A massive clean-up operation is underway at Lyme today after the National Trust estate suffered serious flooding during the heavy rainfall on Wednesday 31 July. The estate was evacuated and closed to the public in the afternoon, with several visitors needing assistance from Lyme’s team of rangers after becoming separated from their vehicles by the rising floodwaters.
Today, Lyme remains closed to visitors, but National Trust staff and conservation specialists are onsite to assess damage to buildings, paths and roads throughout the estate, and begin the long work of cleaning up the debris and mud left by the waters that rushed through parts of the main house and the buildings around the Timber Yard.
Lyme’s many antiques and the beautiful mansion interiors were saved by National Trust staff working through the evening to shore up defences, but the 17-acre gardens bore some of the worst of the damage, with paths, fences and planting washed away by the force of the waters.
Lyme’s Lead Ranger Chris Dunkerley said, “This morning, there is widespread and extensive damage to paths and roads around Lyme, especially close to the streams and ponds that overflowed their banks. We’ve taken the decision to remain closed to ensure we don’t put any members of the public at risk, and so that we can start the repair work. At this point, we‘re unable to say when Lyme and the wider estate will reopen to the public, but we encourage members of the public to check our website before planning their visit.”
This isn’t the first time this year that Lyme has been impacted by extreme weather. Earlier in the year the hot weather and resulting dry grassland were key contributors to the large fire that broke out on the moorland at Lyme. The team at Lyme work tirelessly in these situations to ensure that the impacts on the Grade II* listed estate and buildings across Lyme are managed. Lyme’s 1,400 acres are a protected Conservation Area, as well as being a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS), so events like these are a major concern for the team.
Chris said, “It’s devastating when we see the place we work so hard to look after impacted in this way. The ongoing support of our visitors and members is even more vital at times like these, as we know recovery from the flooding will be costly to us. From buying a cup of tea to paying to visit the house and gardens, the money we receive means we can continue to care for places like Lyme.”
Members of the public are encouraged to check the website and social media channels for the latest updates on closures before planning their visit.