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Trust us on countryside issues

In your item headed "Green with rage over neglect of country matters" (TES, October 6), you report comments by Jonathan Porritt that "the education of young people about countryside issues is in a deplorable state", and from Environment Secretary John Gummer that "the trust is losing some wonderful opportunities to teach".

With more than half a million pupils on curriculum-related visits each year, and 6,250 schools as members, we believe we are doing much to provide stimulating experiences to support learning.

Twenty-five schools now work on a regular basis with wardens as part of our countryside and coastal Guardianship programme, undertaking curricular and conservation-based tasks. Popular outdoor sites may receive up to 20,000 pupils per year, supported by education staff, study bases and resource material.

Of course, more can always be done and it is in that spirit which we have this year launched Minerva, our campaign for lifelong learning, to enrich and extend our offer - not just to schools but to adults as well. Countryside issues are a central part of this.

GARETH BINNS Education officer The National Trust 36 Queen Anne's Gate London SW1H

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