Protecting Blickling Estate for future generations
It currently costs £2.8m to care for Blickling Estate every year, £115,000 of which is allocated towards maintaining the wider estate. Sadly, this sum is not sufficient for the National Trust to proactively manage the park, woodland, footpaths, and fencing as well as the car park and visitor welcome area to a good standard. More than 190,000 cars per year park at Blickling and, understandably, this puts enormous pressure on the facilities, has a detrimental impact on the estate and, at peak times, results in insufficient parking spaces.
Visitor numbers to Blickling have increased by approximately 70,000 in the past ten years. By charging for car parking at Blickling, as we do at many other properties, we will be able to put the additional funds raised towards the care, maintenance and conservation of the parkland and ensure that the parking areas are maintained. This charge is not unique to Blickling Estate, but is part of a national programme to look after our special places for ever, for everyone.
We would encourage all our regular visitors to become members of the National Trust. This would give you free parking, not only at Blickling, but at almost all other National Trust car parks including nearby Sheringham Park and Felbrigg; as well as free entry to all National Trust properties and car parks right across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Become a member
Membership of the National Trust can now be paid for by monthly direct debit. The cost starts from £5.40 per month (that’s about £1.25 per week) and includes unlimited access to Blickling and to more than 500 other unforgettable places, as well as helping to protect them for future generations.
Support our work
The money we raise from parking will directly support our conservation work here at Blickling. Over the next three years we will be spending a significant sum of money on improving the lake walk - our most popular visitor route around the park - and will indeed be making improvements to the car park surfaces.
We have already made some changes in the Woodgate car park; keeping people to the hard-standing and allowing the grass areas to recover by preventing people from parking there. We filled a number of holes at the entrance to Buck’s Common car park earlier this year and will continue to make improvements and repairs as they become apparent. It will also ensure we have enough rangers and resources in place to maintain and improve visitors’ access in the park.
Here are some other examples of where the money will go:
Better maintenance and upgrading of car parks and paths
Tackling invasive species of flora and fauna
Species monitoring, particularly of ‘indictor species’ – birds, butterflies and wildflowers that respond quickly to climate change; as well as our deer population.
Provision and maintenance of the new multi-use trail, which provides a wholly off-road route for walkers, cyclists and adapted wheelchair users.
Getting routine conservation work done more quickly, such as repairing fences and looking after our trees
We considered very carefully what the charge should be in order to sustain support for Blickling and the work the National Trust undertakes here. After carrying out some analysis of other car parks, we concluded that the flat rate of £5 to park your car to use all of the facilities on the estate for as long as you wish is very competitive.
Every time you scan your card, Blickling will receive an allocation of National Trust funds, which will be used to maintain and improve facilities and footpaths.
Scanning your membership card
Although National Trust members won’t be charged for parking, the new machines will enable members to scan their cards for a free parking ticket to display in their car. It really does mean that every time you visit and scan, you’re donating and helping look after this amazing place.
Planning for the future
We’ll also get a better understanding of the pressures on our car parks. Currently we have no way of monitoring the overall use of our car parks as we only have a record of the number of visitors who pay for parking. Scanning of membership cards for your free parking will enable us to understand just how many people are using our car parks and when, so we can better plan for future improvements.
We do hope that this helps to clarify the reasons for the introduction of parking charges, and we hope that you’ll feel able to support us in caring for this special place for ever, for everyone.