I ought to be a natural member of the National trust. I like to see our important heritage buildings preserved and open to the public, without being a burden on the taxpayer. I want some of our beauty spots to be acquired and held by a long term trust that keeps them free of development and allows sensible use of them by the public for recreation.
Yet in recent years I have found myself in strong opposition to the management of the trust. I also like rhododendrons. The trust seems to hate them with a passion, and is set on rooting them out of its land, even where they are an improtant part of the landscape and have graced it with the beauty of their late spring blossoms and their dense evergreen foliage for so many decades.
In Berkshire the Trust has rooted out rhododendrons and some trees it objects to, leaving a much bleaker heathland landscape along with stumps and dead trees in the name of going back to some imagined past period of different and sparser vegetation. Realising some still object to this assault on our countryside, the Trust has now briefed the Telegraph that the rhododendron is a wicked carrier of Phytophthora, so it deserves to be rooted out before it infects the rest of our flora. Please will the Trust think again and end this victimisation? They claim the rhodo is not a native species. They are using all the worst techniques of black propoganda to make the rhodo an unwelcome presence in our land. They should remember that many plants like people came here from somewhere else at some point in evolution. They should be welcomed, not condemned.