The National Trust is intent on keeping as many of its gardens and parks open as it can – free of charge – during the coronavirus crisis.
All its pay-for-entry sites, including houses, cafes, restaurants and shops, will close by Friday March 20, following the government’s advice this week to avoid unnecessary social contact and confined spaces.
But director Hilary McGrady said the Trust was working to keep most of its coastal and countryside sites open ‘where possible’ to encourage people to enjoy open spaces while observing social distancing measures.
Lyme Park, Dunham Massey and Styal Mill are amongst the properties where the new rules will apply.
At Dunham Massey, in Altrincham, the house, café, restaurant, garden and shop will all be closed from Thursday March 19, but the deer park will remain open.
At Lyme Park, in Cheshire, the house, cafés and shops are now closed until further notice. The gardens and parkland remain open.
At Quarry Bank, in Wilmslow, the mill, apprentice house, Quarry Bank House, worker’s cottage, formal gardens, cafés, shops and toilets are closed. The wider estate and woodland remain open.
Ms McGrady said: “The National Trust was founded 125 years ago for the benefit of the entire nation.”
“We want to honour our mission – to enable people and nature to thrive. Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible. While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space.”
Today the charity released a further statement explaining that bosses hope to have a plan in place about availability by Friday.
“Many factors have to be considered when continuing to open, including whether the garden or park allows enough space for adequate social distancing,” they added.
“We’ll try to keep as many open spaces available as possible but this is a changing situation and we’re strictly following Government advice so please keep checking our website for updated information and always check the site before you visit any of our places. The wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors remains our top concern.”