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


For further information on any of the items below, please email:

Summer Programme 2019

Chairman’s Chat

I make no apology in using this, my first contact with
you, to give thanks on your behalf. People make organisations and organisations make people. In the life of NTSDA we have been fortunate. Geoffrey, together with Elizabeth, has steered the helm over the past five years and brought many interesting events to you our members for which we give them many, many thanks. Both are staying involved and together with the Event Planning sub-committee will be organising a few more! It is with sadness that I have to record that Phil Price, who was for many years our Treasurer, passed away in December. We give thanks for his life and for the contribution he was able to make to NTSDA and to many other organisations. Other movements on the Committee are that Ann Taylor decided to step down after many years of organising our lunches. We thank her for her valued contribution. Another new face to come on board, apart from myself who has returned to the fold, is Bob Freeman who has joined us as Vice Chair. Some of our team have been with us for more than 10 years!

Our exciting news this year is that we are 25 years old. What an achievement! Jim Dick, Rosemary Hunter, Tom Burr and David Illingworth were among the small group who were involved in the inaugural meeting on 5th October 1994. We will, of course, be having a celebration which we hope as many people as possible will attend. Bob Freeman is in at the deep-end organising this event. If you have any memorabilia from the early years please let us know.

As you will realise organisations only work with the help of many hands, and NTSDA is no exception. We need a few more willing helpers to spread the load. Could you deliver a few newsletters twice a year in your road, or have you ideas for events? Could you help at meetings or events with refreshments? Are you a whizz with the computer? Do let me know – no offer of help is ever turned down and it’s a case of many hands make light work. We are here for you, our members. We would welcome your feedback on our events and talks as it’s useful to put on activities that you enjoy.

Part of our existence is to support the work of the National Trust. This year we have managed to donate locally to Max Gate for outside tables and chairs and to Cloud’s Hill for a brass rubbing trail. I do hope that you will find the time later in the year to visit these properties and see these items in situ. Our donations are really appreciated by the properties and staff, so make yourselves known as members of NTSDA. Do make yourself known to us, your committee, at meetings or by e-mail / ‘phone.

Janet Kennewell

Advance Notice

The National Trust South Dorset Association
will be celebrating its
25th Anniversary in October 2019
with a lunch and a talk

Further details in our next Newsletter


Spring Opening: Friday 10 May 2 pm – 5 pm, Saturday 11 May 11 am – 5 pm, Sunday 12 May 11 am – 4 pm. Overlooking Portland harbour from the Weymouth side, the Art Deco holiday villa Portland House is a reminder of a glamourous bygone age. You are invited for a special peek into this villa, not usually open to the public.

Tuneful Stories: Saturday 23 March 1 pm – 4 pm, Saturday 27 April 1 pm – 4 pm & Saturday 25 May 1 pm – 4 pm. Tim Laycock brings Hardy’s home to life with music and stories from Hardy’s own time. Three 25-minute performances take place in the drawing room. Seating is limited and there is no booking, so operation is on a first-come-first-served basis. £3 suggested donation
Tea with Hardy & Edmund Blunden: Wednesday 5 June & Friday 7 June 3.45 pm – 5 pm. Small donation.
Poetry with New Hardy Players: Wednesday 19 June 3 pm – 5 pm. Small donation

Biodiversity Day: Friday 31 May 11 am – 2 pm; Friday 26 July 11 am – 2 pm. Meet the team of volunteer Ecologists who will explain what valuable work they do for wildlife and show us some nature highlights from Hardy’s garden and orchard.

Saxons and Vikings – the siege of Wareham: Saturday 4 May – Monday 6 May 10 am – 5 pm. Witness the sound and fury of Saxon and Viking warriors in pitch battle as they recreate the siege of Wareham.
Medieval Falconry: Saturday & Sunday 18 – 19 May, 8 – 9 June, 22 – 23 June, 29 – 30 June 10 am – 5 pm. Display of these birds of prey demonstrating spectacular aerial manoeuvres in and around the castle ruins. Medieval Mischief (May half-term): Saturday 25, Sunday 26 & Tuesday 28 May – Sunday 2 June, 10 am – 5 pm. Celebrate a little May madness at the castle by joining in the medieval jester academy, playing the games and finding shields to complete the quest.

Music on the lawns: Sundays 16 June – 14 July inclusive 1.30 pm – 4 pm. Enjoy an afternoon of music on the lawns, sit back, relax, bring a picnic and listen to live music


have been to:


Garden furniture: 4 wooden garden tables and 16 wooden chairs for entertaining on the lawn: £1,250

New Max Gate garden chairs

New Max Gate garden chairs – by Marjorie Tait




Garden chairs

Garden chairs on a sunny day – by Meg Rolfe









Brass plaques: the design & production of 6 – 8 brass rubbing plaques to form a trail around the hillside heath-land above Clouds Hill. Visitors will be offered a trail leaflet and crayons to enable them for make their own rubbings: £2,500

Reminder about changes to Car Parking at National Trust Sites

For more information on car parking, the National Trust provide a useful summary of FAQs here

Portland House Open Days – 2019

Spring 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 Spring 2019 this beautiful Art Deco villa will be open to the public on the afternoon of Friday 10th May (2 pm – 5 pm), Saturday 11th May (from 11 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 12th May (from 11 am – 4 pm).

In Autumn 2019 Portland House will be open to the public on the afternoon of Friday 4th October (2 pm – 5 pm), Saturday 5th October (from 11 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 6th October (from 11 am – 4 pm).

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 single/£5.00 family membership)

We need your help!

We urgently need volunteers to join the Committee, including the position of Secretary.  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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