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No.4 December 2003

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Newsletter 3 (2002)
Newsletter 2 (2001)
Newsletter 1 (2000)

Another Record Breaking Year
In another Record Breaking Year, blessed with superb weather, Lyveden has welcomed over 15,000 visitors Chart showing visitor numbers 1995 - 2003 throughout 2003. This is more than a six fold increase over the past eight years. Last winter BBC viewers enjoyed the new series Hidden Gardens, featuring Lyveden and our restoration project. Coupled with the excellent weather for visiting outdoor attractions, this publicity has really helped to place Lyveden firmly on the tourism map. For many years, possibly even since the Trust acquired Lyveden back in 1922, the property has incurred an annual deficit where the running costs always amount to more than the income the property manages to generate. This year that has changed and we are delighted to report a small operating surplus. This is remarkable considering Lyveden was acquired with no endowment to support its work, and four out of five of all Trust properties actually operate at a loss. Our challenge is now the carefully control our costs and try and maintain our sources of income.

Five years ago, we received very little income from National Trust Enterprises. But, new initiatives have generated over £6000 this year and events have contributed a further £2,500.

An Elizabethan Theme
Marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Lyveden provided the ideal venue Traditional willow making for an Elizabethan Day in June. A great mix of crafts and entertainment interpreted the period to over a thousand visitors who supported the event, and consumed more than five hundred burgers and hotdogs in the day! Wood turning Unfortunately, a torrential storm ended the day with a bang, but hopefully not before visitors, both young and old, had enjoyed a fascinating insight into the life and time of the great Elizabethan age.

Visit by Chairman & Director General
Our new Chairman, Sir William Proby and National Trust Director- General Fiona Reynolds, enjoyed an informal visit to Lyveden in June. This was Fiona’s first visit to Lyveden on the eve of our Elizabethan Day, providing a great opportunity to demonstrate how we are inspiring support for our properties through creative interpretation. Following on from the visit last year of our new Trust President, HRH Prince of Wales, our work at Lyveden has recently received support from all the highest levels!

Lyveden has often struggled to recruit significant numbers of new National Trust members, but following new training for our volunteers we are delighted to see membership recruitment surge to over 100 in six months – a fourfold increase in last year! And we are recruiting more over the winter period by promoting gift membership as the ideal Christmas present when we appear at the local Farmer’s Market.

Growing Support
Our thanks go to all the volunteers that have helped at Lyveden this year. From local school children to our regular volunteers greeting visitors at the property, all have contributed fantastic support and commitment.
Barclaycard asked if they could help at Lyveden, so in July a team from the company undertook a day of conservation work. In return they generously gave Lyveden a donation of £500!
We are also extremely grateful for the continued support of our local National Trust Association. Earlier in the year they received a legacy from the estate of Miss Mabel Cotton, one of their valued members. The Association chose to donate the proceeds to Lyveden to help support or future work, particularly in improving visitor facilities.

Managing our Countryside
Over one hundred trees were planted in our Elizabethan orchard last winter with the remaining seventy old fruit varieties due to be planted this winter. The incredibly dry weather has required regular watering of the orchard trees, and summer conditions may delay the supply of the remaining trees from the nursery. We would like to thank everybody who has donated towards this project.
During this winter we will be planting over 200 metres of new hedgerow as well as nearly 300 native trees. This work forms part of our restoration of the wider landscape which surrounds Lyveden. Work which was highlighted in the Department of the Environment’s Countryside Stewardship newsletter earlier this year.

Refreshing Interpretation
Over the winter we will be renewing our interpretation in the visitor room, focusing on the ongoing restoration project at Lyveden. New self standing information boards in the New Bield will further develop the visitor’s understanding of the property.
Our largest interpretation project is our new, full colour guidebook, which is currently at its draft stage, but planned for publication by February in time for the new season. When the current guidebook was written there was no garden at Lyveden for the public to discover and very little research had been undertaken. The new guide will contain superb illustrations, photographs and text allowing visitors to learn much more about Lyveden’s fascinating past and exciting future.

