Visitors to National Trust places in Suffolk will be forgiven for doing a double-take this week – as they read signs telling them Keep on the Grass, Please Do Touch and RESERVED: for fun and games.
The colourful signs, which at first glance look like warnings or instructions, are part of a fun campaign by the Trust to encourage people to enjoy the natural world all around them.
The conservation charity also wants to challenge out-dated misconceptions that it is all about rules or is a bit stuffy. It aims to make it easier for families in particular to feel comfortable exploring the great outdoors by breaking down perceived barriers or restrictions. With thousands due to visit this bank holiday weekend and half term, it’s the perfect time to enjoy nature’s playground.
Ben Cowell, the National Trust’s Regional Director for the East of England, said:
“The National Trust cares for some truly special natural places, such as woodlands, heaths, parks, beaches, gardens, fields and nature reserves.
“All of these places come to life in May and June, with bluebells, buttercups, rhododendrons and roses in bloom, while some of our most colourful wildlife, such as songbirds and butterflies, start to make an appearance.
“We know from research that some people still view us as being very formal with lots of rules and regulations. I would encourage those people to come along and see how we have changed over the years. We are experts at conservation of our built and natural heritage but we also make sure that we offer enjoyment and access to history, wildlife and outdoor experiences too. We think these new signs are a fun, tongue-in-cheek way to help people reconnect with nature and enjoy our outdoor places to the full.”
The signs show messages like:
• ATTENTION! You will need this to spot the abundance of wildlife in this area
• QUIET PLEASE – and take time to hear the birdsong
• PHOTOGRAPHS taken from this spot look fantastic
• PLEASE DO SIT HERE – it’s such a lovely spot
Visitors will be able to spot the signs at Ickworth House, Melford Hall, Sutton Hoo, Dunwich Heath and Flatford from the end of May and throughout June.