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Parkland to be reopened by National Trust – but stately homes still closed

PUBLISHED: 00:01 29 May 2020

Ickworth Park and gardens are to be reopened by the National Trust next week. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Ickworth Park and gardens are to be reopened by the National Trust next week. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

The National Trust is starting to reopen some of its countryside and parkland – but visitors will have to book in advance to ensure they are able to park while maintaining social distancing.

National Trust properties have been closed since the lockdown started – although some of their land is crossed by public footpaths that have remained open at all times for local residents to use as part of their daily exercise.

But now it is opening some parkland as the first stage of a gradual reopening from next Wednesday, June 3.

In this region it means the Sutton Hoo estate near Woodbridge, Ickworth Park and gardens near Bury St Edmunds, Anglesey Abbey Gardens near Newmarket, and Wimpole Hall park near Cambridge are all open.

The stately homes themselves, cafes, and shops are not yet able to open – but some toilets are open at most properties although they have limited space because of new hygiene measures.

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Dunwich Heath car park has already been opened with people having to book in advance.

Booking is free for members and has to be paid for online by non-members.

National Trust Director General Hilary McGrady said: “We want to provide safe, local, welcoming spaces for people, and wherever possible we will open our gardens and parks, and coast and countryside car parks.

“The fresh air, bird song, big skies and open spaces people have missed will be there, but things will be very different, particularly at first. We want to thank people for their patience and support while we gradually begin reopening and welcoming our visitors.”

The Trust hopes to reopen more sites over the next few weeks – but reopening the properties themselves will have to wait until there has been a major relaxation to lockdown rules.

Ms McGrady added: “I am so thankful that our members and supporters have stood by us as we work through these unprecedented times. We know they desperately want to return to our places, and we need their support to do our vital conservation work to look after the coastline, countryside, rivers and properties in our care.

“Like so many other organisations, the Trust has been badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown, not least our vital conservation work and our finances. Reopening is the first phase of our recovery, and we need our members and supporters to help us make this gradual transition a success so we can get back to offering nature, beauty and history for everyone.”


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