August saw the first major outdoor production staged at Lyveden. Mad Dog’s and Englishman ended their UK tour of Henry V with a performance against the backdrop of the New Bield. A perfect setting and a fantastic audience, but unfortunately we were again caught out by the weather. Men in suits of armour waving swords on the top of a hill are not a good combination when a thunder storm is approaching! Sadly we had to end the play before the final scene, but hopefully the understanding audience will be back for more in June.

Improved Access
An opportunity arose when Leicestershire Country Council were resurfacing the nearby highway to finally provide a greatly improved track surface leading to the property.
While we permit less able visitors to park at the top of the hill we still encourage our visitors to approach the property on foot. We are more than aware of the limited roadside parking and the congestion this can cause at busy times. We are working hard to provide a solution for better parking, yet preserving the historic setting of Lyveden and protecting the underlying archaeology of this most special site.

2004 Diary Dates
Please check times and dates of events by contacting the property on 01832 205358 or by visiting our website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyveden

10/11 April. Easter Trail Weekend. 11am – 4pm.

15/16 May. Falconry Weekend. 11am – 4pm. Try your hand at this majestic Elizabethan pursuit. Elizabethan music

30 May. Elizabethan Pastimes 11am - 4.30pm. Find out about Elizabethan gardening, try woodturning on a pole lathe and traditional willow making.

5/6 June. Elizabethan Music 11am – 4.30pm. The superb and talented duo Hautbois will perform and teach the musical instruments of the late Tudor period

26 June. New Bield Challenge Back by popular demand. Book your team in early for the daytime Challenge, or just enjoy the live music and hog roast in the evening. Evening tickets £10.

27 June. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Mad Dogs and Englishmen are back with this superb comedy drama. Advance tickets £7.50.

17/18 July 11-5pm. The Tudor Travellers. Fantastic demonstration of the crafts of the Elizabethan age.

14/15 August 11-5pm. The Elizabethan Peddler and Cook. A favourite at the Elizabethan Day, Jack Greene demonstrates his alchemy and Jenny Templeton provides period cookery demonstrations.

29 August. Deanery Service. Songs of Praise in the beautiful open air setting of Lyveden.

31 October 2 - 7pm. Halloween and the Elizabethan Surgeon. Not for the faint hearted!

No.3 December 2002

Skip to:
Newsletter 4 (2003)
Newsletter 2 (2001)
Newsletter 1 (2000)

A Record Breaking Year
Although the National Trust year does not officially end until 28 February, the past visitor season has already broken all previous records. While some properties are suffering a downturn in numbers, at Lyveden visitor numbers increased by 28 per cent breaking the 10,000 barrier last October. Membership recruitment is also up on any previous year, as well as shop sales and event income. All in all it has been an excellent year, only made possible by the tremendous support of our team of volunteers who have welcomed and inspired a majority of the 10,000 or so visitors.

Royal Support
Adding to the years success was a summer visit by HRH the Prince of Wales, Vice President of the National Trust. It was a personal honour to escort the Prince through the gardens and a tour of the New Bield. Royal visit to Lyveden New Bield Combining architecture, history, gardening and, conservation Lyveden addresses many of the Prince's personal interests. In a letter of thanks from the Palace, his Assistant Private Secretary wrote 'The Prince of Wales has not stopped telling people since about what a wonderful place Lyveden is!'

There is nothing better than a Royal visit to excite the press, and excellent local coverage helped add a certain air of Royal approval to our recent work at Lyveden, as well as informing a wider audience of our history on their doorsteps.

Hidden Garden
The long awaited series has finally reached our screens, and I hope that viewers enjoyed the unique footage of Lyveden - from the water, treetops and the sky! A superb book to accompany the series is available from Lyveden, containing many beautiful photographs and excellent text by Penny David author of the series on Aberglansney.

