include the planting of new trees that will become the veteran trees of the future - in more than 150 years’ time.

Visitors to Tyntesfield can pick up a new tree leaflet that highlights some of the most important trees on the estate, while at Leigh Woods, a downloadable tree walk guides visitors through the site’s population of veteran trees.

Many of these trees will be conserved as part of the project which will commence in autumn 2017.

Work will begin with specialist tree surgery and the thinning of vegetation around the trees most under threat, and will continue during the next five years.

PHOTO: Top ranger Janine Connor completing a condition survey of a tree on the Tyntesfield estate and right lead ranger Carole Burnett with area ranger Darren Mait measuring the girth of a beech tree which will be conserved as part of the project © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

Say it with flowers


‘Spring is on the way; you can smell it’, says National Trust gardeners

The gardens at Tyntesfield are in the top 10 favourites among National Trust supporters although at number nine only just.

National Trust garden teams have just conducted their annual flower count for Valentine’s Day and although this year spring seems to be on the way, just as we would normally expect, but what is noticeable is how many scented plants are out in flower at this early time of year.

National Trust gardeners reported 1,737 plants blooming in this year’s 12th annual Valentine’s Flower count, 34 per cent down on last year’s figure of 2,644.

Although numbers are down on 2016, they are still higher than the previous three years.

But Tyntesfield head gardener Chris Watts said: "We have nothing out of the ordinary and no great swayths of flowers yet  unless you count the ever invasive winter heliotrope which is now smothering the snowdrops.

"Last year the Cornus mas - a species of flowering plant in the dogwood family  - was nearly over, this year it isn't out."

For the second year running, Saltram had the highest number of flowers recorded with 176 blooms (193 in 2016).

The snowdrop has been voted the top spring flower for the fourth year running in a survey run with National Trust supporters on social media.

The gardens at Cotehele, Lanhydrock, Kingston Lacy and Saltram have been voted the most popular places to see spring blooms. 

The more normal and cautious approach of spring than in previous years does mean we can enjoy the early flowering plants for a bit longer as the cooler conditions will help extend the flowering season of the earlier blooms, this is reflected in the lower numbers in this year’s count. With later flowering plants on hold for warmer sunnier conditions

National Trust south west garden’s advisor Ian Wright said: "Our gardens are full of buds ready to burst into flower, but spring isn’t here quite yet, but when it does it will be a good one.

"Alongside the usual signature plants of spring we are seeing such as Magnolias, Camellias and Rhododendrons, what is often over looked is the amount of plants that  have highly scented flowers at this early time of the year. 

"They’re all out there advertising their presence by pushing out scents like perfume counters in a department store trying to attract their insect customers, which are few and far between at this early time.

"We have reports of Daphne, Mahonia, winter flowering honeysuckle, and Witch hazel to name but a few all of which give off sweet heady aromas and, are well out in flower at many of our gardens such as at Killerton, Knightshayes, Cotehele and Hidcote. 

"Some types of snowdrops and other early spring bulbs add to this annual attack on your senses producing subtle and beautiful scents. 

"Now is the perfect time to get outdoors await the arrival of spring and hunt out nature’s sweet perfume it doesn't come in packages so is environmentally friendly and free what could be better on Valentine’s Day?"

National Trust Garden teams in the south west have recorded fewer flowers in bloom than last year in this year’s annual Valentine’s Flower Count, with nearly all gardens showing a decrease in the amount of varieties of plants in bloom.

Figures from the Met Office confirm that 2016 was one of the warmest two years on record.

Such changes to our weather pose the single biggest conservation challenge to National Trust gardens and places.

How we all garden whether in a National Trust garden or at home, what plants we grow and where may need to change.

In 2008 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded in Devon and Cornwall, marking the earliest spring so far recorded.

Gardeners at 31 National Trust properties across the south west took part in the annual Valentine’s Day flower count which first started in Devon and Cornwall in 2006. 

Gardens in the south west are usually the furthest advanced in the UK with early spring blooms but this year numbers are down on last year which shows our spring maybe back to normal for this year at least with 907 less blooms.

In Cornwall 595 blooms were counted compared to 897 in 2016. In Devon there were 707 blooms this year compared to 1041 in 2016.

Ian added: "Comparing the number of plants across our gardens on a set day every year gives us a real insight into how our gardens respond to weather patterns, and is a useful ‘barometer’ for the season ahead."

This year 1,302 plants were recorded in 18 gardens in Devon and Cornwall compared to 1,938 in 2016 and 1,345 in 18 gardens in 2015. 

In 2008 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded, marking the earliest spring so far recorded in Devon and Cornwall.

Many National Trust gardens are already open in the south west. 

For more information and opening times click HERE.


Among the south west gardens taking part in the flower count were:

  • Cornwall: Antony, Cotehele, Glendurgan, Lanhydrock, Trerice, Trelissick, St Michael’s Mount, Godolphin;

  • Devon: Buckland Abbey, Castle Drogo, Coleton Fishacre, Greenway, Killerton, Knightshayes, Overbecks, Saltram, A La Ronde;

  • Dorset: Kingston Lacy. Max Gate;

  • Gloucestershire: Dyrham, Hidcote, Snowshill;

  • Somerset: Lytes Carey, Tintinhall, Barrington Court, Tyntesfield. Prior Park, Dunster; and

  • Wiltshire:Avebury

A social media  survey found the most popular spring flower in the south west is the:

  1. Snowdrop - for the fourth year running

  2. Daffodil

  3. Primrose

  4. Tulip

  5. Magnolia


Spring flowers in bloom in our supporters’ gardens at the moment are (last year’s figs in brackets):

  1. Snowdrop 79% (76%)

  2. Daffodil 52% (84%)

  3. Primrose 46% (47%)

  4. Cyclamen 32% (25%)

  5. Camellia 23%

  6. Rhododendron 3% (6%)

  7. Magnolia 1% (9%)


Top 10 gardens in the south west to see spring flowers as voted by our supporters on social media are:


2.            Kingston Lacy

3.            Stourhead

4.            Cotehele

5.            Trelissick

6.            Knightshayes

7.            Dyrham Park

8.            Westbury

9.            Tyntesfield

10.          Coleton Fishacre

Christmas Tyntesfield with Mr and Mrs Gibbs


A totally immersive and characterful Victorian Christmas is at Tyntesfield for the festive period.

From Saturday to Monday, November 26-January 2, visitors will be able to experience the festive life of Tyntesfield’s Victorian owners; the Gibbs and their servants, as they prepare for and enjoy the Christmas.

It will provide an insight into the private lives of their era with Mrs Gibbs ensuring her home is fit to receive guests, the servants busy decorating the house and the gentlemen of the house hiding away from the commotion.

Tyntesfield events officer Hugh Harris said: "The idea  is to follow Christmas through the eyes of the Gibbs family who lived at Tyntesfield, watch them getting ready, see the house become decorated and even meet members of the family.

"Not only will the house be decadently decorated from top to bottom in Victorian garb, but this will also be brought to life by the Gibb’s themselves, whilst visitors will be able to interact and learn about their life in a Victorian country house at Christmas.

"We will also be opening the house at night, lighting the footpaths leading to the house, which will also be lit up from within, with all the curtains and shutters open, giving people the chance to peek in the windows and see the Christmas festivities as they arrive.

"Evening visitors will also hear the sound of carols spilling from the chapel with a programme of eight different choirs performing throughout December and to watch as the family hold a grand waltz in the Drawing Room.  

"The days of National Trust places all being closed during winter are long gone.

"We are open throughout December with the house open every day except Christmas Day and decorated in a traditional Victorian style."

For details of all the Christmas events and activities at Tyntesfield click HERE.

PHOTOS: Top dancers at a Very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield ©National Trust/Paul Blakemore and right rriving in style to a Very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield 2016 ©National Trust/Steve Haywood

Running in night garden at Tyntesfield


Runners are being given the rare opportunity to explore Tyntesfield by night on Saturday, December 3.

The National Trust estate just outside of Bristol is hosting its third annual Night Run as part of a series of trail running events held at National Trust sites across the country.

The aim is to allow visitors to explore these special places after-hours and to give and promote fitness during the cold winter months.

There are two courses:

  • an Explorer 2k for those less experienced; and

  • an Adventurer 7k for those seeking more of a challenge.

Entry tickets include on-site catering, well-marked reflective course signage, event marshals, timing and results service.

NT events officer Hugh Harris said: “Our Night Run is open to anyone, regardless of fitness level – it’s just a great way of getting out in the fresh air and a great chance to experience estate by night.”

There are regular running opportunities at Tyntesfield, with a free 10km run every forth Sunday of the month called the Trust10.

The Night Run starts at 5pm, with registration from 3.30pm.

