Visit the National Trust during winter

PUBLISHED: 11:08 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:08 20 February 2020

Scotney Castle has a 14th century moated castle, a Victorian mansion and a romantic garden (photo: National Trust Images/John Miller)

Scotney Castle has a 14th century moated castle, a Victorian mansion and a romantic garden (photo: National Trust Images/John Miller)

©National Trust Images/John Miller

Celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the National Trust with one of these inspiring outings

Indulge your senses

Exploring National Trust countryside walks will indulge all your senses. Admire the dramatic contrasts of skeletal trees set against a surreal backdrop of frost or snow-covered landscapes.

Feel the sharp breeze against your face as you breathe in the crisp air during a rigorous winter walk. Smell the damp earth after a shower of rain and watch the sunset in the late afternoon, casting strange shadows as it descends below the horizon.

Brush against evergreen bushes, listen to the quiet sounds of the peaceful winter countryside before rounding off your walk with a warming cuppa at a welcoming National Trust café.

Show your romantic side

February is traditionally the month for lovers to show each other how much they care. And with 2020 being a Leap Year, it's the girls' turn to do the proposing.

Couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic spots to spend a private moment together at the National Trust, from quiet walks and secluded benches looking out over the North Downs Way that are perfect for 'popping the question' to the exquisite gardens at Sissinghurst Castle and Chartwell. Or become engrossed in history at Knole and discover the birthplace of novelist Vita Sackville West. As well as through her writing, Vita showed her romantic side in her beautiful garden designs for Sissinghurst.

Wintry view over the site of Weardale Manor at Toys Hill (photo: National Trust Images/Rachel Warren)Wintry view over the site of Weardale Manor at Toys Hill (photo: National Trust Images/Rachel Warren)

Explore a centenary trail

Toys Hill, One Tree Hill and the surrounding areas in the North Kent countryside are very special to the National Trust, as they were part of its first forays into conservation and protecting the countryside.

One Tree Hill was saved for the nation more than a century ago in 1911, when it was purchased by the National Trust using funds gifted for the purpose by Dr and Mrs Jamieson Hurry.

Nearby Toys Hill was the place that inspired National Trust founder Octavia Hill to form the organisation and so begin its vital conservation work. Octavia lived close by in Crockham and is buried in Crockham church.

2020 is the 125th anniversary of the founding of The National Trust in 1895, so why not mark the occasion by following one of the self-guided trails set up by rangers around the area?

You can download maps for trails around Toys Hill, including Octavia Hill's commemorative seat, and follow on a self-guided winter hike. Choose the east or west trail to see beautiful views that recent rotational coppicing work has opened up, showing what they might have looked like in Octavia's time.

Coppicing has also helped rejuvenate the heathland habitats for local wildlife, so see how many different birds, animals, insects and plants you can spot.

The centenary trail maps are available to download: Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - east and west

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