Exposed to global warming

From lack of snow on hill tops, through the arrival of exotic plant diseases, to deathwatch beetles munching their way through ancient treasured books, the impact of climate change is being felt in ever increasing ways, many of them concealed to most eyes.

From lack of snow on hill tops, through the arrival of exotic plant diseases, to deathwatch beetles munching their way through ancient treasured books, the impact of climate change is being felt in ever increasing ways, many of them concealed to most eyes.

But an important photographic exhibition created by the guardian of many of the country's treasures, the National Trust, is set to reveal some of the more obscure effects of global warming, as well as highlight the better-known consequences.

While debate may rage over the causes of worldwide warming, the results are becoming more evident and land and property managers are finding themselves at the front line of a battle to save our heritage.

National Trust properties at Brancaster and Blakeney Point are among the many locations which feature in the exhibition, which is entitled Exposed - Climate Change in Britain's Backyard.

The exhibition opened in London yesterday and will tour England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the coming months.

It includes all sorts of examples of the impact of climate change and environmental features, including:

Most Read

Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia, showing how snowlines are rising on hills and mountains.

Brancaster coastal flats, where coils of pipe which provide thermal energy for the nearby Brancaster Millenium Centre are hidden under the mud.

Lyveden New Bield, an Elizabethan lodge and moated garden near Corby, where there has been a major problem with flash flooding and drought.

A magnolia at Trengwainton Garden in Cornwall under attack from the exotic virus phytopthera ramorum.

An oak tree in the village of Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, which had an "extraordinary" number of leaves in its canopy despite the fact it was photographed just before Christmas, a sure sign of the absence of frost.

A book which has been attacked by deathwatch beetle grubs, a worsening problem because the beetles used to be wiped out by sustained periods of frost, but can now survive winter in great numbers. At Blickling Hall a team of conservators and volunteers cleans each page in 200 vulnerable books every year to remove eggs.

Among the 10 top photographers employed by the National Trust on the Exposed project was Paul Wakefield, who spent time at Lyveden, at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland and at Brancaster and Blakeney in Norfolk.

He said: "I think a lot of people, especially in this country, are noticing things changing, but on a slightly benign level.

"They see some different weather patterns and so on, but it is not necessarily immediately impacting their lives.

"But then you look into it and you find some fascinating effects. At Lyveden, they are having big problems with torrential downpours flooding and damaging the property very regularly. But because the rain is coming in large amounts in short periods, the moat is dry and the orchard is parched.

"At Strangford Lough, the cormorants and terns nesting on the low-lying islands are having their eggs destroyed because of the high water levels.

"And I gather that several historic houses are having to change their guttering systems to cope with the torrential rain we are having.

"But then you go abroad, as I have done through my photographic work, and you see places where the changes are really very dramatic.

"Not long ago I went to Iceland to a place I had visited three years earlier. In those three years the head of the glacier where I was working had retreated by 450 yards - a massive amount.

"The local people I was with said you could almost see it happening in front of you."

The exhibition is currently showing at Hoopers Gallery, which is in Clerkenwell Close in London.

Admission is free and opening hours are Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 4.30pm and with a late night on Thursdays to 7pm.

After May 11, the show will tour Nottingham, Bangor and Bristol this year and move to Belfast next year.

A sister poster tour will take in many more locations across the country. Details for the east of England are yet to be announced, but log on to www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more information and updates.