All participants must come with a head torch or hand held torch.

The course is over good tracks and trails but suitable running or walking footwear is strongly recommended.

Tickets for the Adventurer course are £16.50 per person adult and £8 per person for the Explorer course, they can be booked online at or 0844 249 1895.

A stone’s throw from Nailsea, Tyntesfield was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics, instead its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home.

At its heart Tyntesfield is a Victorian country house and estate, which serves as a backdrop to the story of four generations of one family; the Gibbs. 

Their achievements are celebrated through ornate Gothic carvings, flower filled terraces and an expansive estate set amongst the Somerset countryside.

Their tale charts an accumulation of wealth from the Guano trade in South America, a transformation of a Georgian house into a Victorian Gothic masterpiece, and collection of over 50,000 objects; both ordinary and extraordinary.

With each visit you will experience a new side of Tyntesfield; as we close one door and open another you will see the changing perspectives of this much-loved family estate.

The Tyntesfield estate is open every day except December 25.

PHOTOS: Runners completing night run ©National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Tyntesfield brings faith back to family chapel

 The National Trust is working in partnership with Arnolfini to bring the work of contemporary artist Daphne Wright to Tyntesfield - its Victorian Gothic house near Nailsea.

The exhibition, titled Emotional Archaeology, is presented over both sites and is a survey of work spanning 25 years by the artist. 

Tyntesfield is showing major projects by the artist which resonate strongly with the history of the estate, including Prayer Project (2009) and Bulls (2002).  The exhibition at the Arnolfini includes restored, loaned and new works such as Where do Broken Hearts Go? (2000), Stallion (2009), Kitchen Table (2014) and Domestic Shrubbery (2009).

Guest curator Jo Lanyon said: "This exhibition offers an intriguing insight into Daphne Wright’s sculptures, prints and films. 

"I have described Wright’s unique approach to making art as emotional archaeology because it uncovers hidden truths about our culture. It is a privilege to work across two such different sites that have an important role in supporting artists from the 1800s to today."

The Victorian family chapel at Tyntesfield will house Prayer Project; a series of film portraits of individuals of different faiths in the intensely private moment of prayer and meditation.

Tyntesfield curator Susan Hayward said: "We felt that the chapel was exactly the right place to show Prayer Project. 

"It was built as the ultimate expression of its founder, William Gibbs’ (1790-1875) religious beliefs. 

"Books in the Tyntesfield library show the family’s spiritual journey, reflecting deeply on faith and different religious beliefs."

By contrast there will be a series of photographic portraits and casts of bulls and stillborn calves sited in family rooms within the main house, spaces which look out over the estate with long associations with dairy farming. 

The artworks provoke the consideration of mankind’s complex relationship with breeding. 

Wright’s work draws analogies between the Bull as the patriarch or ‘head’ of a family, and the way that a farming family is emotionally invested in their animals’ reproductive life. 

 Wright has been based in Bristol for nearly two decades; she has divided her time between this city and Ireland.

Often working from her studio at home, her practice is imbued with the emotive but unsettling power of the suburban and the domestic realm, drawing upon references from art history, literature and film to nonsense poetry and Country and Western music.

She describes her work as being ‘the result of a relentless curiosity into the way in which materials can create an involvement with often unspoken human preoccupations'.

A new publication will accompany the exhibition: Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology, edited by Josephine Lanyon, which is available from the Tyntesfield and Arnolfini bookshops.

This survey includes texts by; Brian McAvera, Art Critic, Irish Arts Review, Xa Sturgis, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Penelope Curtis, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; and Shirley MacWilliam, Ulster University. The book also includes an almost complete pictorial catalogue of the artist’s works.

Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology at Tyntesfield runs from Saturday to Sunday, September 10-November 20 and at The Arnolfini from Friday to Saturday, September 30-December 31.

PHOTOS: Bulls George (2002), a polymer intaglio print ©Daphne Wright,

drawing of a bull by Tyntesfield’s Victorian owner Anthony Gibbs ©National Trust

And photos from Prayer Project (2009) ©Daphne Wright

The beat goes on...

Live From The Lawn returns to Tyntesfield for its third year with two top headliners from the world of Ska and Folk.

Dispelling the stereotype of a quintessential National Trust property, Tyntesfield is constantly challenging perceptions with its events programme and this August is no exception.

After the success of last year’s event the property, near Nailsea, will be hosting 2 Tone legends The Beat, and Radio 2 award-winning folk artists Show of Hands for two night time open-air concerts in a beautiful setting.

On Saturday, August 27, The Beat will be performing on Tyntesfield’s croquet lawn, a setting which is a world apart from their West Midland roots.

They formed in Birmingham in 1978, and were part of the West Midlands ska revival scene that also produced The Specials and The Selecter, while London saw the formation of Madness and The Bodysnatchers.

They shot to stardom with their first single, which was a unique take on Smokey Robinson’s Tears Of A Clown, which reached the Top 10 in December 1979, and saw the band appear twice on Top Of The Pops in that year.

 The Beat are now known the world over for a string of hit singles, including Mirror In The Bathroom, Too Nice To Talk To and ‘Can't Get Used To Losing You.

Their dynamic live shows fuse ska, pop, reggae and punk rock with a message of peace, love and unity.

The band recently announced they will be releasing a new album in September called BOUNCE, their first in more than 30 years.

On Sunday, August 28, the sound switches from West Midlands to the West Country with genre defying favourites; Show of Hands.

Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic duos in England with their unique mix of rock, roots, blues, country and trad.

They have built up a huge following which has seen them sell out the Royal Albert Hall three times, headline major festivals from Glastonbury to WOMAD and playing all over the world, from Europe to America, Australia and India.

They were also voted Best Live Act by the public at the 2004 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and during the same awards in 2010 they were named ‘best duo’ and also clinched the ‘best original song’ award for Arrogance Ignorance And Greed.

 Their Tyntesfield show is part of the Walk with Me - The Big Autumn Tour, which will see the duo perform alongside double bassist Miranda Sykes and special guest vocalist Megan Henwood.

This tour will be the last chance to see them together before their 2017 Albert Hall concert.  

Tyntesfield events officer Hugh Harris said: “We can’t wait to see the lawn transformed into a dance floor.

"Music and theatre was a big part of Victorian life here at Tyntesfield, so we’re really happy to be following tradition, albeit in a fairly non-traditional way.”

During the daytime Saturday to Monday, August 27-29, Live From The Lawn will turn into a family-friendly mini music festival, showcasing more than 20 upcoming artists from Bristol and further afield.

There is a wide range of music planned with everything from Samba and ukulele to Indie Rock and Brass.

For tickets and more information call 0844 249 1895 or go online by clicking HERE.

Ahoy sailors it's playtime

Look what is opening at Tyntesfield just in time for half time.

An extensive new woodland play area, with a nautical theme, will be opened by the National Trust its Wraxall property from Tuesday, May 31.

A play trail already exists at the estate, but the new additions have been created in response to feedback from visitors, who have asked for more to explore in the woods.

There will be three new play structures, as well as additions made to two which already exist on a pathway leading up into the woods.

 Learning and engagement officer Catherine Coleman said: "The new one that I’m most excited about is the wooden ship.

"This was inspired by the guano trade that made the Gibbs family once lived in the house their fortune.

"Children will be able to pretend they’re sailing to South America to collect the valuable bird droppings, test their balance on the anchor chain and hide woodland treasure in a chest."

During the launch day there will be a barbeque and Victorian sailors on hand to explore what life in the Navy would’ve been like in the 1800s, as well as putting young sea farers through their paces with cannon drills.

Normal admission charges apply when the new woodland play area is open.

For more information click HERE

I saw a (dor)mouse, where? 


Endangered dormice have been discovered at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, for the first time by National Trust rangers and volunteers.

The team have been surveying and monitoring wildlife on the estate for many years, including, bats, newts and birds, but have recently extended their work to include dormice.

Volunteers have installed a number of nesting boxes around the woodland in order to provide a suitable home for this important but declining species.

Ranger Janine Connor, said, ‘The number of dormice in the UK has fallen by half in the last 100 years and they are known as  a ‘flagship species’, this is why we’re so excited to find them here.’

The discovery was only made possible by Nailsea volunteer Gill Brown, who shared her expertise and dormouse handling licence to enable the team to check the boxes, as it is illegal to handle dormice without this.

Gill said: "It’s always fantastic to find dormice, as they are extremely rare, and as such have the highest level of animal protection possible.

"I have been recording dormice locally since I received my licence in 2007 and last year was the worst year to date, so it is extremely special to have the first ever recorded find at Tyntesfield."

There is only one native species of dormouse in Britain, it is a predominately nocturnal mammal, and spends most of its active time off the ground.

