Changes to the Grounds 2016
12 Years of volunteering have seen many changes taking place at this fabulous grade 2* house. The grounds have been transformed from what was little more than a wilderness, to an inviting and peaceful garden featuring many rare and some nationally important planting. In 2016 the first major improvement for visitors entering the site is the resurfaced driveway which was completed earlier in the year. Preparation work was carried out by volunteers prior to the contractors’ resurfacing. Poltimore House Trust in conjunction with Devon County Council Transforming Lives Project, which brings volunteers to the site, received a grant from Public Health England to provide materials and equipment to assist volunteers with maintenance and improvement on the site.
Lately a small growing area has been created, edged by tree whips that will be cut back to form a hedge and also fenced with rabbit/deer proof fencing. Volunteers have constructed two polytunnels, one is up and running, and the other is nearing completion. A water supply from the site’s underground storage tanks is being connected. Volunteers will be encouraged to grow food to eat and for sale to visitors.
The grant also provided materials for “all weather” paths around the grounds, old drainage channels that had become blocked have been dug out and cleared and new pipes laid. Elsewhere safety improvements have been carried out in the car park to improve traffic flow.
Wet weather early this year hampered our activities. However we decided there was no better time to create a water feature around the natural spring which flows through the well in the orchard area. This involved clearing logs and undergrowth, then widening the banks to form a series of ponds and waterfalls down to the drainage channel that runs through the poplar tree avenue. The banks were planted up with irises and ferns. It is intended to plant more wild flowers in the area to encourage butterflies and bees. A lot of frogspawn was found in the boggy areas along the front drive and this was transferred to the new ponds resulting in a thriving frog population in this area.
On the historical side a small test pit has recently been dug by members of the Poltimore Estate Research Society (PERS) to establish whether a canal depicted in a 1716 Prideaux drawing did in fact exist or was just a suggested garden design. A wall has been uncovered proving that the canal did exist where it was estimated to be. Further research by means of ground penetrating radar equipment has recently been undertaken and results are currently being analysed. The pit has been left open for the time being for the benefit of visitors with an explanatory information board placed beside it.
Mowing the lawns and weeding flower beds are a constant requirement which we have struggled to keep up with this year. Anyone interested in helping with this work will be warmly welcomed to join the volunteer team. Please contact us email@example.com .
Britain’s Heritage Heroes
Poltimore House and its community of volunteers chosen as one of Britain’s Heritage Heroes
Poltimore House was featured on the BBC2 programme Britain’s Heritage Heroes on Wednesday 22 February 2012.
Back in September John Craven and Jules Hudson and the team burst onto the Poltimore House scene, to find out all about the huge volunteer efforts going into the project to restore the house and bring it back into use for the community of East Devon and Exeter. They met Friends and Trustees, heard about how the stucco in the famous Saloon was made (and now needs restoration) and learnt about the contribution of the Shilhay Community to the development of the Project Centre, created from renovation of the building that housed the 1908 kitchens.
John and Jules have been tracked on three heritage hero journeys across England and we saw what they made of Devon – and Poltimore House.
Tern Television says: ‘Devon is home to five areas of outstanding natural beauty and two national parks. It’s a stunning county filled with people keen to keep the heritage of every beach, bay and pasture alive. John Craven and Jules Hudson try traditional farming with shire horses, learn about the craft of cob building and visit two historic homes providing their communities with a place to enjoy once again’.
More information about the series can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01c32hw
Poltimore House needs your help! We have all kinds of opportunities for volunteering and welcome all skills and expertise.
Volunteers help with our many events (details on our website and leaflet), work in the grounds and on building renovation, and on organisation and administration. Come and hear about the project and what you can contribute, what new skills you can learn.
For further information contact Pat Wakeman, Volunteer Coordinator, Poltimore House, Poltimore, Exeter EX4 0AU, Tel: 01392 248938 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.poltimore.org
Poltimore House and Grounds has a history of volunteering since 2004. Today, The Poltimore House Trust is working with The Friends of Poltimore House, vulnerable volunteers, school children, students, charitable organisations, corporate volunteers and community volunteers. Many events, workshops and volunteering opportunities have given people the vital skills they need for employment, as well as the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, give something back to the community and learn new skills.
Why Corporate Volunteering?
Corporate volunteering is proven to have a significant positive impact on your business:
- Employees are excellent ambassadors for your company and their involvement in local volunteering generates positive attitudes towards your company
- Volunteering increases employee job satisfaction, which improves corporate culture and the recruitment and retention of employees in the long run
- Volunteering projects provide employees with a welcome break from their desks, while having fun collaborating with colleagues in a unique setting and making a meaningful contribution to society.
- Corporate volunteering helps to break down social barriers in communities, which translates to a more harmonised, efficient workforce.
Who are the current corporate volunteers at Poltimore House?
EDF Energy, The University of Exeter, The Royal College of Nursing and The Environment Agency.
Simon Tootell, Events and Volunteer Co-ordinator at Poltimore House, expressed recently to a group from EDF Energy how valuable the work of corporate volunteers is to the restoration of Poltimore House and Grounds:
“The Jigsaw may have 10,000 pieces, but every piece put back enables the community and other charitable organisations to benefit from their engagement with Poltimore House. The maintenance and development requires an army of people. Without the generous voluntary work of so many the project would be unable to move forward. With the imminent residential development in West Clyst and the construction of a new town – Cranbrook, Poltimore House will play a vital role in the provision of community engagement, learning and recreational space.”
Some feedback from EDF Energy volunteers:
I really enjoyed the day at Poltimore House. As well as discovering new things about each other in a new environment, I found the tour that Simon gave us and the history of the house fascinating. After hearing about the state the house was in when the Trust gained ownership in 2000, and seeing it today, it really shows what teamwork and dedication can achieve. The fact Poltimore House works in close relationship with the Shilhay Community and play its part of putting people back into the community really impressed me and was something I didn’t expect. I really hope we can go back next year and continue to work with this worthwhile cause.
I found Poltimore house to be a great team activity. There is always so much that needs doing, it caters for people’s different strengths and weaknesses, and helps the team to meet outside the EDF office.
If your organisation would like to volunteer at Poltimore House and Grounds then please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator by clicking Here