Above: National Trust Staff inspect damaged pipes and drains in the garden. National Trust Images ⓒ Mark Waugh
Lyme is planning to reopen to the public on Monday 12 August, thirteen days after the estate was evacuated and closed during the heavy rainfall at the end of July – when flood waters rushed through several areas of the estate – in particular the formalgardens, car park and parts of the Timber Yard.
Since then, National Trust staff and volunteers as well as external contractors have been working hard to repair the damage. Paths, roads, walls and fences have been swept away by the force of the water, and tonnes of mud, debris and stone have been left behind by the torrent.
Lyme’s sweeping moorlands and grassy meadows, home to their famous herd of red deer as well as highland cattle, sheep and a host of wildlife will be open. However, some popular sections of the park including the Crow Wood Playscape, remain off-limits where fallen trees and collapsed walls still pose potential dangers. Lyme’s ranger team are asking members of the public to take notice of any closure signs across the park. Large parts of the garden are now accessible, and will feature a circular route which will take visitors past some of the areas still being repaired.
The interiors of the house were undamaged by the floodwaters, so people will be able to fully explore the historic mansion and visit the current exhibition exploring the history of the Lyme Sarum Missal, the most important printed book in the National Trust’s collection.
Deborah Maxwell, General Manager for Lyme, said “We’re been so moved by the well wishes that we’ve received from people locally, from across the country and around the world. Lyme is a special place in the hearts of many people, and our team is working hard to ensure that visitors will continue to find peace and enjoyment here at Lyme. We still have a daunting task ahead of us, and the support of our members and visitors is even more vital at times like these. Every visit, donation or even a cup of tea in our café helps us to continue to look after Lyme both now and for the future.”
The ongoing clean-up and repair work has meant that many of Lyme’s events and activities across the summer holidays have been affected. This has included the difficult decision to cancel upcoming performances of the family theatre experience The Lost Words: Told in Gold, which was due to take place in the gardens later this month. The premiere performances of The Lost Words: Told in Gold are now set to take place at nearby National Trust property Dunham Massey on Monday, 21st October to Friday, 25th.
Lyme’s team of staff and volunteers are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Lyme. Deborah said “We’re excited to see Lyme lively once more. To those who have donated, and anyone planning to visit, thank you for your support – it is hugely appreciated.”