They are very sensitive to weather and climate as they have specialised feeding requirements, surviving on flowers for nectar and pollen, fruits and some insects.

Tyntesfield’s dormouse was found in a state of Torpor (sleeping), which is similar to a temporary hibernation in order to conserve energy, probably due to a lack of available food.

By surveying wildlife at its places, the National Trust is able to assess the condition of its habitats, and can then work on maintaining and improving them.

The significance of the woodland in which this particular find was made, extends beyond the dormice themselves, as they only thrive in places that are also suitable for a wide range of other species.

Janine added: "Finding them in the ancient semi-natural woodland at Tyntesfield means we have some nationally important habitat hosting an endangered species and with future monitoring we will be able to determine how healthy the population is."

Pictured top Gill is holding the sleeping dormouse,

right is Janine and fellow ranger Darren Mait

© National Trust/Paul Blakemore.

Tyntesfield’s treasure unveiled for first time in new exhibition

A new exhibition at Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, throws light on the ‘passions and possessions’ of its Victorian owner for the first time.

With a staggering 60,000 items, Tyntesfield has the largest collection of objects in the National Trust. This exhibition aims to showcase more than 100 of these objects, which were either bought, created or commissioned by Antony Gibbs (1841-1907), the second generation of the Gibbs dynasty at Tyntesfield.

As the heir to a vast family fortune, Antony was both extremely wealthy and a man of leisure. The Passions And Possessions exhibition will give visitors the rare opportunity to step into his material world, and discover the private interests of this romantic English collector and master craftsman. 

Project curator Susan Hayward said: "Antony’s interest in arts and crafts was ignited as a boy when he visited the Great Exhibition of 1851.

"The Gibbs family were frequent visitors and Antony went on to buy from, and then lend artworks to, many other exhibitions around the world."

Antony bought from dealers and major auction houses such as Sotheby’s and invested heavily in pictures, paying wide ranging prices from £4 to £2,500 for a Bellini.

He built his collection and drew inspiration from the natural world and his extensive travels, which began in 1861, when he embarked on a year long tour of Italy.

Antony journeyed further afield in his later life taking in a vast array of cultures from the Pyrenean Mountains to the Paris Opera and from the bazaars of Cairo to Czar Nicholas II’s Russia.

These rich experiences fuelled his love for collecting and creating his own artworks.

Passions And Possessions will feature these much cherished items with exhibits ranging from the personal, such as a locket containing a strand of his hair, to the luxurious, with Antony’s one of a kind, bronze Throne of Charlemagne -  a Gothic masterpiece complete with a shimmering rock crystal lion heads.

Susan added: "We have designed the exhibition so that visitors will feel like special guests immersed in Antony’s material world. 

"Around the edges of the room we have created a series of vignettes on historic furniture that tell Antony’s story and installed a dense Victorian-style hang from his pictures on the walls. 

"While in the centre of the room there will be an illuminated jewel cabinet containing miniature carved gemstones called intaglios and drawers containing samples of the materials featured for people to touch and smell.

"We really want visitors to come away feeling that they know Antony the man, as well as enjoying his amazing collection."

The exhibition which opened this week shows into next year.

Golden Years at Tyntesfield


Tyntesfield is set to appear on the big screen with the opening Golden Years, a pensioner heist comedy film set in and around Bristol and North Somerset.

The Jon Miller film tells the story of retired couple Arthur and Martha Goode, played by Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna, as they slip into a life of crime after refusing to take the loss of their pensions lying down following the financial crash.

Their plan is simple: hit a series of banks and steal back their pensions along with those of their similarly stricken friends.

Opening nationwide on Friday, April 29, this Robin Hood-themed film takes in the world of Henleaze retirement bungalows, bowls and bingo clubs and visits to National Trust properties, including Tyntesfield.

Location manager Tim Faulkner said: "The National Trust team were incredibly helpful during the preparation stage and while we were shooting at Tyntesfield. 

"They accommodated all our requests including out of hours access, cast facilities and catering, allowing the shoot to run smoothly and to plan."

Filming took place at Tyntesfield in May 2015, and featured much of the house, garden and a cameo from assistant house manager Rachel Kavanagh who played the role of a front of house volunteer.

Rachel said: "It was really exiting to act alongside Bernard Hill, who played Theoden in Lord of the Rings, I was a bit obsessed with the trilogy when I was a kid."

Tyntesfield began 2016 as a location for the BBC’s Sherlock special on New Year’s Day and followed this with a starring role in Julian Fellows adaption of Anthony Trollope’s novel Dr Thorne in March.

Tyntesfield house manager Francesca Hollow said: "Our places are popular with film companies and seeing them on screen generates additional interest from visitors.

"We make sure the money from these productions stays with the place used – in this case it will go towards the costs of keeping the house and estate as an authentic gothic Victorian family home."


Horse power at Tyntesfield


A heavy horse has been drafted in to help with the extension of a National Trust woodland play area at Tyntesfield, near Nailseal.

The building work has already begun, but Tuppence, a 14 hand Welsh Cob, is due to join the site from Monday to Wednesday, April 18-20, to help haul timber. The 28ft long logs she will be moving were felled at Tyntesfield and will be used for edging in the play area.

National Trust ranger Darren Mait said:" W e decided to use Tuppence as she will be able to negotiate the dense woodland more effectively than us using a tractor, and more importantly will have less negative impact on the ground and habitat."

A substantial play area already exists at Tyntesfield, but the new additions come in response to feedback from visitors asking for more to explore in the woods.

There will be three new play structures, as well as additions made to two that already exist on a pathway leading up into the woods.

Learning and engagement officer Catherine Coleman said: "The new addition I’m most excited about is the wooden ship.

"This was inspired by the guano trade that made the Gibbs family fortune.

"Children will be able to pretend they’re sailing to South America to collect the valuable bird droppings, test their balance on the anchor chain and hide woodland treasure in a chest."

During the building work, the play area is open as normal, apart from the treehouse, and the new additions will be completed by the middle of May.

Outdoor art classes


With longer, warmer spring days comes the opportunity to observe the signs of the shifting seasons with a sketchbook – and the National Trust in Leigh Woods has launched their first ever free drawing group called Gone Sketching.

Leigh Woods, on the edge of Bristol and a stone's throw from Nailsea, offers far reaching views of the city with the famous Clifton suspension bridge in the foreground as well as spring flowers, bluebells, majestic veteran trees and a small herd of North Devon cattle who graze the Iron Age ramparts of Stokeleigh Hill Fort.

All of this and much more has been used by many generations of artists and writers, most notably in the early 19th century by the Bristol School of Artists.

Now, the National Trust, with generous help from Cass Art Bristol, is encouraging anyone with an interest in sketching to join the group.

Cass Art Bristol supervisor Tessa Ratuszynska said: " We are on a mission to ‘fill this town with artists’.

"We are delighted to be working with Gone Sketching, especially somewhere as beautiful as Leigh Woods.

"Keeping inspiring projects free and open to everyone is at the heart of what we do, and we are proud to be sponsoring this great initiative.”

The group is the brainchild of National Trust volunteer Lily Green.

Lily started volunteering with the National Trust at Leigh Woods during the Withdrawn exhibition by Luke Jerram last summer.

While performing her duties she enjoyed sketching the flotilla of abandoned fishing boats and the idea was born.

Lily explains her vision for the group 'is to be informal and fun; something for anyone who has an interest in drawing and taking some time out for themselves'.

Liy added: "Getting out into the fresh air and drawing with friends is really rewarding and I want to facilitate this experience for others.

"I hope a fruitful exchange will result, whereby I can also learn something from the participants over the eight week course, forming friendships along the way.”

Gone sketching runs for eight weeks on Tuesday afternoons starting on the April 19 at 2.15pm.

Sessions alternate each week between led activities and free drawing. After the free drawing sessions, participants are invited to stay for an extension session to review their progress and develop their work.

Every two weeks, the sessions will change location.

This allows for a return to old sketches yet still exploring new areas of the woodland.

To round everything off, participants can opt to show their work in a pop-up exhibition at Leigh Woods on Sunday, July 24.

There is the option to attend any or all of the sessions.

Though the drawing group is free, to join please book a place online by cling HERE or via the National Trust booking line on 0844 249 1895.

Tyntesfield is TV Dr Thorne star

A new Julian Fellows adaption of Anthony Trollope’s novel Dr Thorne, being broadcast this weekend, features Tyntesfield as its authentic back drop.

The three part ITV period drama starts at 9pm on Sunday, March 6, and stars Tom Hollander, Rebecca Front and Ian McShane.

Tyntesfield’s Victorian Gothic architecture features as the exterior of Boxhall Hill, the house of Sir Roger Scatcherd, played by Ian McShane.

