Question - Statistics are interesting.....aren't they ?
Answer - Yes, when they relate to the National Trust in North Devon, whose local manager Rob Joules came to give Coastwise members an insider's view of the Trust. As an example, what are the significance of 22271, 800 and 101 ? These are respectively the number of hours worked by volunteers in the area, the numbers of acres of land managed, and the footpath mileage on that land.
Rob was talking to a very receptive audience, talking entertainingly about a lot more than numbers, and outlined the NT's strategy for the years ahead. The NT Vision is "Looking after special places, forever, for everyone", and 2015 saw a major strategy review coinciding with 50 years of the Neptune Coastal Campaign, which started with the acquisition of Woody Bay in 1965.
The Trust principles for land acquisition are; rich in wildlife, being enjoyed and accessible, beautiful, rich in culture and productive where appropriate. A long-term target is to work with other landowners to link up well-managed land and produce a continuous corridor for wildlife round the coast.
The Trust has published its 21st century strategy with the principles of engaging support, improving conservation and developing resources and skills. This has been generally well-received, although there has been some criticism on areas such as staff and visitors dressing in period clothes to recreate the atmosphere of a property. Understandably, the NT's counter is that this is extremely popular with e public, and meets the "engaging support" objective.
Funding is received from membership, grants, sales from the two shops and Watersmeet catering, and eight cottages which are let to holidaymakers.
The Trust's projects for 2015 and 2016 include a seascape assessment, West Exmoor Rhododendron clearance, reopening the Rockham beach access, and supporting the area's part of the English Coast Path National Trail.