Loving the National Trust as a Young Adult
As lockdown eases, I am enjoying getting back into the countryside and seeing some of the beautiful sites in the UK. The National Trust has been a big part of this. As a member, the opportunity to visit sites and support the organisation during tough times means a lot. The National Trust has been a part of life since I was a baby, so I wanted to reflect on my time as a member and show that no matter your age, the National Trust can benefit you no matter who you are.
An Introduction to the National Trust
For the majority of UK natives, you will probably be aware of the National Trust already.
To give an introduction to the charity though, the National Trust website contains all the information you could possibly want to know.
To provide a summary here though, here is a quote from the Our Cause web page.
We protect and care for places so people and nature can thrive. We look after the nation’s coastline, historic sites, countryside and green spaces, ensuring everyone benefits. With our staff, members, volunteers and supporters, we’re the biggest conservation charity in Europe. Everyone can get involved, everyone can make a difference.
– National Trust
My History with the National Trust
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a member of the National Trust. My parents became members many years ago, and ever since my brother and I were born, we have held a family membership. The National Trust has simply always been a part of my life.
I am lucky in that I grew up with a family (well, mostly my dad) with a love of camping and motorcaravans, and have had a motorcaravan for a large portion of my life.
This meant that as a family we could go on day trips or camping holidays with the ability to easily explore National Trust-owned places.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall – owned by the National Trust
The Benefits for Young Children and Families
Something which I have appreciated as I grow older is seeing the benefits the charity provides for parents and young children.
It offers a chance to promote fun and play within nature and develop an appreciation for our historical culture. The chance to get back to basics and enjoy the simple things in life.
Picnics, exploring and learning about nature, traditional playground games. In a world rapidly being dominated by the internet and a preference for screen time over days out as a family, the National Trust provides a chance to escape this and reminds people of what spending time together truly means.
It seems that whenever I take a trip to a National Trust attraction today, I always comment to my parents, or whoever I am with, how pleasing it is to see so many young families out and about together.
It brings me hope that the future is not solely heading to a virtual landscape, but a continued appreciation for the beautiful physical one that exists in this country.
As a child, it was these family days out filled with opportunities that developed a love affair with the National Trust. There was always something there when I was a kid. Treasure hunts, activity trails and outdoor play. More recent schemes such as ’50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 and 3/4 ‘ has further added to the benefits that children get from being a part of the National Trust.
Greenway House, near Dartmouth, Devon – home of Agatha Christie
Teenage Years – I won’t lie, I fell out of love with the National Trust for a bit. I didn’t think it was ‘cool’ for people my age.
After childhood comes the teenage years! Reflecting on it now, I am ashamed to say I did become a typical millennial teen attached to their phone (I will admit that this is also the case in my early 20s, but there’s more to life than just that).
National Trust trips with my family still took place in adolescence, but my attitude changed. I was no longer a child wanting to do craft workshops or quizzes, neither did I fit in with the older adults who were doing walking and history tours. I started to feel that visiting a National Trust property was somewhat of a chore and that it wasn’t deemed ‘cool’ for people my age.
The only perks during this period of negativity were the cafes, shops, as well as free parking and a toilet stop on long journeys (I mean, these are still bonuses to be honest).
Overall, it seemed the National Trust love had disappeared.
Rockham Beach, near Mortehoe and Morte Point, Devon. A great coast walk incorporating National Trust coastline
Late Teens – A New Found Appreciation
I have always struggled with anxiety most of my life, particularly over the past few years. This was mainly triggered by a combination of unexpected medical diagnoses including Hydrocephalus and Crohn’s disease. I also felt like I didn’t fit in with most of my age group, which made things tough at times.
I am someone who has always loved the company of my immediate family and enjoyed trips out with my parents, so this made the National Trust a go-to idea for days out/holiday activities. Regardless of my feelings during the early teenage years, I knew I would still be using the National Trust regularly, whether that was for visiting a stately home or hiking in one of the many beautiful NT-owned countryside and coastal areas.
I am not sure what changed that made me regain my admiration and love for the National Trust.
For starters, as I have grown older, I have begun to get over the whole ‘not cool’ mindset, and have just enjoyed being myself, without worrying what other people are thinking.
I know when I have gone through bad anxiety spells or more recent issues from the likes of Crohn’s, I have accepted that I might not be able to do as much as other people my age were doing. I may not currently be in a position to go jetting off and travelling the world on a gap year, or anything major like that.
What I do have though is the National Trust and the experiences it has given me and continues to do so. And what an array of experiences I have had.
Botallack Mine, Cornwall – where they filmed Poldark!
The Variety of the National Trust – Something for Everyone
The travel aspect is so much fun. Getting to see various parts of the UK and finding out about their history makes me appreciate our culture so much. I think my tally of National Trust sites visited is now over 40, maybe even 50!
But it’s more than that. I have done things and seen things I wouldn’t have done without the National Trust.
From walking on the roof of Dyrham Park during a scaffolding phase, to tracing the steps of Winston Churchill at Chartwell or Agatha Christie at Greenway. Or visiting sets of beloved films and TV show. I’ll never forget the dramatic setting of Botallack Mine used for Poldark or the quaintness of Lacock Abbey village, seen in many productions such as Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.
You may like: Top 5 Things to Do in Devon – great for including 2 National Trust places – Greenway and Mortehoe – in one trip.
I particularly love the coastline and countryside, and the National Trust’s passion for preserving our environment. The dedication to preserving rural and natural beauty areas, as well as promoting sustainability and caring for wildlife is something we need to all learn from, and I am grateful that by being a member, I am helping to keep this incredible work going.
The mental health benefits are abundant. Even in times when life seems the hardest, there’s a feeling of peace and freedom with the National Trust, that helps maintain a positive and calm mindset.
I love the feeling of space when you’re walking in stunning locations like Kynance Cove and the Lizard Point, Dovedale, the Lake District, or seeing nature at its best like the seals at Mortehoe Point.
I love being able to spend quality time with family and make good memories.
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A Little Summary – Why Join as a Young Adult
Everything I have mentioned above sums up the view I hold now. With the National Trust, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are in life. It’s what you make of it. I’m in my early twenties, I have my own Young Person’s membership, and I would love to see more people my age use this option.
If you are in your teens/twenties, don’t feel like the National Trust is something only older adults or families with little kids join. It’s for everyone and we all take something different from it. For me, it’s the mental health benefits and supporting the environment, for someone else it’s a fascination with history or for others, it’s simply a family day out to enjoy some sunshine and have a picnic.
I hope this post gave an insight into how the National Trust is great for everyone. If you are a member, let me know. If you are not, what’s stopping you?