Filming took place at the National Trust house, near Nailsea, during two days during September of last year, with most of the scenes being shot at the front door of the house.

Lead actor Tom Hollander said:  "It was a very lovely autumnal tour around some of the most beautiful houses in the country.

"That was a very special thing."

Tyntesfield also provided extras for the programme in the form of two of its volunteers Bob Humm and John Jackson, who will feature as Victorian gardeners.

They were joined at the property by horses during the filming, which was a first for the estate.

Assistant house manager Rachel Kavanagh said: "Every film or TV production we have at Tyntesfield brings new challenges to the team and this production was no exception.

"Having horses as part of the ‘cast’ was a new one for us, but it was fantastic to see them gallop through the autumn mist towards the house."

Tyntesfield began 2016 as a location for the BBC’s Sherlock special on New Year’s Day and was previously featured in an episode of Doctor Who, filmed in 2013.

Tyntesfield house manager Francesca Hollow said: "Our places are popular with film companies and seeing them on screen generates additional interest from visitors.

"We make sure the money from these productions stays with the place used – in this case it will go towards the costs of keeping the house and estate as an authentic gothic Victorian family home."

PHOTOS: Dr Thorne stars left Rebecca Front, Tom Hollander, Ian McShane

and Alison Brie and top Ian McShane and Tom Hollander © ITV

APPLE TREE:South Somerseset area ranger George Holmes planting tree

from the National Cider apple collection at Montacute House

PHOTO:  © National Trust/ Steve Haywood


National Trust puts cider apples at its core


An internationally important collection of cider apples, with almost 300 different varieties, has been given to the National Trust and will be planted in orchards at Montacute House, Barrington Court, Tyntesfield and Glastonbury in Somerset; Golden Cap in Dorset, Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire; Killerton in Devon and Brockhampton in Herefordshire.

Slack-ma-Girdle, Netherton Late Blower and Billy Down Pippin are just three of the apple varieties in the National Cider apple collection, which has been established during the past 25 years by collector and donor Henry May.

The gift will help to secure the collection’s future and help stop many of the rarer varieties becoming lost forever.

A process of propagation began last year to allow the trees to be moved from the Tidnor orchard in Herefordshire to the National Trust properties.

At least two trees of each variety not already in National Trust care have been propagated at conservation charity Plant Conservation Centre and where possible, are being planted in the county that the variety originated.

Tyntesfield, near Nailsea, will be home to 32 of the trees in a new orchard which was started in 2015 and will eventually be home to around 350 fruit trees and produce cider, apple juice and other products.

Tyntesfield ranger Darren Mait said: ‘The orchard is being planted in two sections - five acres of heritage, and six acres of cider/juice, set out in a traditional spacing framework.

"The new trees are going in the heritage orchard which will be home to many local Somerset and Bristol varieties, such as Summer Stibbert and Poor Man’s Profit, varieties which date back to the 1830s.

"Having part of the National Cider collection here will really enrich the Tyntesfield orchard."

National Trust David head of nature conservation David Bullock said: "To be given this collection is a fantastic privilege.

"The National Trust is committed to looking after and protecting traditional fruit orchards, which are not only a beautiful spectacle for visitors to enjoy, but are incredibly important for many species of insects, birds and plants.

"Orchards are part of our national heritage so it’s vital that this collection is protected for future generations to enjoy.

"Each variety will be planted in two locations to help future-proof them from diseases while ensuring that there are plenty of opportunities for our visitors to enjoy them too."

Orchards are important habitats for nature and species such as mistletoe, mistletoe moth, the mistle thrush, bullfinch and corky fruited water dropwort in the grassland call these special places home.

The trees are expected to begin bearing fruit in around seven years’ time, when it is hoped that many of the apples will be used to produce cider.

In 2007, traditional orchards were designated a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

The habitat has declined rapidly since the 1950s, with more than 90 per cent of our traditional orchards in England lost in 60 years.

People’s Trust For Endangered Species orchard biodiversity officer Steve Oram helped to arrange the gifting of the national collection of cider apples to the National Trust.

Steve said: "When I spoke to Henry May about his desire to pass on the collection, I knew that the National Trust would have the expertise and, importantly, land to look after this collection, protecting its future.

"Orchards are a mosaic habitat which contain elements of woodland, pasture, meadow grassland and are often bordered by hedgerows.

"This combination of habitats means that you have a unique wildlife haven supporting a vast range of species.

"But orchards are first and foremost about the fruit and how we use it, which is why it is critical that this vast diversity of varieties is not only preserved for future generations but put to use today.’

The National Trust looks after more than 100 orchards across its gardens and 250,000 hectares of countryside.

To see the new collection of cider apple trees, which will be planted over the next year, you can visit Killerton, Devon; Brockhampton, Herefordshire; Montacute, Somerset; Tyntesfield, North Somerset; Barrington Court, Somerset; Glastonbury, Somerset; Westbury Court Garden, Gloucestershire and Golden Cap, Dorset.

Supporters wishing to help the National Trust continue to look after its traditional fruit orchards can donate £20, which allows the conservation charity to purchase one heritage variety apple tree.

Click HERE for details of how to donate.

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 775 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.



National Trust rangers at Leigh Woods are reviving a traditional method for maintaining the woodland in their care by restarting the historic practice of ‘pollarding’.

The trees which are treated this winter will then be put back into a regular pollarding cycle to help ensure the continuation of this important habitat for future generations.

Pollarding is a traditional management technique of cutting a tree 2-3 metres above the ground, out of reach of livestock, which encourages the tree to produce new small branches, which can then be harvested for animal feed and firewood.

The constant regrowth stimulated by pollarding extends the lives of the trees so that they live for much longer, resulting in the older trees at Leigh Woods becoming large and impressive.

National Trust ranger Tor Stanfield said: "Leigh Woods is ancient woodland and wood pasture and the management over many past generations has meant that we have over 300 old pollarded trees.

"Pollarding stopped here around 150 years ago meaning we have old pollards but no young ones to take their place."

As these old pollards can live for hundreds of years they often have features such as hollow trunks, dead branches, loose bark and holes where water can collect. These features provide excellent homes for animals, plants and fungi, some of which are rare and protected species.

It is hoped that by reviving the ancient practice of pollarding the woodland ecosystem at Leigh Woods will be healthy and conserved for years to come.

For more information about the veteran trees and Leigh Woods click HERE.


TREE TIME: A pollarded oak and

small leaf lime at Leigh Woods

PHOTO: © National Trust

Sheep to help conservation at Tyntesfield

A flock of sheep have been introduced to the Tyntesfield estate, near Nailsea, to help with the property’s new orchard.

The 80-strong pack of Suffolk Cross’ are all pregnant ewes, and will reside on the National Trust estate until the end of February. 

They have been introduced to the orchard in order to encourage the growth of wildflowers in the area.

Tyntesfield ranger Darren Mait said: "We allow the grass to grow until the summer and then take a hay cut, this promotes the biodiversity by scattering the wildflower seeds.

"The sheep will help this process by grazing the regrowth, allowing the wildflowers room to grow and by trampling the scattered seeds into the ground, helping the germination process.’

The sheep belong to North Somerset farming familyCHJ Atwell and Sons, of Claverham Court, which has 850 ewes as well as 300 cattle.

Farmer George Atwell said: "It’s great to see our sheep back at Tyntesfield, my family grazed sheep here as far back as 1992, when Lord Wraxall was the estates owner."

Planting the Tyntesfield orchard began in 2015 and the aim is to plant 350 fruit trees during the next five years.

Currently more than100 trees have been sowed.

The aim is to eventually harvest a range of fruits, deliver workshops and produce cider, apple juice and other products.

This orchard will be split into two sections, five acres of heritage, and six acres of cider/juice, set out in a traditional spacing framework.

The heritage orchard will act as a gene bank forSomerset and Bristol fruit varieties, such as Summer Stibbert and Poor Man’s Profit, which date back to the 1830s. 

During February and March Bristol-based schools will be helping volunteers and staff at Tyntesfield to continue the planting process within the orchard.

This will form part of the cities One Tree Per Child project, which aims to give 36,000 primary school pupils the chance to plant at least one tree as part of a global initiative.

For more information click HERE.

A stone’s throw from Nailsea, Tyntesfield was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics, instead its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home.

At its heart Tyntesfield is a Victorian country house and estate, which serves as a backdrop to the story of four generations of one family; the Gibbs. 

Their achievements are celebrated through ornate Gothic carvings, flower filled terraces and an expansive estate set amongst the Somerset countryside. Their tale charts an accumulation of wealth from the Guano trade in South America, a transformation of a Georgian house into a Victorian Gothic masterpiece, and collection of more than  50,000 objects; both ordinary and extraordinary.

