Croome Court - credit Pete Franks

                                                        NEWS FROM CROOME COURT & PARK

                                                  Study Day at Croome 20th September - Report

A bright sunny day helped the twenty-three members of the two supporter groups, Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Centre and North Cotswold Association, enjoy their study day at Croome. The organisation of the day benefited from Hasnah Sheriff, Croome Welcome Visitor Officer’s excellent management and enthusiasm. 

To the background of the peal of the church bells, the group walked or were driven from the entrance to the house to be given a full and enjoyable tour. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the house manager and volunteer guide were mixed with humourwhich always helps. Returning to the restaurant the group enjoyed a light lunch. In the afternoon the party split into three groups to visit the RAF Museum, Walled Garden or Red Wing. Again there seemed to be much praise for all three activities. 


                                                                       In the Walled Garden.

The walled garden attracted the most members and its extent, historic and technical innovation together with distant views of the Malvern Hills, seemed to surprise and pleased many. Chris Cronin, our guide, is an enthusiastic co-owner. The Red Wing Tour and RAF Museum group also reported an interesting time.

This was the second study day jointly organised by North Cotswold Association and Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Centre. Both Bob Hann, the chairman of North Cotswold Association, and I, have agreed that we need a volunteer to take over the organisation of any further study days elsewhere, although we will give support and advice. A volunteer can come from either supporter group. 

Croome is now exploring the possibility of coordinating their own special interest days for local NT Supporter Groups, taking some of the pressure off supporter groups arranging their own. If our study day has helped them consider this option, then it has had a much wider benefit. 

The assistance given by the staff and volunteers was generally praised by all who spoke to me. Beside Chris Cronin guiding us around the walled garden, thanks are due to Vicky Burrows and the catering team; Hugh Warwick, of the parks team, together with Tom Coombe and Larry Freeman at Croome Court itself. 

Our members who went on the other afternoon tours will not forget the assistance of Ken McDonald of the RAF Museum Team and Rachel Sessford who were involved with the tour of the Red Wing. 


                                                      Listening to talk in Croome Court. 

Finally, there is a lot changing at Croome and a regular visit to this constantly evolving property is well worthwhile. Try it, and even though you have to pay to visit the privately owned walled garden, that is also an experience worth taking. Formal tours of the House and Red Wing take place as well. It is suggested that you always check the Croome and Walled Garden websites beforehand.                                      Bill Cronin  


                               CROOME COURT AND NATIONAL TRUST AWARDS


A National Trust team has received a sought-after accolade at the annual Museums and Heritage Awards which recognizes the innovators and leaders in the world of heritage visitor attractions. 

The award for ‘Best Educational Initiative’ was given to the team working at Croome, near Pershore, for the ‘Potter and Ponder’ sensory experience announced by comedian Ian Moore. 

Regarded as the Oscars of the museums and heritage industry, the Awards ceremony is attended by hundreds of sector professionals who join to celebrate the incredible achievements and ground-breaking projects of the past 12 months.   

Now celebrating its fifteenth year, the annual Awards, judged by a panel of the sector’s most senior players, recognise the innovators and leaders of the diverse world of museums, galleries and cultural and heritage visitor attractions. 

“It was wonderful for Croome’s 'Potter and Ponder' initiative to receive national recognition for its innovative approach to education,” said Michael Forster-Smith, Croome’s General Manager. “The team responsible, led by Katherine Alker and Rachel Sharpe, worked alongside local schools and families to create a trail designed to share our park with children with a broad range of special needs. The outcome was an enriching and fun trail, focusing on a sensory approach to enjoying Croome’s landscape, available to all our visitors. The development of 'Potter and Ponder' was supported by Jo Amphlett and Kiki Claxton from our team at Croome, along with a variety of other partners, including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Outside In, our creative partners. Well done to all involved in making 'Potter and Ponder' such a success, the Museums and Heritage award is richly deserved.” 

Croome’s ‘Potter and Ponder’ aims to encourage families with disabilities to explore the beautiful parkland in a very different way. 

Four local groups with wide-ranging special needs and learning disabilities collaborated with the National Trust to create the map. During their visits to Croome it became apparent that the children loved making echoes under the Dry Arch Bridge; feeling the leaves and bark on different trees; smelling the variety of flowers and walking barefoot on the grass.  These sensory experiences were used in the final map which takes you on a journey of different sensations such as sound, touch and smell.  

The judging panel said, “It is a remarkable, creative and innovative story of engaging children with severe learning difficulties.  It benefits both the children and their carers and offers lessons which can be learned across the sector.” 

In addition to Croome’s award was a one-off ‘Special Recognition Award’ for the National Trust.  Nominated by the Judges, the National Trust was rewarded for its creativity in visitor engagement, remarkable growth in visitor figures and its impressive fostering of creative partnerships.  Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust accepted the award saying “We know we are just one part of a movement … the fact that we, as an organisation, are able to reach out and touch so many people is because of all of you and what you do on a day to day basis … We are enormously lucky for that support and to be able to spend more than we have ever been able to on conservation and experiences that move, teach and inspire.” 

The free ‘Potter and Ponder’ map is available from Croome’s Visitor Centre. 

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 9 am until 5.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11 am to 4.30pm every day. Normal admission applies. For more information please call: 01905-371006 or visit the website


                                         Photo.: The National Trust team accepting the award.


                                                                                                                                          Children enjoying ' Potter & Ponder'
                                                                           One of the many senses at Croome

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