National Trust offers working holidays

Last updated at 08:13 07 March 2005

The chance to learn new skills like foot path laying, dry stone walling and helping with a sheep count, are some of the activities being offered by the National Trust on its 2005 Working Holidays Programme.

The Trust says the holidays offer the chance to meet new people, get outdoors, learn about the environment and help with vital conservation work.

Apart from improving the countryside, those taking part will get access to some of the country's most treasured historic homes, countryside and gardens.

The work could include clearing the countryside of invasive rhododendron, taking part in a botanical survey, planting flower borders in historic gardens, cleaning beaches of debris, helping at an archaeological dig, building new fences, or maintaining a coastal footpath.

The Trust said hard work will be rewarded with time off to explore the countryside and optional evening trips into the local village or town.

Holidays this year include:

• Taking part in a dig. Prior Park in Bath and Brownsea Island near Poole Harbour will host their first archaeological holidays.

• The spectacular garden at Hughendon Manor is a recreation of the colourful designs of Benjamin Disraeli's wife Mary Anne. For the first time, join the Head Gardener on a series of gardening holidays. Help plant over 7,500 plants for summer and 2006 spring flower displays.

• For those aged 16-18, there are Youth Discovery holidays which take place mostly in the summer. It's a chance to travel to the countryside and try conservation work with people of the same age.

• You can take part in a mega-beach clean in Orford Ness and arrive by boat. In celebration of SeaBritain 2005, a national celebration of the coast, this special holiday will allow you to help in a Beach Clean and Survey on the Suffolk coast.

• Accommodation is provided in farmhouses, stone cottages, converted barns, mills, granaries and stableyards-even a former Ministry of Defence radar station.

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