With each visit you will experience a new side of Tyntesfield; as we close one door and open another you will see the changing perspectives of this much-loved family estate.

The Tyntesfield estate is open every day except December 25.


PHOTOS: Top sheep grazing at Tyntesfield © National Trust Pete Hall

Below sheep grazing at Tyntesfield © National Trust Chris Watts

PHOTOS: Left Sherlock filming at Tyntesfield © Hartswood Films,

right Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch

as Sherlock Holmes © BBC-Hartswood Robert Viglasky 


Tyntesfield stars in Sherlock


Sherlock fans were treated to a Victorian special on new year's day featuring Tyntesfield, near Nailse, as its Gothic back drop.

The Abominable Bride saw the ever popular BBC drama and its stars transported back to the time of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original creation.

The one-off Victorian special saw Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman filmed in period costume and in the very authentic setting of Tyntesfield.

Filming took place in January 2015 with the National Trust property being closed for the entire month.

However this was not the glamourous experience staff expected when they were told that the stars of BBC’s Sherlock were coming to Tyntesfield.

Assistant house manager Rachel Kavanagh said: “I spent the first day of the shoot sitting on the roof with one of the lighting crew while a dead body was discovered on the floor below.

“It was also hard to keep it all secret from everyone.

"But I’m so proud of what we achieved, we worked really hard to make it a success and it was exciting to be involved in such a high profile show.”

Besides being the setting for Sir Eustace Carmichael’s house, the TV crew dressed Tyntesfield for other locations including rooms in Dr Watson’s London home.

They also brought in replacement furniture to avoid damage to the Tyntesfield collection.

Rachel added: “We had to move more than 1,000 items from the collection.

"But most of what they brought in looked the same at ours so I was pleased to see that the house is still very recognisable.”

With a collection of nearly 60,000 objects the task of filming at Tyntesfield was particularly challenging.

Sherlock location manager, Ben Mangham said: "A major film production in such a space could turn into a nightmare, but in the end the house looked amazing and it was the smoothest location of the entire episode."

Tyntesfield previously featured as a location for an episode of Doctor Who, filmed in 2013 and will appear in Dr Thorne, Julian Fellowes’ adaptation of the Anthony Trollope novel, due to be broadcast on ITV in March.

Tyntesfield house manager Francesca Hollow said:"Our places are popular with film companies and seeing them on screen generates additional interest from visitors.

"We make sure the money from these productions stays with the place used – in this case it will go towards the costs of keeping the house and estate as an authentic gothic Victorian family home." 

Tyntesfield will be hosting a Sherlock family mystery trail inside the house from Monday, January 4, as well as a more in-depth tour for those interested in the specific locations used in the filming.

There will be props, photos and scripts to discover from the program and an opportunity to perform scenes as filmed in the house.

For more information clIck HERE.

The melodrama itself played to mixed reviews as while the actors and set got praise the storyline was a muddle of Victorian and modern mayhem with murder, feminism and mastercriminal Moriarty all weaved into the plot.

Smashed Gothic windows, misty maze, the wife of Dr Watson and the housekeeper getting 'speaking parts', bright red lipstick sweared across the face of the nightmare bride, hooded secret society, waterfall liaison, brother's gluttony and grave-digging with little romance and nil sex - at this point we made a cup of tea and gave up but lots enjoyed!

The Guardian review says it was the best thing since sliced bread with 'it was an utterly dazzling display, with bravura performances from the actors - its-fast-fun-flashy-fantastic', the Mail commented 'Sherlock's New Year's Day special became so over-complicated and nonsensical it completely lost the plot' but the general consensus from local people on Facebook was sadly 'what a crock of s*** really disappointed!'. thinks the show was made for the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle connoisseur and not for the viewing public.

A very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield


A new Victorian Christmas experience will be taking place at Tyntesfield with the house filled with characters playing the part of members of the house from the Victorian period.

The National Trust has researched in detail the history of the Gibbs family, who built Tyntesfield, and blended the story with some fiction in the form of Sherlock Holmes.

The aim is to give visitors a unique and more playful perspective of a Victorian house at Christmas.

Starting on Saturday, November 28, and running until Sunday, January 3, the Christmas experience will let visitors experience the festive life of the Gibbs’ and their servants as they prepare for and enjoy Christmas.

It will give a glimpse into the private lives of the house with Mrs Gibbs ensuring her home is fit to receive guests, the servants busy decorating and the gentlemen of the house hiding away from the commotion.

Tyntesfield visitor experience manager Jon Ducker said; "The idea this year was to follow Christmas through the eyes of the Gibbs family who lived at Tyntesfield, watch them getting ready, see the house become more and more decorated and even meet members of the family.

"Not only will the house be decadently decorated from top to bottom in Victorian garb, but this will also be brought to life by the Gibb’s themselves, while visitors will be able to interact and learn about their life in a Victorian country house at Christmas.

"We will be opening the house at night this year, lighting the footpaths leading to the house, which will also be lit up from within, with all the curtains and shutters open, giving people the chance to peek in the windows and see the Christmas festivities as they arrive."

Evening visitors will also hear the sound of carols spilling from the chapel with a programme of seven different choirs performing throughout December and to watch as the family hold a grand waltz in the Drawing Room.  

The family will also be joined by Victorian super sleuth Sherlock Holmes for The Adventure Of The Tyntesfield Carbuncle. 

Visitors will be able join the famous detective in solving the mystery alongside the Gibbs family on Fridays and Saturdays, December 11-12 and 18-19, from 5-8pm.

This is inspired by the forthcoming BBC Sherlock Special, which was filmed at Tyntesfield and which will air on Friday, January 1.

‘The days of National Trust places being closed all winter are long gone,’ added Jon. ‘We are open throughout December with the house open every day except Christmas Day and decorated in a traditional Victorian style. And from January we will stay open seven days a week.’

For more details of all the Christmas events and activities at Tyntesfield click HERE.

A stone’s throw from Nailsea, Tyntesfield was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics, instead its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home.

At its heart Tyntesfield is a Victorian country house and estate, which serves as a backdrop to the story of four generations of one family; the Gibbs. 

Their achievements are celebrated through ornate Gothic carvings, flower filled terraces and an expansive estate set amongst the North Somerset countryside.

Their tale charts an accumulation of wealth from the Guano trade in South America, a transformation of a Georgian house into a Victorian Gothic masterpiece, and collection of more than 50,000 objects; both ordinary and extraordinary.

With each visit you will experience a new side of Tyntesfield; as we close one door and open another you will see the changing perspectives of this much-loved family estate.

The Tyntesfield estate is open every day except Christmas Day, December 25.

PHOTOS: © National Trust-Steve Haywood

 PHOTO: From left Allison

Stevens, room interpreter and

book Illustrator, retail assistant

Claire Soni and Margaret Flux,

author and room interpreter

© Corrina Buchanan


Tyntesfield book about Antony and the dragons


Two National Trust volunteers have created Tyntesfield’s first children’s book, after being inspired by their shared experiences at the property.

The Dragons of Tyntesfield tells the tale of Victorian owner Antony Gibbs and his discovery of two large eggs in the estate’s woodland.

Once hatched the dragons, alongside a young Antony, have many adventures, before the fire breathing pair leave for South Wales.

Both the author, Margaret Flux, and illustrator, Allison Stevens, volunteer as room interpreters at the Victorian Gothic house, and have drawn all their inspiration from this experience.

Former legal secretary Margaret said: "In 2008 I was in the Organ room at Tyntesfield waiting for the last of our visitors.

"I was quietly studying the wonderful carved oak bureau, with its carvings of mystical creatures, and this story came into my head, just as if it was being read out loud to me.

"I rushed home and wrote it all down."

The books illustrator Allison a designer of 25 years experience said ‘I was delighted when Margaret asked me to illustrate her story about Antony Gibbs and his dragons.

"It has been a real pleasure to sketch in the house and on the estate and to bring the spirit of Tyntesfield to the page."

The pair are extremely passionate about their volunteer roles and felt that the book was an opportunity for them to further support the charity’s cause.

Both decided to self-fund the project and have pledged that once the costs have been recouped, all profits will be donated to conservation work at the property.

Allison said ‘I’ve been volunteering at Tyntesfield for five years and love it.

"I have met so many interesting, talented, and likeminded people, who have become very good friends.

"We are both really excited to be contributing further to a place that has given us so much."

On Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6,  both volunteers will be reading and signing copies for visitors at the Cow Barn Foyer.

The Dragons of Tyntesfield is on sale now at  £7.99 in the National Trust shop.

