Fast forward to 2015, and what do we think is the biggest challenge the nation faces, in which the National Trust we can play a part? It's not saving great houses any more, though we need to make sure that people carry on enjoying them and feel that the past they represent is still relevant to their lives today. No, the threat is to the health and beauty of our countryside.
Pretty much every beach had some birds washed up. At Ashridge, one of the oldest beeches fell along with hundreds of other trees. Some of our ancient and veteran trees succumbed in quite spectacular ways, with their sheer size meaning their falls resulted in a domino effect, the aftermath of which we are still dealing with in some places.
I've never been a huge fan of the butterfly effect. The idea that small changes have big effects - like the eponymous fluttering of distant butterfly wings creating the appearance of a hurricane weeks later - can, I have always felt, lead to rather pessimistic thoughts. At its worst, blaming momentous events on a butterfly lets us abrogate our responsibility to tackle big problems with the phrase - "Oh, there's nothing I can do about it".
This place, which in area is the same as 50 football pitches, is dripping with the history that encapsulates the story of the British Isles... These jewels in the National Trust crown have drawn people for a huge variety of reasons. Whether as a place to escape the rat race, a place to be at one with nature or a place to fire the imagination.
When you ask for directions to your hotel and the reply is: "Turn left at the fountain and head straight for the grand entrance", you get the sense that something pretty spectacular lies at the end of the driveway. Sure enough, Cliveden House - a majestic neoclassical country house, perched within 376 acres of National Trust parkland - is no let-down.
Millions of us spend a fair amount of time daydreaming about being at the coast. Living by the sea with those views into what appears to be infinity and the dreamy sunrises and sunsets has enchanted generations. And yet that sense of things always being the same at the seaside, a constant in a turning world, seems to be changing.
I catch up with Thomas Dolby for a chat about the making of The Invisible Lighthouse and the tour of the same title. We discuss the She Blinded me With Science musician's life long fascination with technology, working with Joni Mitchell and how the 'free jukebox of everything in the world' has forever changed the face of music.
Playing outdoors is good for children. It makes for happy, healthy kids. Yet still we persist in letting them stay indoors. We're scared to let them play anywhere other than their bedroom or the garden, where we can keep a keen watch over them. My mother roamed in about 50 square miles. I roamed in one square mile. My two children are free to roam just in 18 square yards.
When you become a parent your children become the most precious thing you have, and it's natural to want to protect them. But is it possible to be too protective? Is there a link between 'cotton wool kids' and the shortage of practical skills demonstrated by those who want to do apprenticeships or study science and engineering at university? I think there could be.