The BBC series and accompanying newspaper and magazine articles will contribute enormously to next year being as successful as this. Presenter of the series Chris Beardshaw commented in an article in the Daily Mail, that Lyveden 'is one of the few gardens I have been to that was captivating from the moment I set eyes on it'. With such growing support for our work at Lyveden, I believe the future is very exciting.

Discovering the Past
Our future plans are now contained within the Property Management Plan, which covers the period until 2007. They follow the principal objectives set out nationally and regionally within the Trust. While work will continue to conserve and restore the Elizabethan gardens, we will also look at new and innovative ways of Inspiring Support, such as better interpretation, more events and developing opportunities for schools.

We will seek ways of Improving our Conservation and Environmental Qualities by improving our management and conservation plans. They will identify our reasons for preserving Lyveden as well as opportunities to develop our strengths and address ways of reducing risks and internal and external threats.

We need to Manage Our Affairs Effectively and Efficiently, which means we will look for new and innovative ways of raising income, through new enterprises, conservation schemes, events, weddings and sponsorship.

The plan sets out our vision and clearly identifies the importance of Lyveden, its heritage and how this should be interpreted and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Growing Threat
While we can manage the property in our care, we have limited control in preserving Lyveden's peace and tranquillity. We have the drone of racing cars frequently heard from Rockingham Speedway, there are proposals for an off-road motor cycle circuit and the growing threat of Alconbury becoming a major air freight terminal. Lyveden and the rest of the Nene valley would lie under the approach path. We can no longer afford to assume our interests will be considered, instead we must ensure that our representations are heard and beg that our supporters do likewise.

Lyveden on Line
An excellent way of keeping in touch with Lyveden and news and events is through our new website, which is due to go live on 01 January 2003. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyveden and discover all about the history of Lyveden, with photographs and details of our restoration work.

Elizabethan Orchard
We will shortly be receiving our next delivery of trees from Brogdale Horticultural Trust. Having planted over one hundred walnuts, cherries and plums last winter, this year it is the turn of the apples. Varieties including the Catshead, Pearmain and Green Custard will take their places when planting work resumes in January. Unfortunately, Brogdale was unsuccessful in propagating our pear trees last year, so these will not be available for planting until the end of 2003. However, the orchard is gradually taking shape, with a 97 per cent success rate on last year's tree planting. Special thanks to the volunteers, who helped with the planting, and to the team from Frontline Ltd who dug and mixed manure in preparation for the next hundred trees!

Learning and Discovery
During 2002 a record number of school visits enjoyed Lyveden, benefiting from the wide range of activities on offer. Lyveden provides a perfect venue for the study of Tudor and Stuart time learning how the Elizabethans lived and entertained four hundred years ago. Studying wild flowers With over 30 acres of wildflower meadows as well as woodland and ponds, Lyveden also makes the ideal site for environmental studies, such as monitoring the wildflowers, planting bluebells or building bird boxes.

Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth I. We will be celebrating with an Elizabethan Day, involving music and dance of the period as well as craft demonstrations from the potter to the alchemist, the leather maker to the wood turner. This is a day for all ages to learn and discover more about this amazing period.

An Eventful Time
Last Easter we held our first Easter Trail Weekend, when over three hundred children enjoyed the trail supported by Green & Black organic chocolate. Lyveden was built to celebrate Easter, so it provides the ideal venue for children of all ages to learn and explore. See below for details of the 2003 trail.

To celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, we held open-air songs of praise on Sunday 2 June. With the support of Corby Silver Band and a congregation of over 300 the event provided a fitting start to the Jubilee celebrations.

Blessed with fantastic weather, we held another successful New Bield Challenge. Twenty teams competed in over twenty different country pursuits, ranging from archery to remote control yacht racing. With a hog roast, live band and bar in the evening, the event raised almost £2000 towards the orchard project. Without the dedicated support of a great team of volunteers this success could never be achieved.