Tyntesfield night run


A night run which gives the chance to get onto the ground of Tyntesfield after dark is being offered by the National Trust on Saturday, November 28.

The event, which offers catering and a clearly marked route, is open to runners of all ages and abilities with two lengths of course.

Tyntesfield near Nailsea is hosting its second annual Night Run as part of a series of trail running events held at National Trust sites across the country. The aim is to allow visitors to explore these special places after-hours and to promote fitness during the cold winter months.

There are two courses; a 2.7k for those less experienced and a 5.7k for those seeking more of a challenge. Entry tickets include on-site catering, well-marked reflective course signage, event marshals, timing and results service.

Sports development officer Mimi Rousell said: "Our Night Run is open to anyone, regardless of fitness level – it’s just a great way of getting out in the fresh air and a great chance to experience estate by night."

There are regular running opportunities at Tyntesfield, with a free 10km run every forth Sunday of the month called the Trust10.

The Night Run starts at 5pm, with registration from 4.15pm.

All participants must come with a head torch or hand held torch.

The course is over good tracks and trails but suitable running or walking footwear is strongly recommended.

Tickets for £15 per adult and £10 per child, they can be booked online by clicking HERE or calling 0844 249 1895.

Fungi foraging at Tyntesfield


A team of volunteer fungi experts has identified more than 1,000 different species of fungi living on the Tyntesfield estate near Nailsea.

Working as volunteers for the National Trust, fungi enthusiasts John and Doreen Bailey, have been recording specimens every month for more than a decade.

And as part of their work they have even identified a new fungus - Entoloma madidum - was spotted growing in a patch of rough grass at the edge of a lawn.

The work at Tyntesfield has provided invaluable information on the vast range of species and how the wildlife and fauna live in balance on the estate.

John said: "Tyntesfield is one of the best sites for fungi in the West of England.

"It benefits from having three distinct habitats; lawns, parkland and woodlands, each having its own special variety of fungi.

"Autumn is, of course, a good time of year to see fungi and, on a typical visit, we would expect to find some of the early Waxcaps, a colourful species which grow on the lawns, along with Puffballs, Brittlegills, Milkcaps and Bonnets."

National Trust nature conservation adviser Simon Ford said: "Tyntesfield is a great place to see fungi.

"Some of them only fruit every few years so the displays tend to vary from year to year.

"They can be absolutely beautiful with for instance waxcaps, ranging from white, pink, yellow to crimson.

"We have a mixture of grassland species in the parkland and lawns as well as woodland species in the undisturbed woodland which makes up part of the estate.

"It is an excellent site because its proximity to the Bristol Channel and also because the ground has not been enriched with fertilisers or chemicals which would have killed them off.

"The irony is that the Gibbs family who owned Tyntesfield made their money importing guano as fertiliser, but to have these spectacular displays, fertilisers cannot have been used at Tyntesfield for many decades, so perhaps the family didn’t use their own products.


PHOTOS: 1 A new species found at Tyntesfield by John and Doreen Bailey - Entoloma madidum © John Bailey 

2 Examining a Meadow Waxcap growing at Tyntesfield. Also called Cuphophyllus pratensis © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

3 A tiny Scarlet Waxcap (Hygrocybe coccinea ) growing the lawns at Tyntesfield © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

4 John Bailey looking closely at a Parrot Waxcap (Gliophorus psittacinus) © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

5 Very rare tiny fungus growing at Tyntesfield, the Olive Earthtonque (Microglossum olivaceum) © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

6 Doreen and John Bailey at Tyntesfield © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

PHOTO: half term activities at Leigh Woods for families and outdoor survival

skills plus the National Tursut apple pressing tour team ©National Trust


Half term adventures at Leigh Woods


As October half term approaches the team at National Trust Leigh Woods have devised a programme of family activities both in the woods and in the city. Leigh Woods - found just across the suspension bridge - is currently full of autumnal colour and muddy puddles, the perfect time to pick up the Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ challenge.

October is also a fantastic time of year for seasonal produce and for the third year running the National Trust Apple Pressing Tour is underway.

On Sunday, October 25, it will be at Love Food Festival at the Paintworks, Brislington.

Families are invited to press apples into juice themselves using National Trust equipment and expertise.

Apples of any variety can be used and it is important to bring a bottle along to take the juice home in.

It is free to visit the food festival and to take part in apple pressing.

The press will then move to At-Bristol science centre on Monday and Tuesday,October 30-31, where it will be used to press juice for visitors in the food exhibition.

The whole process from apple selection to juice pouring is hands on and interactive.

Back in the woods, for the adventurous, there will be a daylong workshop teaching families how to survive among the trees at Leigh Woods.

Taking place on Tuesday, October 26, an experienced instructor will guide participants through everything they need to know to survive a day in the wild.

Area ranger Tor Stanfield said: "These workshops are back by popular demand. We want to give more families the opportunity to explore and relish the beauty of the woods together, doing something a little bit different.

"Everyone really enjoys getting stuck in with these workshops; we teach fire lighting and enjoy cooking over the camp fire’.

On Wednesday, October 27, families can join a den building workshop, where together they learn from an expert what makes the perfect woodland dwelling before working together to create it for themselves.

The day long family survival workshop costs £12 for children and £14 for adults.

Family den building workshops cost £3.50 per person (children and adults).

Places are limited so advanced booking is strongly recommended.

Workshops run 10-11.30am, noon-1.30pm, 2-3.30pm.

To book which is essential click HERE or call 0844 249 1895.

The final half term activity at Trust Leigh Woods is a chance to also participate in the Bristol Family Arts Festival, which prides itself as being the only festival in the city l that is especially for families.

Arnolfini curator of learning and participation Ellie Jeffs said: "Families are a really important audience for Bristol’s arts and cultural organisations.

"The 2015 Bristol Family Arts Festival programme includes a huge variety of events, workshops and activities, providing lots of opportunities for families to try out new experiences and get creative together."

At Leigh Woods families can drop in any time between 10am-2pm for an art in the wild session.

Based out of the new roundhouse shelter participants will turn the woodland floor into and art gallery using natural materials found in the woodland and be able to tick off another thing from the 50 things list in doing so.

There is no need to book this activity which costs £2 per person, though people are encouraged to join the event on Facebook to allow organisers to plan resources by clicking HERE.

For more information about the events and Leigh Woods in general click HERE.

Leigh Woods is a beautiful and diverse broadleaf woodland on the plateau above the famous Avon Gorge, boasting superb views across the city to downland beyond.

The woods are a site of Special Scientific Interest, home to many native trees and flowering plants.

Designated pathways lead visitors through oak, small leaf lime and ash forest.

Springtime brings an abundance of bluebells and wood anemones, whilst the summer months offer relaxing, shady walks.

The red and golden hues of autumn, combined with an interesting array of fungi, are particularly beautiful.

As well as the walking trails, visitors can enjoy a mountain bike trail, a natural play area and orienteering trail.

There is also a programme of events, such as guided walks, den building workshops and outdoor theatre.

Entrance to Leigh Woods is free and the site is accessible all year round.

Tyntesfield clue in trailer


Sherlock fans, who have been treated to a new trailer for the upcoming Sherlock special, will have spotted glimpses of Tyntesfield, the National Trust Victorian gothic house near Nailsea throughout the trailer.

Although unable to confirm exactly what parts of the programme were filmed at Tyntesfield, the National Trust revealed that the programme makers did visit back in January.

Tyntesfield house and collections manager Francesca Hollow said: "We were closed for filming in January and, like everyone else, we were delighted to see the new trailer aired this week.

"There were scenes shot at Tyntesfield which can be seen throughout the new trailer, it was great to see Sherlock in an authentic Victorian setting.

"The trailer featured a sweeping look at the front the house, as well as shots of the library, the top floor corridors and a view from the front porch looking out towards the chapel.

‘We can’t say what parts of the programme were filmed here – or which members of the cast were here - but we’re looking forward to seeing this episode air as much as everybody else.’

It is not the first time that Tyntesfield has been used for high profile filming – an episode of Doctor Who was filmed there in 2013.

All the money from allowing film companies in goes towards the conservation costs of keeping Tyntesfield in good condition.

Francesca added: "National Trust places are popular with film companies and seeing them on screen generates additional interest from visitors.

"We make sure the money from these productions stays with the place used – in this case it will go towards the costs of keeping the house and estate as an authentic Gothic Victorian family home."

To read original story from January - right - scroll down the page.

'You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles,'

Sherlock Holmes quote from

The Bascombe Valley Mystery

New carpet is just the fit


Traditional rules of where to walk in historic houses are being set aside in one room in Tyntesfield near Nailsea where visitors will be actually encouraged to walk on the new carpet.

