In 1885, Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley (who collected rents for Octavia Hill as a young man) worked together to raise public awareness of the railway developments threatening the Lake District. This collaboration led to the foundation of The National Trust for the Preservation of Historic Buildings and Natural Beauty, to hold land and buildings in perpetuity “for ever, for everyone”.
Today the National Trust has over 3.4 million members. It protects over 166 fine houses, 19 castles, 47 industrial monuments and mills, 49 churches and chapels and 35 public houses and inns.
The Trust also cares for forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves and villages. Protecting over 700 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in total the charity looks after 617,500 acres (250,000 hectares) of countryside, moorland, beaches and coastline.