Ardress House – Re-rendering

Traditional skills are being kept alive with the re-rendering of Ardress House in County Armagh. A significant investment, from gifts in wills,  of £120,000 from National Trust supporters is recreating the original façade and restoring the house to its former glory. 

“When Dublin architect George Ensor built Ardress House in the 1700s, building techniques and materials were very different from those used in the last 50 years. The original façade was made of weatherproof materials to protect the walls, however in the 1960s a cement-based render was applied to Ardress. This left the building susceptible to problems with damp, cracking render and flaking paint, caused by trapped moisture. 

To ensure protection of the farmhouse a lime render will be used due to its distinct advantages over cement based render. Lime is less dense and more breathable and closer in strength to many of the types of material used by the Ensors when Ardress was built. The simple advantage of using a lime render is that it allows the walls to breathe and diffuse any water vapour that penetrates into them. 

Local tradesmen will carry out the essential repairs and it is estimated that it will take up to a year to complete.

Photo: Ardress House with final render – National Trust / Stephen Black.

Mount Stewart gardens

Thanks to a legacy gift from the late Mr Michael John Wilson, we have been able to progress our plans at Mount Stewart to display outdoors the most complete collection of sub-tropical ferns and tree ferns in the British Isles.

The project involved the planting up of an area of boggy ground and the provision of a path network to allow visitors access to this area when the ground is wet. 

Thanks to Mr Wilson’s legacy gift the fern collection represents a further horticultural and educational resource, the data from which will be shared with our National Trust Plant Database and other botanical institutions world-wide.

Mount Stewart Reunited with its Historic Demesne

In 2015, Mount Stewart’s world famous house and gardens were reunited with their historic demesne after more than 50 years. With a £4m investment from the National Trust, largely made possible through gifts in wills from our supporters, we have now been able to expand our ownership from 100 to 1000 acres and begin another new chapter in the story of Mount Stewart as we reunite the house and garden with its historic demesne. 

With history dating back hundreds of years the landscape now extends from the 100 acres which visitors are familiar with, to 1000 acres on the shores of Strangford Lough. In time visitors will be able to explore extensive woodland, previously unseen walled gardens, farmland and a range of historic monuments and buildings. This will eventually enable visitors to walk, ride or cycle around the old rides, and enjoy the beauty of the wildlife and wild flora of a totally unspoilt part of Northern Ireland
Combined with a newly restored house and one of the top gardens in the world – this will eventually create a destination which offers a fascinating insight in to the stories of the Stewart family.

Orlock Path, North Down

Courtesy of a charitable gift in his Will, Mr Dorman, has allowed us to significantly improve the visitor experience to the National Trust properties at Orlock and Ballymacormick Point both linked by the North Down Coastal Path/Ulster Way. 

The North Down Coastal Path runs continuously for 16 miles from Holywood to Orlock. Fifty percent of the population of Northern Ireland live within a 15 minute drive of the coastal path; data from visitor counters show that over 61,000 members of the public use this path each year.

This essential finance allowed us to replace the main flight of steps and enhance the pedestrian footbridge at Orlock, together with undertake essential path drainage and resurfacing along the worst sections of the coastal path which suffered significant damage due to the unprecedented storms and tidal surges we experience last winter

This project will greatly enhance sustainable public access, thus raising awareness of the importance of the natural environment, whilst promoting health and well-being through informal recreation such as walking and wildlife spotting.

The project also provided wonderful opportunities for Community volunteering and promoted sustainable use and protection of natural resources through our use of local, sustainable materials.  It will also enhance biodiversity, improve conservation and species management through the sustainable management of access to this area of special scientific interest.  

Leave a Reply