Instead of a ‘do not touch’ policy, the National Trust at Tyntesfield has been aiming to open up as many areas of the house as possible, while protecting them from the wear and tear that visitors can bring.

A new replica carpet will be installed into the house, so that its ever increasing footfall can enjoy the house as it once was and see the room in the way it was intended.

The original carpet was commissioned by Victorian owner William Gibbs and is a machine made English carpet with the monogram WG as part of its design. It was removed from the Ante Room soon after the National Trust acquired the property in 2002 in order to save it from wear and damage. As part of Tyntesfield’s ongoing conservation work, a new £20,000 replica was commissioned to restore the room to its former Victorian glory. 

“We have worked hard to identify the smallest of detail to ensure an accurate match to the beautiful original carpet.  It has proved to be a very challenging 9 month process, due to the variegated fading of the original.” said Ruth Moppett, Collections Officer at Tyntesfield. 

During this thorough examination it was clear that the original was not made to measure and had been cut and folded around the fireplace. The replica has been designed along the exact same lines by historic carpet consultants, Linney Cooper, and will be cut to fit around the hearth as part of the fitting process in the Ante Room.

The new version, although accurate in design, is a wool Axminster carpet using a Kardax weave and will therefore withstand the many feet from visitors who are keen to see Tyntesfield and discover how the Gothic Victorian house was once lived in by the Gibbs family. 

Karen Monkman, Tyntesfield House Steward said, ‘We’re really looking forward to restoring the Ante Room to how William Gibbs intended it to look, and just in time for the fabulous Christmas we have planned in the house this year.’

For more information click HERE.

Photos: Tyntesfield’s conservation team curator Stephen Ponder checking samples against the original carpet to ensure it is a perfect match

©National Trust

Vibrant Tyntesfield autumn


Tyntesfield near Nailsea is set to play host to ghosts, a murder, the fuzz and some inquisitive sheep this October.

For the first time the National Trust estate will provide the setting for two nights of outdoor cinema on its lawn. 

As part of The Luna Cinema’s 2015 programme, audiences can see Hot Fuzz (2007) on Friday, October 2, and Shaun the Sheep: The Movie (2015) on Saturday, October 3.

Both films have strong local connections and will also be preceded by specially selected archive film from the BFI and regional and national archives of the UK.

The October half term will see Tyntesfield embrace its Victorian Gothic roots with a week of ghosts, mystery and murder in store.

From Friday to Saturday, October 23-31, there will be a week of Halloween events including spine chilling torchlight storytelling prowls, a murder mystery in the big house and ghost walks which take visitors into the crypt.

They will also be making good use of their extremely productive kitchen garden by hosting workshops in pumpkin carving and lantern making.

Tyntesfield also has a weekend of local food and craft and a Ceilidh during October.

The Made in North Somerset festival showcase and market is on Saturday and Sunday, October 3-4.

This large market of local food producers and handmade crafts will also feature storytelling and a chance for visitors to press their own freshly harvested apples. On Friday, October 16, there will be an autumnal hoedown in Tyntesfield’s Cowbarn.

The night will be hosted by a traditional Ceilidh caller, and visitors can enjoy locally brewed Somerset cider and a hearty barbeque.

Tyntesfield events officer Hugh Harris said: “We’re really passionate about our local area and I’m really happy to be showcasing everything from West Country film and food to traditional dance and ghost stories.”
For tickets and more information on any of these events call 0844 249 1895 or click HERE.

PHOTO: Tyntesfield © National Trust

September sounds at Tyntesfield near Nailsea


The Tyntesfield estate, near Bristol, will play host to a plethora of sights and sounds this September, with a programme of classical music, outdoor theatre and a workshop for budding singers.

On Saturday, September 19 the National Trust estate will play host to the Florentine Arts Ensemble.

The evening entitled Music Of An English Pastoral Scene, will guide the audience through some of Tyntesfield’s impressive collection of pastoral works, accompanied by the music of such English composers as Delius and Vaughan Williams.

The ensemble have performed extensively throughout the UK in a variety of historic venues from the National Gallery to the Fitzwilliam Museum, creating an innovative experience which aims to enlighten, inform and inspire. 

Set within Tyntesfield’s opulent Great Hall, the ensemble will discuss the pastoral connection to various pieces of art in the house’s collection, alongside the role Victorian owner, Antony Gibbs, played as an art collector. 

Doors will open at 7pm offering visitors a rare opportunity to enjoy the house by night.

A busy season of outdoor theatre at Tyntesfield comes to a close with The Secret Garden on Saturday, September 5.

The Chapterhouse Theatre Company has adapted the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic tale and promises an evening of music, song and an array of puppet creatures.

Theatre was hugely popular at Tyntesfield during the Victorian era, with the Gibbs family regularly holding their own productions to entertain family and friends. These amateur plays took place across the estate as well as in the house itself.

This production of The Secret Garden will be staged on the Croquet Lawn with Tyntesfield’s Gothic house playing the role of a dramatic background.

For tickets and more information call 0844 249 1895 or click HERE.

PHOTO: Theatre in the grounds of Tyntesfield © National Trust

Unpaid jobs for willing volunteers at Tyntesfield


More and more people are visiting Tyntesfield near Nailsea.

Due to this large increase the National Trust is looking for new volunteers at the Victorian gothic estate.

The charity is inviting those interested to two drop-in days on Sunday and Thursday, September 6 and 10.

Both days will give people the opportunity to shadow existing volunteers in a number of roles.

There will also be staff on hand to answer questions and to explain what opportunities are currently available.

Since the National Trust acquired the mansion house and its 530 acre grounds, on the outskirts of Bristol, in 2002, volunteers have been key to driving forward the development and growth of the estate.

Currently volunteers are involved in planning and delivering projects which include revitalising the walks on offer in the wider estate, bringing the history of the house to life through family activities, and ambitious Christmas plans to wow visitors.

Volunteer programme officer Corrina Buchanan said: ‘Without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to open our doors to as many people, understand as much as we do about the collection or have such a fantastic and well maintained garden and countryside.

‘Existing volunteers have found that volunteering has enabled them to meet like-minded people, socialise in a beautiful setting, learn new skills and get some exercise.

"One estate interpreter discovered he was walking five miles a day while volunteering in the gardens.2

Volunteer Veronica Vaughan-Williams said: ‘It’s a breath-taking place to be, I never fail to be overwhelmed by the wonder of it all and at how lucky I am to have the opportunity to volunteer at such an amazing place."

The Tyntesfield volunteering team is one of the largest in the National Trust and includes more than 50 different role opportunities.

The drop-in days will take place between 11am-5pm.

For more information email Corrina at or cal 01275 461967.

Coming soon to outdoor venue very near Nailsea


Tyntesfield is one of five National Trust outdoor locations chosen for a late summer showing of feature films together with some old archived footage.

The specially selected old film comes from the BFI and regional and national archives of the UK.

The Luna Cinema’s 2015 programme is bringing open-air cinema to Tyntesfield near Nailsea as well as Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Surrey.

Starting in late August, the National Trust screen season will offer an atmospheric viewing experience, tying-in films to the locations.

Tyntesfileld audiences can watch Hot Fuzz (2007) and Shaun the Sheep: The Movie (2015) – both films with strong local connections - on Friday and Saturday, October 2-3.

Hot Fuzz is at 7.30pm on Friday with admission from 6.30pm.

Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action comedy satirical film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost.

The three and the film's producer Nira Park had previously worked together on the television series Spaced and the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead.

The film follows two police officers attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths in an English village where people speak with a Bristolian accent.

More than a hundred action films were used as inspiration for developing the script.

Filming took place during 11 weeks in early 2006, and featured an extensive cast along with various uncredited cameos.

Visual effects were developed by 10 artists to expand on or add explosions, gore, and gunfire scenes.

A co-production of the United Kingdom and France, Hot Fuzz was released in February 2007 in the United Kingdom.

The film received wide acclaim, with critics praising the film's humour, satire, and the chemistry between Pegg and Frost.

And according to Wikipedia the film grossed more than $80 million at the box office..

The film is the second in Wright and Pegg's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and was preceded by 2004s Shaun of the Dead and followed by 2013s The World's End, each of them featuring a different flavour of Cornettoice cream.

Shaun the Sheep shows on the Saturday at 7.15pm with admission from 6:30pm.

From Aardman, the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep The Movie has inspired the city charity trail.

Shaun the Sheep is about the hilarious adventures in the Big City as they search for the missing Farmer.

Other films include Finding Neverland (2004) on Box Hill, where J.M. Barrie himself used to sit for inspiration, while fans of period drama can enjoy Shakespeare in Love (1998) in the surroundings of Hardwick Hall, one of the greatest Elizabethan houses, or Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) in the atmospheric ruins of Fountains Abbey.

