Croome Court - credit Pete Franks

                                                        NEWS FROM CROOME COURT & PARK


A report on river conversation at Croome Park

The ranger team at National Trust Croome have been continuing conservation work on an 18th century 'river' which first began over 20 years ago.

Staff and volunteers bravely waded into the Croome river, actually a 1¾ mile long reservoir, to unclog the waterway of reeds.


Credit Hugh Warwick

The parkland, near Worcester, was purchased by the National Trust in 1996 and work began over the following years to undertake many projects to restore Croome to its former glory.

One of the earlier projects was dredging the river when over 50,000 cubic metres of silt and sludge and thousands of reeds were removed by long reach diggers in two periods in 2003 and 2005.

During the summer the reeds grew very quickly and once again clogged the river.  As the river isn't very deep and it doesn't have the normal flow of a river it becomes blocked easily.  It was created by 'Capability' Brown in the 1750s and dozens of labourers hand dug the whole length of the river and lake for the new parkland designed for the 6th Earl of Coventry.

Staff and volunteers decided to take the plunge and remove the excess weeds by hand and throughout the summer they cleared a central channel down the river leaving some reeds at its edges.  This continues to provide a good habitat for a wide variety of insects such as dragonflies and damselflies, as well as providing good hiding places for many different bird species.

Working in waist high water, they were able to pull the reeds out easily as they aren't deep rooted.  The reeds were left on the river banks to give any wildlife a chance to crawl back into the river.



Credit Tracey Blackwell



"During the heat of the summer the job of removing the reeds from the river gave us not only the opportunity to restore the 18th century look of the river, but also to cool off!" said Katherine Alker, Garden and Outdoors Manager.

Wildlife such as ducks, swans and canada geese can now navigate the river and the original aesthetic of the river is restored.

Tracey Blackwell


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                               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 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome.

                               

                                         Photo.: The National Trust team accepting the award.

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                                                                           One of the many senses at Croome
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