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125 years of the National Trust

12 January 2020

Sunday 12th January is the National Trust’s 125th anniversary. Happy birthday!

The National Trust was established back in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. They shared a belief in the importance of historic places and green spaces, and fought to preserve them for everyone’s ‘enjoyment, refreshment and rest’.  Today the National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity, with 5.6 million members, 65,000 volunteers and 14,000 staff, caring for over 250,000 hectares of farmland, 780 miles of coastline and 500 historic properties, gardens and nature reserves, for everyone, for ever.

The National Trust’s creation is one of the core reasons why the Lake District was inscribed by UNESCO as a Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site in 2017. Co-founder Canon Rawnsley was once resident of Allan Bank in Grasmere and whilst living there, became aware of the possible sale of Grasmere Isle that he could see from his windows. Concerned that this beautiful location, along with Lodore Falls in Borrowdale and Snowdonia, would be snapped up by developers and lost to the public, inspired Rawnsley to think that there should be an organisation that could acquire property on behalf of the nation. 125 years later the National Trust continues to look after a fifth of the Lake District.

And from those modest roots in the heart of the Lake District, the model of landscape conservation that is the National Trust has been adopted beyond our shores. There are now 76 National Trusts in countries around the world; from Haiti to Jordan, from Thailand to Uganda, all working hard to conserve their cultural and natural heritage for current and future generations.

Find out more about the National Trust's anniversary at

Find out more about the International National Trusts Organisation at


About the author

Mairi Lock World Heritage Site Coordinator Lake District World Heritage Site

Coordinating World Heritage Site communications on behalf of the Lake District National Park Partnership