2003 Diary Dates
And finally, some dates for your diaries:

Easter Trail Weekend
19 & 20 April 11-4pm

Elizabethan Day
Sunday 8 June 10.30 -5pm

Shakespeare's Henry V
Sunday 10 August 6pm
Box Office: 01909 511 061

No.2 December 2001

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Newsletter 4 (2003)
Newsletter 3 (2002)
Newsletter 1 (2000)

A Year to Remember
All good plans for the year came to an abrupt end on 1st March when concern for the rural community led the National Trust to close all out of town properties as a precaution against foot and mouth. With public rights of way criss-crossing the property, as well as grazing livestock near all public areas, this preventative measure remained in place until 26th May, nearly three months after being enforced.

While this gave us the opportunity to undertake a considerable amount of work 'undisturbed', it also meant that we received no income for almost a quarter of the year.

However, with considerable effort, the property has re-gained its losses, and with the support of our volunteers, we are on course for a record number of visitors this year. A big thank you goes to all those who helped achieve this remarkable result, including all those who have visited.

Spreading the Word
While visitors were unable to visit Lyveden, I took the opportunity to visit as many groups and organizations as possible giving an illustrated talk on our on-going conservation projects. Groups ranged from the local National Trust Association to the Clinical Society at Peterborough District Hospital! If you belong to a group, I would be delighted come and provide a talk, or why not book a guided tour of Lyveden in the New Year?

BBC Hidden Gardens
However, book soon, because towards the end of next year the BBC are broadcasting a new series entitled Hidden Gardens in which Lyveden has been selected as one of only six sites nation-wide.

Presented by Chris Beardshaw, from Gardener's World, the programme will study the on-going work to uncover and preserve this fascinating site, using some of the BBC's latest technology!

We are recording over the winter months, with the programme broadcast in the autumn, which will help even out the visitor response during the following months. A book will also be accompanying the series, so keep a look out!

Orchard Planting
Our current major project is the re-planting and landscaping of the lower garden. Around 1620, Sir Thomas Tresham's wife, instructed that the orchard was removed and sold to pay debts left by her husband when he died in 1605. In 1597 Tresham wrote letters describing the fruit tree varieties, planting method and layout of the orchard. With the help of Brogdale Horticultural Trust, which holds the national collection of fruit trees, we have identified many of these original varieties.

The first trees, including an avenue of walnuts and cherries, will be planted this winter, with further planting later in the year. A total of 306 trees will be planted in total over an area which was established with wildflowers last year. The project will not only re-create part of the original garden, but equally, it will protect some of our oldest fruit tree varieties, and create a fantastic habitat for wildlife.

The project is being supported by Shanks.first, Norwich Union, Philips Charitable Trust, Northamptonshire Gardens Trust, The National Gardens Scheme and our local National Trust Association.

View from the Terrace
The long terrace at Lyveden, with pyramid mounts at either end, provided the Elizabethan gentry with a viewing platform. Looking northwards over the orchard planting towards to old manor house, southwards over the moated garden and on either side the impressive estate of Sir Thomas Tresham. After years of neglect, trees covered the terrace, distorting or hiding the views completely. Moreover, leaning trees were beginning to uproot and destroy the original archaeological features.

With the support of Cory Environmental Trust, we have undertaken a programme of clearance along the moat banks and over the terrace. Now re-established with grass to protect the earthworks, visitors can once again enjoy almost the same views as intended by Tresham four hundred years earlier.

Young Guardians
William Law Primary School, from Peterborough, have enjoyed an active year learning more about Lyveden and helping in a range of countryside tasks including making bird boxes, bluebell planting, and pond dipping.

The children also became young archaeologists when they had the opportunity to search through the silt tipped onto the field after dredging the moats last year. Finds included bottles, pots, old shoes and even bones.

In fact the school arranged a visit from their partner school in the Ukraine, when the children had the opportunity to explain the history of Lyveden to their Ukrainian colleagues!

Other schools also enjoyed visits to Lyveden this year, including our parish school of Aldwincle, who took part in the Paint the Garden Competition where the winning picture will form part of a new National Trust calendar.

