The National Trust Asks Community To Help Shape Future Of North East Farmland
Released on: June 18, 2011, 2:58 am
The National Trust is asking the local community surrounding
its Gibside Estate in Tyne & Wear to help decide the future of 150
acres of farmland it has purchased adjoining the 600 acre property.
The charity has invested over half a million pounds to save the pasture and arable
land from open cast mining.
The acquisition came on the back of a ground swell of opposition to the mining
proposal in the local community where a mine would have been visible for miles
around, created noise pollution, vibrations from explosions and high levels of dust.
A mine would also have unpredictable impacts on wildlife, the water table and
drainage systems downhill in the historic Gibside landscape park.
Following hard on the heels of the launch of the charity's mass on-line public
experiment in farming, MyFarm - where 10,000 people will help make all the decisions
on a working 1,200 acre organic farm at Wimpole near Cambridge - the Trust, in a
similar vein, wants local people to help it make choices about the land around
A community supported agriculture* scheme is already being set up on eight acres of
the land after unprecedented interest from local residents. Other suggestions
include new walking routes, a farm visitor attraction
and various eco projects.
All ideas will be debated as the Trust enters a consultation process with the local
community to see how the farm can best serve everyone's needs. An online survey at
offers the chance to contribute ideas. There will also be consultation events for
Gibside's 120,000 visitors, schools and community groups.
Mick Wilkes, property manager at Gibside said: "Acquiring this farmland enables us to safeguard the future beauty and tranquillity of this special corner of
the Derwent Valley.
The shadow of centuries of heavy industry and pollution hangs over the area and many
local people don't want to return to that. More than this, we're creating an
opportunity to do some exciting projects involving people on our doorstep.
"It's really important to us to have the chance to talk to local people to find
out what their hopes and aspirations are, and to work out what we can achieve by
working collaboratively with the community."
The National Trust's acquisition has been supported by local Member of Parliament
Dave Anderson. He said: "This is great news and a triumph for the huge numbers of
local people who stood firm in opposing the plan to devastate this precious piece of
land. Well done to all the good folk at Gibside for their vision and commitment to
our shared future."
- ends -
Notes to editors:
* Gibside has already been approached by local residents about the possibility of
forming a CSA at Gibside and they have been offered about eight acres of the newly
acquired farmland to test the idea.
About The National Trust:
The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation charities in
Europe. The Trust is involved in the whole food chain, with 200,000 hectares of
food producing land, over 150 restaurants and tearooms, and historic kitchen
gardens, orchards and mills. The charity has community growing spaces - from
allotments to kitchen gardens - at over 50 locations around the country and is
increasing these annually. These spaces inspire the Trust's 3.8 million members,
61,000 volunteers and visitors to think and learn about food. The National Trust is
creating 1,000 new allotment plots on its land in the next three years to give local
communities the space to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
The National Trust MyFarm project also has its own website, which includes more
information on how people can visit MyFarm.
0844 800 4955
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