SWINDON, England, February 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The National Trust has revealed that bookings of its working holidays are up 50% on this time last year.
The activity programme, celebrating its 45th year, runs over 300 breaks offering the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and play a vital part in conserving the country's natural legacy.
The wide variety of activities include surfing while repairing footpaths in Devon, planting trees and photographing the wonders of Snowdonia or dry-stone walling alongside Hadrian's Wall in Northumbria.
The Trust's Head of Holidays, Marianne Wanstall, said: "This increase in bookings is fantastic news. Our working holidays are not just an amazing opportunity to learn new skills but see behind the scenes of the National Trust, meet new people and enjoy unique experiences. The volunteering work ensures that our special places remain open, relevant and accessible."
As growing numbers of Britons choose to holiday at home amid the economic downturn, National Trust working holidays in the UK also provide great value for money, with seven night breaks available including accommodation, all activities and meals.
New additions in 2012 include a farming holiday which involves hands on experience of all aspects of farming with management of cattle, pigs and even emus. Families are also well catered for with some new holidays offering child friendly activities such as sand sculpture competitions, beach cleaning and orienteering.
Marianne Wanstall added: "We're really focused on providing unique experiences; our most popular choices are those with activities at their core, such as cycling, surfing, sailing, bush craft or photography. One of the real positives is the range of participants, from young to old, and we're delighted that there's been a major growth in our family holiday packages."
With 60,000 regular volunteers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, working holidaymakers join a huge tradition of volunteering with the National Trust.
Rob Clarke, holiday owner in the Lake District, said: "Working holidaymakers play a really valued role, giving up their time and skills to help us look after this special place. It's also fantastic to be involved with all the camaraderie and enjoyment that comes from the people taking part."
More information on the scheme can be found at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/workingholidays.
About The National Trust:
With more than 250,000 hectares of countryside and 710 miles of coastline across England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy days out with the National Trust. The charity is one of the most important countryside conservation organisations in Europe. It promotes environmentally friendly practises and cares for the diverse and rare wildlife that lives on its land. It also looks after for more than 300 houses and gardens, from workers cottages to stately homes, preserving not only buildings but the stories of the people who lived there. The National Trust also offers a range of holidays and days out, including camping holidays. These spaces inspire the Trust's 4 million members, 61,000 volunteers and 5 million other visitors every year.
The National Trust
SOURCE The National Trust