New Bield Challenge
With the support of local volunteers, Lyveden staged the first New Bield Challenge to raise funds toward the orchard planting project. Local teams competed in a range of countryside pursuits including clay pigeon shooting and archery, as well as trivia and team building challenges. The Countryside Alliance team was overall winner but a fun day was had by all. Evening entertainment and a hog roast followed the competition, with disco lights floodlighting the New Bield!

With generous sponsorship from local businesses and the commitment of volunteers, the event raised £3000 and was considered a huge success and hopefully to be repeated in the future!

Discovering the Past
Lyveden is considered as the Trust's most important archaeological site in the Region, with evidence of the remains of one our country's oldest gardens, covering an area of earlier medieval settlements.

Not all archaeology involves digging deep holes and sifting through layers of soil with hand trowels. Earlier this year, silt samples from the moats were analysed by the Department of Geographical Science at Huddersfield University. From pollen analysis a detailed history of landscape change in and around Lyveden emerged. For the first time, evidence suggests that the site contained willows, fruit trees and possibly flowers and herbs indicating that when the site was abandoned 400 years ago, some planting had taken place. This may give reason to the presence of four different varieties of plum trees still growing at Lyveden.

In addition, pollen analysis shows the species which invaded the site after 1605, including trees, grasses and much later, arable crops.

This winter we are undertaking a new programme of exciting archaeology, involving geophysics. The central area of the moats, and an area directly to the north of the New Bield, will be surveyed using methods which detect the electrical resistance of the soil. Entered into a computer, a picture emerges of what may be up to 3m below the surface. This may include paths, walls or even planting holes. Hopefully our next newsletter will report the findings!

A Passion for Easter Eggs!
Four hundred years ago, Lyveden was built to celebrate the Passion or crucifixion of Christ. So why not visit Lyveden this Easter and enjoy a family Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March between 11am and 4pm. Sponsored by Green & Black organic chocolate, the event gives everyone a chance to discover Lyveden. £1.00 per entrant and all receive an Easter egg!

For further information on this or any other topics covered, please contact Mark Bradshaw on 01832 205358.

No.1 December 2000

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Back to top
Newsletter 4 (2003)
Newsletter 3 (2002)
Newsletter 2 (2001)

This is the first edition of our property Newsletter -don't throw it away, it may be collectable one day! So much fascinating work has been going on at Lyveden that we have decided to produce a newsletter twice a year to help spread the good word. Lyveden still retains its magical charm that it has held since the property was donated to the National Trust in 1922. But today, as more of Sir Thomas Tresham's legacy is discovered, that charm has developed into an under-standing of what can only be described as a remarkable place; in terms of archaeology, garden history, architecture and indeed peace and tranquillity.

New Visitor Facilities
A new visitor room opened in April, providing for the first time, an opportunity to offer hands-on information for visitors to enjoy. With the help and enthusiasm of 30 volunteers, visitors to Lyveden this year have learnt far more about the history and mystery of the property. Despite poor weather, visitor numbers were up by 75% this year between April and October, totalling 6400. In addition, the sale of guidebooks, ice creams, and a limited range of goods increased by a staggering 350% to £1,809. This money directly supports our work at Lyveden.

We hope next year will be even more successful with better weather, more to see, and Lyveden promoted as the Region's oldest garden during the National Trust Year of the Garden -Rooted in History and Growing Forever:

Still Waters, Still Deep
Two years of planning and four weeks of work, culminated in the successful completion of dredging work to the Elizabethan moats. Challenged by wet weather, Land and Water Services carefully removed over 2000 cubic metres of silt from the moats. Funded by the National Trust, EB Northamptonshire Ltd and Countryside Stewardship, the work has helped preserve the original layout of the moats, as well as improve the water quality for both visitors and wildlife to enjoy. The total cost of the project was £32,000, only made possible by external support. The silt has been spread over an adjoining field, which will be studied by archaeologist next spring. Although the garden area remains wet, visitors can already enjoy the benefits of the work open every weekend throughout the winter.

