The National Trust for Jersey was founded in 1936 in response to concerns about ribbon development. The Trust held its first formal meeting, headed by the Dean of Jersey Samuel Falle, on 3 August 1936, and was incorporated in the following year by the States of Jersey. The Trust is now the island's largest private land owner, caring for over 130 sites.
On 11 February 1937 the States of Jersey granted the organisation its Act of Incorporation, which stated:
- "The Trust shall be established for the purposes of securing the permanent preservation for the benefit of the island of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest, and as regards lands, for the preservation (so far as practicable) of their natural aspect, features, and plant life."
Currently the National Trust for Jersey owns approximately 1000 vergees of land, 16 buildings, and a number of pumps and lavoirs, acquired variously by purchase, gift or bequest. Its most recent major project is the restoration of 16 New Street in St Helier (purchased for £1 in 2003) to its original state as a Georgian town house.
In addition to its conservation mandate, the trust reviews planning applications "so as to prevent historic buildings and areas of natural beauty from being destroyed through unsuitable development". In October 2009 it organised the Line in the Sand demonstration at St Ouen's Bay to protest at unsuitable development of Jersey's coastline - nearly 7,000 people attended.
The Trust owns several farms which are of historic interest:
- The Elms is a former 18th century farm, in St Peter's Valley, and has been the Trust's headquarters since 1978. It is not operated as a museum, but some areas are normally open to visitors.
- Hamptonne is a country life museum in the parish of St Lawrence, and was purchased by the Trust in 1987. The museum is operated by Jersey Heritage. The earliest records indicate that a building was located here in 1445.
- Morel Farm. This working farm is located in St Lawrence. Some structures here were built in 1666.
The Trust owns a number of former military buildings on Jersey:
- Câtel Fort is an 18th century guardhouse, situated overlooking Grève de Lecq Bay.
- Greve de Lecq Barracks. In 1810, construction of Grève de Lecq Barracks was started, and a garrison was stationed here until the 1920s. The barrack buildings have been restored and are open to the public.
- La Caumine à Marie Best or Le Don Hilton, is a former guard house in St Ouen's Bay.
- La Ronce is a two-story 17th century granite cottage which is listed as a Site of Special Interest. The stone above the doorway has been incised with what appears to be the year 1621. The building has had further additions made, probably during the 18th century.
Jersey Wetland Centre
In 2012, plans were submitted to improve facilities at the wetland area known as St Ouen's Pond, in St. Ouen. The plans include a substantial upgrade of the existing bird hide. The costs are estimated to be £102,000, and funded by the Tourism Development Fund (States of Jersey) and the RBC Blue Water Project (Royal Bank of Canada).
The Trust has a small art collection which has been recorded as part of the Your Pictures project, housed at 12 New Street and The Elms.
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