Hi! My name is Ian Hunt and I am the Outdoors Manager for the Hardwick Portfolio based at Hardwick Hall. I’m going to be writing a regular monthly blog to give you an insight into me and my role and how the ‘outdoors’ works here at Hardwick.
I am a long-standing member of National Trust staff, this being my 23rd year. I have always worked in the outdoors; first as a gardener eventually becoming Head Gardener here at Hardwick and for the past 7 years I have been Outdoors Manager. During this time I have seen the profile of the outdoors rise and fall where at certain times gardens were at the forefront, then the built structure environment was more prominent and now to the present where our current Land, Outdoors and Nature strategy has put all elements of the outdoors to the fore. It has always been a pleasure and a privilege to work for the National Trust in the outdoors and my current role now allows me to help shape the future of our natural environment.
My role is incredibly diverse; I can be walking in the park and garden doing the butterfly transects one day and deciding the long-term future of the estate and its portfolio in a 50 year visioning meeting the next!Butterflies are a personal passion of mine and something that I love to talk to others about. I love everything about them from their beauty to the fact that they are a barometer to how the natural world is developing. If the butterflies are happy the rest of the natural world is usually happy. I do recording and survey work for Butterfly Conservation and for the National Trust. I am also hoping to see all 59 butterflies that we see each year in the UK; I am currently up to 37. If you and your family want to get involved in the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ this summer, you find out more here. It’s a great activity for getting kids interested in life cycles and the wildlife around them.
I am really fortunate to have two excellent teams to help me deliver mine and the National Trusts thinking on a day to day basis. The ranger’s team manage the 2000 acre estate and the gardens team manage the 18.5 acre formal garden here at Hardwick and also the small country house garden at Eyam. Their role as with mine is incredibly diverse, from growing the plants for the borders and managing the woodland to helping out with events across the portfolio. The staff are supported by around 80 volunteers who are invaluable in helping us maintain and develop the garden and park.
So there you have it, a whistle stop introduction to my world and what I do. More outdoors fun to come including roses, Duck Decoys and Icehouses.