British trust founded in 1895 for the preservation of land and buildings of historic interest or beauty, incorporated by an act of Parliament in 1907. It is the largest private landowner in Britain. The National Trust for Scotland was established in 1931.
The total income of the National Trust in 1995–96 was £151 million, of which £77 million was voluntary income (donations, legacies, covenants, Gift Aid, and charity shop income), making it the top-earning charity in the UK.
Under the terms of the 1907 Act, the Trust holds property ‘inalienably’, meaning that it cannot sell or develop property given to it except by an act of Parliament. In 1934 the Trust set up its Country House Scheme, and in 1947 a gardens fund. In 1997 the Trust in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland opened 300 of its properties to the public and it owned 909 km/565 mi of coastline.
In April 1997 the National Trust's ruling council voted unanimously to ban stag-hunting on its land after a scientific report it had commissioned concluded that the chase caused extreme suffering and exhaustion to the deer. The council has asked the government to set up an expert committee to reappraise the suffering caused by other kinds of hunting in the light of its findings. There are at least 2,500 red deer in the West Country, mostly on Exmoor and in the Quantock Hills, and their numbers have to be controlled otherwise they would destroy their habitat. The National Trust would preserve the red deer herd in good condition by culling and deer management.
About the National Trust
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