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Keeping special places alive

The exterior of Ferry Cottage, Brixham, Devon © Mike Henton

The exterior of Ferry Cottage, Brixham, Devon © Mike Henton

A National Trust holiday is a rare chance to immerse yourself in a building of the past –be it a remote lightkeepers’ house, a medieval manor or a woodland cabin. And as you wake each morning under oak beams or surrounded by stone walls, you’re also playing a part in their up keep. The money from your stay helps us give small properties a new lease of life: restoring, maintaining and opening them up as holiday cottages for everyone’s enjoyment.

A true taste of the past

Thanks to you, we’re able to nurture around 10 properties a year to their former glory. As we restore each one, we make sure its original character is kept alive, by staying true to the methods used to build it. We partner with local craftspeople who practise traditional techniques; these include lime plastering (a centuries-old method of coating walls, with a mix of sand, water and lime), lead working and thatching. Supplying these specialist tradesmen with regularwork helps to ensure their heritage skills live on, and can be passed to the next generation.

Holiday homes with a history

Every cottage we restore has a story to tell – whether it’s the tale of a celebrated historical figure or a humble yet hardworking fisherman.Some have a real claim to fame as the former homes of inventors, writers or cultural icons. Greenway Apartment at Greenway House, for instance, was Agatha Christie’s holiday home. Virginia Woolf owned the Garden Studio at Monks House – which now makes the perfect retreat for literary fans or budding writers. Wireless Cottage was built by Nobel Prize-winning inventor Guglielmo Marconi, the first person ever to broadcast a transatlantic radio signal. Marconi used the cottage for his early experiments, and the wireless technology he went on to develop was to save hundreds of lives at sea – including all the survivors of the Titanic.

Recently restored

One of our most recent restoration projects is Combe Park Lodge in North Devon’s East Lyn Valley. Having gone through a huge amount of repair work, and now sporting a new roof, this Edwardian Cottage will be welcoming guests for the first time in summer 2016. In 2015 we opened Treleddyd Fawr, one of the last remaing examples of a traditional Pembrokeshire cottage, after an extensive restoration project.  Another new option for your holidays is Ferry Cottage: an idyllic, Grade 2 listed building, which sits in the grounds of Agatha Christie’s Greenway Estate.

Thank you for making it possible for us to care for these special places for ever, for everyone.

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