Hidden Benefits
Work was completed earlier this year to underground the electricity supply to the property. When installed in the 1970's the supply was routed across the garden area -then overgrown with scrub, but now designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

East Midlands Electricity funded most of the £15,000 cost of the project, which has provided enormous benefits to the aesthetics of the garden setting and the wider landscape.

Countryside Stewardship
The property has recently entered the Ministry of Agriculture's Stewardship Scheme, which makes payments to farmers to manage and improve the natural beauty of the countryside. Annual payments and one-off payments for conservation works will help support the future work of the property. The scheme initially runs for ten years.

Wild and New
Under the Stewardship Scheme we have recently converted twenty acres of arable land to a wildflower meadow with a mix from Ashton Estate. This forms part of the area that the Trust has obtained on a tenancy from the Duke of Gloucester's Estate. The Trust's management of this land is essential in protecting the garden remains, as well as providing new public access and the opportunity to re-instate parts of the garden, which had disappeared since 1605.

Next summer, and with careful management, the field should display a mix of flowers such as ox-eye daisy, scarlet pimpernel, trefoils and vetch. This area adds to the ten acres of wildflower meadow which we manage to the south of the New Bield. Also converted from arable land some 3 years ago, this area now displays an impressive range of flowers, grasses, butterflies and birds throughout the summer months.

Legacy Day
On one of our few warm sunny days this summer, twenty-five members of the National Trust enjoyed a tour of the property and the opportunity to learn how their future support could help to preserve our heritage and countryside. When Lyveden was acquired by the Trust in 1922, there was no endowment to support the conservation of the property. Raising funds to pay for our work is very difficult for a small, fragile place like Lyveden. The support of our members can make all the difference.

Young Guardians
We have recently launched a Guardianship Scheme with William Law C of E School in Peterborough. Sponsored by Norwich Union, the scheme encourages children to become involved in the care and management of our countryside properties. Visiting Lyveden throughout the year, the children will help monitor the wildflower meadows, plant new hedges, build bird boxes, and learn about our natural environment. At the same time, the Trust will be helping the children to develop their own wildlife areas at school.

Modern Design
Visitors to Lyveden this summer could not have missed Rosalind Stoddart's display of contemporary art, depicting themes from the New Bield and surrounding landscape. The exhibition formed one of a number of works across the country to celebrate the Year of the Artist. The New Bield would have been very foreign looking to the eye some four hundred years ago, and similarly, Rosalind's work provided interesting and imaginative contrast to the surroundings. Of the 54 people who completed the questionnaire, eighty five percent thought the exhibition complimented the site and wished to see more arts events at Lyveden - watch this space.

I was delighted to welcome Martin Drury, Director- General of the National Trust to Lyveden New Bield in October. Having not visited Lyveden since 1992, he was impressed with the work undertaken to uncover and conserve the Elizabethan garden and enhance the setting of the New Bield. He applauded the efforts and commitment of our volunteers who enable the place to come alive through the welcome and information they give to visitors.

Rooted in History, Growing Forever
That's the strap line for Year of the Garden next year. What better way to put it into practice than to donate a tree for Lyveden. To replace some of the many dead or dying trees which were felled during the clearance work, we are now wishing to re- plant a better mix of oak, hazel, field maple and alder. If you would like to mark the new Millennium with a tree for future generations to enjoy, please send a cheque for £20.00 payable to 'The National Trust' to Lyveden New Bield, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5AT. Thank you.

Diary Dates
And finally, some dates for your diaries:

Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday 14th Apri111am-3pm. Bring the family to hunt for clues and Easter eggs. Normal admission of £1 per child.

Tour and Tea
Sunday 01 July and 22 July at 2pm. Enjoy a guided tour of the house and garden followed by cream tea on the lawn. Numbers limited.

Adult £5, Children £3.50

Open Air Service of Worship
Sunday 8 July 4pm. Back by popular demand, the opportunity to enjoy an open- air service in this beautiful setting.

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