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Saturday, November 7, 1998 Published at 17:18 GMT


Discord at countryside charity

Trouble ahead for the National Trust

Members of the pro-hunting lobby are angry with the National Trust, the UK's largest countryside charity.

They believe the Trust has failed to stand up for the tradition of the countryside and aims to overturn the its ban on deerhunting.

Members of a breakaway organisation, Friends of the National Trust, accuse the trust leadership of becoming too commercial and failing in its main task of preserving and conserving the nation's heritage.

  • The trust has 2.6 million members.
  • Public donations to the trust equalled £7.3 million last year.
  • The National Trust was set up in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Hardwicke Rawnsley and Robert Hunter.
  • Its first acquisition was four and a half acres of Welsh cliff-land.
  • It is the largest non-governmental preservation organisation in the world and Britain's largest private landowner.
  • It owns historic houses, important gardens, whole villages or hamlets and hundreds of miles of natural coastline.
  • The Trust is independent of state aid apart from the occasional government grant for a specific purpose, and is mainly funded by endowments, membership subscriptions, legacies and rents.
  • Among its most visited sites are Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire, Stourhead House and Gardens, Wiltshire and Wakehurst Place, West Sussex.

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