The feature films will all be preceded by BFI-curated newly digitised archive footage, specific to each regional location.

Short compilations of film clips, dating back as far as the early 1900s, bring local history and culture to life through film, giving a tantalising glimpse into a bygone era.

These previously unseen films are part of Britain On Film, an exciting major new BFI project that reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the UK’s key film and TV archives and available for free on BFI Player.

The archive film clips that will be shown at Tyntesfield are three films from the BFI National Archive offer contrasting snapshots of the wider Bristol area in the first half of the 20th century, starting with a spectacular Edwardian journey down the Avon gorge, filmed in 1902 and preserved in the Mitchell & Kenyon collection.

Views include the estuary, Portishead docks and the entrance to the Clifton Rocks Railway.

Jump forward to WWII and an ambitious amateur colour film vividly captures the devastation wreaked on Bristol by the bombing raids of 1940-41.

Finally, explore mid-century Bristol in a city council-funded documentary on how a thousand years of history helped the West Country capital emerge from the blitz as a modern city of art and industry.

Made for the 1951 Festival of Britain it was, unusually for the time, directed by a woman - Mary Francis. 

To book tickets and for more information click HERE.

August at Tyntesfield



Tyntesfield has a packed line up of live events this August from a music festival, buried treasure and a revolution set to transform the National Trust estate.

Tyntesfield’s mini music festival, Live From The Lawn, returns for its second year with headliners, punk legends The Stranglers and contemporary folk artist Seth Lakeman.

The Stranglers, who first rose to fame in the 1970s UK punk explosion, will be playing new material alongside classics such as Golden Brown on Friday, August 14 and Seth Lakeman, who won awards at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2014, will be performing tracks from his new album Word Of Mouth’ on Saturday, August 15.

Daytime on Saturday and Sunday, August 15-16 August sees Live On The Lawn showcase more than 20 upcoming artists from Bristol and further afield.

There is a wide range of music planned with everything from samba and ukulele to Indie rock and brass.

Before the music begins Tyntesfield have a week of shivering timbers planned as the Victorian estate embraces its inner pirate. Until Sunday, August 9, the National Trust estate will host a pirate week, with a treasure trails, a Captain Barnacle pirate puppet show, and pirate schools.

All budding Jack Sparrows are encouraged to come in fancy dress.

The live entertainment continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 11-12 with two performances of the children’s classic The Reluctant Dragon.

Outdoor theatre goers will be told the tale of a friendship between a young boy and a tea-drinking, poetry-loving dragon, performed in Tyntesfield’s Kitchen Garden.

On the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, August 22 -23 Tyntesfield will commemorate World War 1 and the 100th anniversary of the death of former owner Antony Gibbs’ son, Eustace Lyle, who died fighting near Ypres.

There will be weaponry and uniform displays from the Tommies British Army encampment on the lawn, as well has cavalry displays in front of the house.

There will also be a talk on war time photography by Alex Burnham and a 1917 Sopwith Pup bi-plane being exhibited on site with adjoining ‘Officer’s Mess’ exhibition.

August’s events come to a close on the bank holiday weekend, August 29-31 when visitors to Tyntesfield will be greeted with a revolution.

Living history groups will be recreating the sights and sounds of soldiers serving under King George III during the great struggle for power in America.

This will bring to life one of Tyntesfield’s lesser known portraits of decorated British military engineer Sir Thomas Hyde Page (1746-1821), by James Northcote, and will celebrate 240 years since the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Each day will culminate in a grand skirmish, which pits the forces of His Majesty against the American rebels.

Events officer Hugh Harris said: "This is our most ambitious month of events to date, with everything from pirate’s treasure and punk legends to samba and revolution.

"We’re really excited to have such a variety of activities here at Tyntesfield."

The Stranglers perform on Friday, August 14 with tickets £27 per person.

Seth Lakeman plays on Saturday, August 15, tickets £25 per person.

Normal admission applies to all other events during August.
For tickets and more information:  0844 249 1895 or click HERE.

Bats come home to roost at Tyntesfield


The Lesser Horseshoe bat population at the Tyntesfield estate, near Nailsea, has more than doubled thanks to the conservation work of National Trust volunteers and staff.

The number of bats recorded within the Victorian outbuildings has increased from 90 in 2014 to 194 this year, which is the largest population ever recorded at Tyntesfield since its  re-roofing and major building works.

The annual count was undertaken at the site of a Lesser Horseshoe maternity roost to the rear of the Gothic mansion house and was essential in assessing the impact of the conservation work carried out the National Trust.

During the past few years a team of bat loving volunteers have been busy maintaining the habitat around the roost’s exit points, ensuring that the woodland and shrub cover is suitable for bats to forage and feel safe.

The team have also cleared the access holes, so that these agile creatures can fly safely into their home.

Ranger Darren Mait said: "We’re really happy to see the population grow so extensively, it’s great to see all the hard work of our volunteers have a huge positive impact on the ecosystem here at Tyntesfield."

A licensed ecologist has also installed a device known as an Anabat within known roost spaces.

This will monitor the ultrasonic echolocation calls of the bats in order to identify the number of species that currently reside at Tyntesfield.

The results from this device are yet to be harvested, but the team did manage to identify four different species during the count:

  • the Greater Horseshoe;

  • Serotine;

  • Pipistrelle, and

  • Brown Long-Eared bats.

Tyntesfield volunteer Tim Jeal said: ‘It’s by no means an easy task counting the bats, especially on a site that has recorded 12 of the 18 UK bat species.

"We have to cover all the exit points, so we split into pairs, one counting out, and the other counting any that decide to re-enter.’

For those interested in helping with the next set of bat surveys contact Darren Mait via email at

He will also be hosting a bat walk on Wednesday, August 26, from 9-10.30pm.

For more information and booking call 0844 249 1895 or go online by clicking HERE.

PHOTO: Brown Long-eared bat at Tyntesfield © National Trust

Rare aircraft drops in at Tyntesfield estate 


An original First World War night fighter aircraft – a Sopwith Pup B1807- is due to set up camp in the grounds of Tyntesfield, near Bristol, this summer. 
From Tuesday to Friday, August 18-28, the aircraft, the only original Sopwith Pup in existence which served with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), will be stationed at the National Trust estate as part of its World War I commemorations.
Pups were designed and constructed by the Sopwith Aviation Company with assistance from many contractors such as Standard Motor Company and Whitehead Aircraft Company. 
Many went into service with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) over the Western Front in the World War I and were still active by 1918.
More than 1,770 Pups were built, of which 850 were produced by the Standard Motor Company. 
The Pup exhibited at Tyntesfield, which carries the RFC serial number B1807, is from the 1917 batch of 150. 
This Pup was put on the Civil Register as G-EAVX in November 1920.
This last surviving Pup has an extremely colourful past, first serving with 112 Home Defence Squadron in Kent on patrols against German Gotha seaplanes before being registered in 1919 to Wing Commander ARM Rickards, from Fairford, Gloucestershire; a legendary aviator who later carried out aerial surveys in the Middle East. 
However in 1921 civilian aviator Dring Lester Forestier-Walker crashed the plane at the Aerial Derby at Hendon.
Forestier-Walker was lucky to escape unhurt and the Pup was put into storage at the Grahame-White Hangers at Hendon for two years, and was then moved to an estate in Dorset where she lay untouched for nearly 50 years, until discovered by lifelong aviation enthusiast Kelvyne Baker in 1972.
Mr Baker said: "I found her remains in a barn on a Dorset estate which was being sold and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
"Having piloted aircraft all my life I knew how important the Pup was to our local history, so I made it my mission to restore her."
The Pup was in good condition and complete as a fuselage only. 
It had also retained its original fittings and illuminated night-flying instruments, which still work. Kelvyne and friends have been working on the restoration ever since.  
The plane forms part of wider World War I  commemorations on the weekend of August 22-23 at Tyntesfield. 
2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of former owner Antony Gibbs’ son, Eustace Lyle, who died whilst fighting near Ypres. 
In remembrance of Eustace there will be weaponry and uniform displays from the Tommies British Army encampment on the lawn, as well has cavalry displays in front of the house. 
Mr Baker added: "I’m thrilled that the Pup will be exhibited at Tyntesfield, as my real passion is for as many people to see and enjoy this important part of our local history as possible."
He spent upwards of £60,000 on the project so far and hopes soon to receive further investment, so he can realise the ultimate dream of seeing this one-of-a-kind in the air once again.

Please note when going to see the Sopwith Pup at Tyntesfield normal admission apply.

For more information click HERE.


PHOTOS: The black and white image top

is of the deck landing is from 7 August 1917. 

Images of the restored Sopwith Pup © Kelvyne Baker.