The National Trust has blamed the heatwave of last summer for failing to hit its visitor targets, as it warned climate change could threaten the future of its sites.
The charity said admission incomes were down nearly £5 million against budget due to what it described as “one of the strangest weather patterns in modern times”.
Scorching temperatures prevailed over the UK from June to August last year, leading to widespread crop failures, wildfires and, it seems, an apathy for wholesome excursions.
Around 26.9 million people paid to visit National Trust sites in the year ending February 2019, short of the 27.4 million target it set itself, according to its annual report.
It said: “We had set a budget of £123 million for the year but the difficult weather conditions in the early season and the very hot weather in the summer affected our
visitor numbers - admissions income was down nearly £5 million against budget and our commercial contribution missed its target by £10 million.”
The changing climate was a recurring theme throughout the 94-page review amid concerns it could have a ruinous impact on the land which the Trust works to preserve.
The National Trust is one of Britain’s largest landowners and has committed itself to slashing energy use and minimising its properties’ carbon footprint.
Earlier this summer, it vowed to cease investment in fossil fuel companies - and now claims to get more of its energy from renewable sources than from “oil and liquid petroleum gas combined”.
However, due to the remote location of many of the National Trust’s holdings, the organisation conceded both it and its visitors would rely on fossil fuels for “some ye ..