- Wildlife Groups
The National Trust was founded in 1895 by social reformists Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter & Hardwicke Rawnsley. In a time when rapid and unchecked industrialization was threatening to swamp the very essence of the English countryside their vision of 'setting aside the best and most beautiful parts of Britain for the public and for posterity' began a movement who's aims remain pretty much the same to the present day. Their perceived image of owners of stately homes came about in the middle of the 20th century, a time when inheritance tax was at an all time high resulting in the break up of many counry estates to pay death duties. The National Trust offered another way, where the descendants could give the property to the Trust in lieu of death duties, but continue to live there for life.
Today, the National Trust has grown in size and stature to become the largest charity in Europe dedicated to the preservation of national heritage. As well as taking care of over 200 historic houses in the UK, they own and manage over 250,000 Hectares (1.5% of the UK land mass) including much of the Lake District and the Peak District, and over 780 miles (more than 10%) of the UK coastline. Unsurprisingly, they are one of the major land owners in country and they are certainly not 'just about historic houses' - starting with the aquisition of Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire in 1899, the National Trust's properties also include Blakeney Point in Norfolk, the Lizard National Nature Reserve in Cornwall and Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve in Cumbria.
Here in Yorkshire, the National Trust manages some of our most iconic landmarks and county treasures including Malham Tarn, Roseberry Topping, Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks. The interactive map on this page displays all of the National Trust's wildlife sites in Yorkshire. Clicking on any of the marker pins will bring up a brief description of each site and external links for more information.