Charlie appears in the latest edition of the National Trust magazine, which goes out to all their five million members! This year the National Trust Working Holidays programme has been celebrating its 50th birthday, and though Charlie hasn’t been involved for quite that long, it is more than 34 years since she donned her scruffy t-shirt and shorts and started chopping back rhododendron and repairing footpaths in her spare time.
Her son David is also a volunteer, having gone on Family Working Holidays and then to Ysbyty Ifan Estate in Conwy on a Youth Discovery Break for 16–17 year olds. It’s he who’s written part of the article in this season’s magazine.
In the feature he recalls: ‘We spent three days clearing foliage to stop it smothering oak saplings, and uprooting invasive rhododendrons using mattocks, which are hand tools similar to pickaxes. We were allowed to go at our own pace, though I still woke up with aches in muscles I never knew I had.
‘In the middle of the week we had a rest day, and on the last day we went caving, climbing and zip-lining in an abandoned mine. A youth discovery holiday develops your social confidence, and the fact that most people are doing it for the first time makes it less intimidating.’
Charlie leads Youth Discovery Holidays, but also similar holidays for enthusiastic, energetic volunteers of all ages.
So please do check the National Trust magazine to see what Charlie looked like at 16; look up the National Trust website if you think you are cut out for a working holiday; and in the meantime, come to stay at the hostel here, walk some of the paths and enjoy the countryside that Working Holiday volunteers have helped to provide.