Preservation in the Pipelines at Charlecote

Looking out at Charlecote Park's house from the top of the Gatehouse

There are several existing and essential improvement projects happening at Charlecote Park that will benefit the collection, the environment, and your visits.

Things might looke a little messy as we make some improvements to Charlecote Park. Thanks to the support from your visits, memberships, and donations we are:

  • installing a new biomass boiler to do our part in tackling climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
  • restoring the Victorian heating system in the house to better control the environmental conditions inside to combat mould and pests
  • enhancing the information in our records about our collection, to better care for their history and origins
  • improving the car park to reduce surface erosion and install electric vehicle charging points
  • building a new Visitor Reception building with additional toilets and a 'Changing Places' accessible toilet
  • updating the fire alarm system in the house to future proof the care of the collection

Biomass boiler

We're preparing for the future and playing our part in tackling climate change by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels by installing a biomass boiler near the Wood Yard cafe.

Starting in November 2021 and due to be completed late spring 2022, the biomass boiler will result in a nett reduction of 140 tonnes of CO2 per year (that’s the equivalent carbon saving as planting around 6,000 trees)!

It might look a bit messy for a while as we need to dig a trench for the pipes to connect up from the new boilers in the outbuildings, to deliver heat to the main house. When the work is complete, there will actually be very little to see. All the pipes will be hidden underground, and the new boilers will be hidden within an existing building.

The biomass boilers will use compressed wood pellets from sustainable sources, which are combusted to generate heat energy.

The switch to wood pellets for Charlecote, is not only better for the environment, but will save us money that we can then spend where is it much needed, in looking after our property.

Wood pellets, grown through sustainable means, are classified as a renewable source of energy because the CO2 released is largely offset by the amount of CO2 it absorbed from the atmosphere while it was growing.

A view of the Wood Yard cafe, close to where the new biomass boiler will be installed

Heating a Victorian home

From 1 November 2021 until the summer 2022, the house will be closed to enable a new conservation-controlled heating system to be installed. The new heating system will see the Victorian radiators restored to work more efficiently and additional heating will be added to some areas. 

The current heating system cannot regulate the temperature effectively to control the environment within the house. This leaves the fabric of the building as well as the collection vulnerable to mould, pests and damage caused by fluctuating humidity and temperature (such as cracking, splitting and failure of joints in furniture).  

Before the work can start our collections team will need to prepare the house. With approximately 4000 items in the house all needing to be packed or protected this is no small task. 

All items will be cleaned using special conservation techniques before being packed or covered. The furniture will additionally need be moved so that the historic carpets can be rolled to give access to the floorboards. Even the wall mounted items (E.g., Paintings/Stags heads) will need protecting from the dust produced by the works, so scaffolding will be erected to access them and they will be cleaned and covered. 

This new heating system will mean that the house and collection can be enjoyed by all for many years to come. It will also reduce our reliance on oil and electricity, helping Charlecote to play its part in the global fight against climate change.

This vital conservation work would not be possible without your support, thank you! We hope you can visit the house when we reopen in the summer of 2022. 

Removing mould is an ongoing part of our conservation work
Charlecote's conservation assistants constantly work at keeping mould at bay
Removing mould is an ongoing part of our conservation work

Car park improvements & Visitor Reception

This winter, we’re starting work in the car park to create an all-weather surface to make parking easier for visitors all year round, especially in the winter, and to reduce erosion when it’s wet. We’ll also be installing two electric vehicle charging .

The project plan also includes installing a new Visitor Reception building and toilets, including a ‘Changing Places’ accessible toilet.

The accessible car park spaces and electric vehicle charging points will move closer to the new Visitor Reception building, which will be installed later in the project. So for a short while, until the new welcome space and toilets are built, the accessible parking spaces will be a little further away from the current Visitor Reception building. These improvements will also feed into our plans to reinstate the original approach to Charlecote.

If you need any assistance with access while we make these improvements please let us know, ahead of your visit by emailing charlecotepark@nationaltrust.org.uk

Our car park can barely cope on busy days at the moment
Follow the progress of Charlecote Park's new project to improve visitor experience
Our car park can barely cope on busy days at the moment