The first eight months of my new role within NAT have flown by, and now we are well into Autumn, it is a chance to stop, take a breath and reflect. In my role as Director, I regularly visit all our sites and it has been wonderful seeing them change throughout the year. I am very much looking forward to seeing what winter brings.
2021 has been an interesting and sometimes challenging year beginning with the continued Covid restrictions. It has been lovely to witness an increase in our visitor numbers as people looked to get outside and go for walks in their local communities. It felt tremendously exciting when we were awarded our ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard mark demonstrating that we had adapted to ensure that we were in line with respective Government and public health guidance and that we had COVID-19 risk assessment in place. This meant that we were able to begin our free guided tours again – something which both visitors and volunteers were very excited about. These were at our three largest sites – St Benet’s Abbey, Burgh Castle Fort and Caistor Roman Town and have been very popular so will be returning next year.
Another highlight this year were the gorgeous lambs grazing on many of our sites in the spring which brings NAT a small but essential regular income to help with conservation management. Lots of visitors shared amazing photos of the lambs, particularly at Tasburgh and Caistor Roman Town on social media. I also really enjoyed and appreciated listening to the skylarks – I have never seen as many as I have this year nesting across many of our sites – we are so very lucky to have them. Their UK conservation status is red meaning they are in population decline and their species is globally threatened.
Other highlights from my visits this year have included seeing children dressed as roman soldiers having a ‘battle’ around the walls at Burgh Castle Fort, families picnicking at St Benet’s Abbey and Girlguides geo-caching at Caistor Roman Town. It is so wonderful seeing everyone outside and visiting our sites, let me know in the comments below what you have enjoyed on our sites this year.