National Trust, 1938–39


    IT is significant of the increased interest of the public in Great Britain's treasures of natural beauty and historic interest—an interest that has grown in proportion as the dangers from building-development have increased—that in the last ten years the properties held by the National Trust or protected under covenant have more than doubled; they now total over 80,000 acres. The gross cost of upkeep, improvements and agents’ salaries, according to the Annual Report for 1938–39, exceeds £29,000, while the income from letting, etc., of the properties amounts to £24,050, the difference being met by subscription. The new properties acquired in the period June 1938 to June 1939 number 37 and cover 2,905 acres. Among the more interesting or important acquisitions are 81 acres on Dunstable Downs, 224 acres at Hind-head, Surrey, and more than 900 acres of Dovedale and the Manifold Valley. In addition, 25 properties, covering 7,142 acres, were protected by covenant within the period. Extensive areas are now owned or protected in districts which have been mentioned as prospective national paries. In the Lake District, for example, the Trust now owns 12,000, and protects a further 19,150 acres, while on Exmoor it owns more than 9,000, and protects a further 900 acres. Of Dovedale and the Manifold Valley it owns or protects more than 4,000 acres. At present Cornwall has more coast owned or protected by the Trust than any county; but a considerable stretch of coast in Pembrokeshire will be affected by the recent appeal. The activities of the Trust have been greatly increased by the facilities for cooperation with local authorities under the National Trust Act of 1937, which is now working. Local authorities have already contributed large sums towards preservation schemes in their respective areas. One of the more important undertakings of the Trust, at least from the point of view of the archaeologist, is the custody of Stonehenge. Here additional fencing has been carried out and the cafe demolished; but work on the aerodrome is proceeding only very slowly.

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    National Trust, 1938–39. Nature 144, 359 (1939).

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