Miranda sets the benchmark

VISITORS can now listen to the dulcet tones of a famous comedienne as they enjoy the great outdoors at a north Northumberland estate.

On Tuesday, the National Trust unveiled eight benches voiced by celebrities including one at Cragside to which Miranda Hart has leant her voice.

In a five-minute commentary, she declares her love for the outdoors during her recent bike ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

The BBC star said: “It was a very easy decision to get involved with the National Trust, not only because I love it anyway but the idea of being somebody’s bench mate and chatting to someone while they get to experience a beautiful view is a lovely, nay, tremendous idea.”

The wooden works of art have taken over six months to produce and are designed to individually reflect the celebrities – each engraved with three words their muse has used to describe the setting and subtle carvings that reflect their voice.

Tony Berry, visitor experience director of the National Trust, said: “It has been a pleasure for the National Trust to immortalise our very own national treasures. Millions of people come to our places for physical and mental refreshment every year and these audio benches will provide the perfect spots to sit and enjoy what the Trust has to offer.

“The individuality of each bench is what makes this idea so special and we are hoping it encourages those who are yet to visit the National Trust a little added incentive to go and experience our special places, properties and the great outdoors.”

For a selection of the audios, plus a behind-the-scenes preview of the project, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/benchmate