Corfe Castle from the South seen through dawn mist. This is one of Britain's most magnificent ruins and can be seen here with a graveyard in the foreground.

Corfe Castle from the South seen through dawn mist. This is one of Britain’s most magnificent ruins and can be seen here with a graveyard in the foreground. ©National Trust Images/Matthew Antrobus

New announcement

Holiday in the Warwickshire area with visits to five National Trust properties

5 days – June 14th to June 18th 2018
See events page for details


Winter Programme 2017 

Chairman’s Introduction 

Those who attended the Coffee Morning last April may recall our speaker, Caps Browning Smith (Head Gardener of Hardy Country properties) mentioned that Max Gate hoped to replace two large urns which once stood by the front door. The Committee decided that we would fund this – we will let members know when they are in place. Similarly, Grahame Meaden, Visitor Experience Manager at Montacute House, spoke of the need to replace accessibility ramps in the gardens. It was agreed that we should make a donation towards this to enable less-able visitors to enjoy access “For ever, for everyone” in action.

In order that we can continue to make such donations, we obviously need to offer a full and interesting programme of events for you our members and for visitors. To do so obviously requires considerable work for our Committee and Sub-Committee members. We were therefore very pleased when one of our newer members, Lesley Cooper, offered to take on the role of Publicity Officer – a post which had been vacant for over a year and had to be covered by other Committee members. Please seriously consider whether you could find a little time to assist – “Many hands make light work”!

For those members on the visit to view the Kingston Lacy Masterpieces, we received a great deal for our money – for a small sum to cover our refreshments we also received a personal welcome from Tim Turner, KL Property Manager, who thanked us for our contribution towards the restoration of Granny Bankes’ Garden a couple of years ago, and arranged for the Head Gardener to show us the garden (not yet open to the public). We were then given a guided tour of the rest of the garden, including access inside the Japanese Garden. This shows that our donations are greatly appreciated.

Major changes are taking place in the management of National Trust in our area. Mark Harold, who has been the Director of National Trust in the South West for seven years and a strong supporter of Associations, has been promoted to work at NT Headquarters, reporting directly to the Director General.

I hope you will find the programme of interest and look forward to seeing you at events.

Changes to Car Parking at National Trust Sites

As you will have seen in the 2017 National Trust Handbook (under the car sticker), new ticket machines are being installed in car parks this year.

Members should scan their membership card and will be issued with a free parking ticket to be placed on their car dashboard. There will be staff at car parks this year to assist members.

Scanning your membership card will enable the property or countryside area to claim funding from National Trust central funds, based on the number of people visiting the site, which will be used to maintain and improve local facilities.

This will be the last year that National Trust parking stickers will be provided but parking will remain free for National Trust members.

We have been told by NT West Dorset Office that they will be replacing all Life member cards with a new scannable version through 2017. As soon as the Life member receives this, they will be able to scan for their free parking ticket. Until then, the 2017 car sticker remains valid.
For more information go to

Portland House Open Days – 2017

Autumn Opening

Portland House, Belle Vue Road, Weymouth DT4 8RZ

Perching on the hillside overlooking Portland Harbour, Portland House is a stunning reminder of a glamorous bygone age. For three days only this Autumn, visitors are invited to walk up the palm-lined path and explore the house with its original Art Deco features. Booking is not required and entrance is free to NT members – remember to take your NT membership card. Please note there are steps both inside and outside the House and some uneven paths within the garden.

View from Portland House

View from Portland House – Photo by Brian Tait

Portland House - The Terace

Portland House – The Terace. Photo by Brian Tait








In Autumn 2017 this beautiful Art Deco villa will be open to the public on the afternoon of Friday 6th October (2 pm – 5 pm), Saturday 7th October (from 11 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 8th October (from 11 am – 4 pm).

Events at Hardy’s Cottage

Apple Day – a day of Apple Pressing, Dorset Apple Cake tasting and music. 7th October 2017 from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm.

Tuneful Stories – Tim Laycock brings the Hardy family to life with music and stories. 14th October, 18th November 2017, 14th January, 2018 and 10th February 2018 from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm.

Trafalgar Night – Tim Laycock and fiddler Colin Thompson with an evening of music, storytelling and readings. 20th and 21st October 2017 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Booking essential.

Montacute House

The Falconers, dressed in period costume, will give two shows a day of birds in flight. 23rd & 24th September, 1st, 7th & 8th October.

“Copying Holbein” – an exhibition of works after Hans Holbein the Younger assessing Holbein’s legacy in Britain. Daily until 29th October 2017 from 11.00 am – 3.30 pm.

Max Gate 

Tuneful stories

Tim Laycock brings the Hardy family to life with music and stories. Performances on selected dates between October 2017 and February 2018.

Tranter Deney’s Christmas Party

A celebration of Midwinter and the Christmas Season with carols, folk songs, poetry and readings from the works of Thomas Hardy. Performed by Tim Laycock and fiddler Colin Thompson.

20th – 23rd December 2017 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

Booking essential.

Please note:

National Trust South Dorset Association has withdrawn its requirement that applicants for membership be National Trust members or volunteers.  

Anyone who supports the aims of the National Trust may now apply for association membership.

Membership News:

Please remNT Logoember that subscriptions fall due on 1st September.

Please send your cheques payable to NT South Dorset Association (£4.00 single/£7.00 family membership) to the Membership Secretary

Please email:  for contact details

Why not make a saving by paying by Standing Order — £3.00 and £5.00          respectively

We need your help!

We urgently need volunteers to join the Committee, both to act as Membership Secretary and to book halls for talks. Without new volunteers we will not have enough people to continue running the Association! Plenty of assistance will be available.

If you are willing to help, please  email:

Thank you

Can we have your e-mail address, please?

From time to time the committee obtains details of Trust events which will be of interest to all members. We can only pass on this information to you quickly by email.

If you are willing for us to contact you in this way please send your e-mail address to

We will not pass on your address to any other organisation.

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