by Barbara Ballard

The National Trust, Britain's largest conservation charity, offers 2-to-10-day working holidays in more than 70 spots throughout Great Britain.

These working holidays give you a chance to learn new skills, like dry-stone walling, repairing footpaths, planting trees, cutting hay, gardening and more. You pay a basic fee for food and accommodation, which can vary from roughing it in tents, to a farmhouse, cottage or, perhaps, a 17th century village hall. For your fee you'll also receive a year's free entry to stately homes in Britain. It won't all be work - this is a holiday.

Fountains Abbey crypt

Hill walking, canoeing, mountain biking, rock climbing and sightseeing are just a few of the planned activities for volunteers. If you're 16 to 18, you can participate in special holidays for your age group.

You might investigate the sites of lost monuments using archaeological techniques of survey and excavation. Great on-the-job training.

Looking for something less strenuous? Oak Holidays are for over 35's and Oak Plus is for the over 50's. The National Trust also plays host to open-air events such as rural festivals, horse trials and concerts. Volunteers are eager to help, so these Event Holidays are some of the first to sell out. There's gardening on a grand scale, holidays for biology students, amateur naturalists and wildflower enthusiasts. In fact, for just about anyone interested in the outdoors and preserving the environment.

The National Trust holidays are so popular that early booking-January and February-is the only way to ensure you get what you want. People who have participated in the working holiday scheme talk of the new friends they make, the satisfaction of knowing they're helping conservation efforts, the lasting memories and the sense of accomplishment they achieve.

For a holiday brochure:
from North America call 011 44 20 8315 1111
or fax 011 44 20 8466 6824.

Address:
National Trust, P.O. Box 39,
Bromley, Kent BR1 3XL

For further information on the National Trust see: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Note: ©1999/2000 Barbara Ballard. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.