The International National Trusts Organisation has recognised the National Trust of Guernsey’s restoration of Les Caches Farm as the winning entry in its Excellence Awards for 2019 in the Open House category.
The long-term project satisfied the core criteria of how historic places have been creatively reimagined to make heritage assets more accessible and how they are relevant in today’s society.
“A well-rounded project combining many different aspects of a National Trust’s work, including nature conservation and biodiversity,” said the Awards Jury.“After 20 years of perseverance, this Award has been long awaited and richly deserved.”The Jury were particularly impressed by the breadth of community partnerships and the National Trust of Guernsey’s commitment to teaching and learning alongside safeguarding the Island’s built, natural and cultural heritage at its Les Caches Barn site.The 2019 INTO Excellence Award (Open House) was awarded during the 2019 International Conference of National Trusts in Bermuda on 30 March. (The Award was collected from Dame Fiona Reynolds, INTO Chair, by Charles Alluto of the National Trust for Jersey on NTG's behalf.)
The restoration has given Les Caches Farm renewed purpose, with a range of social, cultural and educational activities now possible. In 2018, Les Caches Farm hosted an arts and crafts competition, focusing on the buildings and landscape features of the site to provide its subject matter, followed by an artwork exhibition within Les Caches Barn. The farmhouse kitchen has seen a few homely supper parties and a National Trust of Guernsey AGM followed by a splendid, fully-catered event for fifty guests with Dame Fiona Reynolds, past Director-General of the National Trust, as guest speaker. Acoustic music recitals have taken place, both inside the building and in the courtyard. Les Caches Barn has also proved an ideal and warmly-appreciated venue for a humanist funeral. Hundreds of visitors have been easily able to explore the buildings and freely enjoy the fields, the apple orchard and the reed beds, which form part of a designated Site of Biodiversity Importance. For 2019, we are developing an educational programme for Guernsey’s primary schools with visits between The Folk and Costume Museum at Saumarez Park focusing on Guernsey’s social history and then, cross-referencing Guernsey’s agricultural and pastoral history with a trip to Les Caches Farm. We will be involved with La Société Guernesiaise and the Pollinator Project on many aspects of land culture and nature projects. At the end of a twenty-year restoration project, the National Trust of Guernsey is proud to accept this Excellence Award on behalf of everyone who has been involved in so many different ways during this period. There can be no doubt that the restoration of Les Caches Farm has provided new opportunities for local residents and visitors alike to appreciate Guernsey’s heritage, social history and agricultural inheritance for many years to come.