The National Trust Asks Community to Help Shape Future of North East Farmland

By National Trust, PRNE
Thursday, June 16, 2011

SWINDON, England, June 17, 2011 -

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
Gibside Estate.

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 href="">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 href="">
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

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.”

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

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 href="">visit

PR Contact:
Jeannette Heard
Press Officer
National Trust
Kemble Drive


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