On Friday 25th October a group of 40 members visited Heelis, the NT headquarters at Swindon ( Heelis was Beatrix Potter’s married name – she donated much of the land in the Lake district now owned and managed by the NT). We were treated to a delightful drive up the Salisbury Avon valley, stopping on the way for an enjoyable coffee break at The Ship at Upavon where we were made very welcome, before then proceeding to Swindon and Heelis House.
We split into 4 groups, each with a guide, and were shown round the building which was designed to incorporate the latest environmental technology, including computer controlled lighting, ventilation and heating systems to save energy. More than 440 people work at Heelis House and much of the office space is open plan, with staff from different departments and all levels including the Director General sharing the same space. After lunch in the café there members were free to visit the Steam Museum and/or the nearby shopping outlet, both housed in the former GWR workshop buildings.
We were fortunate with the weather, which was changeable, with showers and rainbows, but mainly fine and sunny. The return was as picturesque as the outward journey, passing though the beautiful Savernake Forest on the way to Salisbury and home.