Dyrham Park roof project 2015/16

The rooftop walkway is a must do at Dyrham Park

A fully accessible rooftop walkway in the scaffolding at Dyrham Park allowed everyone to see conservation in action during the 2015/16 roof project.

When looking into creating some sort of feature out of the scaffolding structure here at Dyrham Park we considered many options ahead of launching a fully accessible rooftop walkway.

Inspired by our colleagues down at Castle Drogo in Devon and Croome in Worcestershire who’d opened a scaffold viewing platform and sky café, we turned our attention to a scaffold walkway – a solid platform which you could circumnavigate the building on.

We were keen not to exclude people on the grounds of health, mobility, age, height and family situation (parents with little ones) which meant installing a lift into the scaffold structure.

Fully accessible rooftop walkway

From May until Dec 2015, anyone not afraid of heights was able to go up on the fully accessible rooftop walkway on the scaffolding around the house and watch the builders stripping 46 tonnes of lead and 8,000 Welsh slates from the roof, before repairing and rebuilding it.

The solid walkway, which was 230 metres long, was all on one level and gives great views of the split level roof. There were two large 7.5 metre viewing platforms looking out over the ancient deer park and the formal West garden with its picturesque ponds and Perry pear orchard. On a clear day, you could see across to Bristol and beyond.

It took a team of just five scaffolders (from SGB scaffolding) almost four months to complete the mammoth plastic wrapped structure (wrapped by Tufcoat) to allow the builders to set to work replacing the roof.

Major conservation project

The project to replace the roof also includes repairs to the stonework on the building and replacing the old and inefficient heating system with a new biomass boiler, which will provide proper conservation heating of the house for the first time.

The entire project, which cost £3.8m, was completed in mid-2016 - safeguarding the future of the 17th-century house, its original Dutch-inspired interiors and an important collection of furniture and paintings collected by 17th-century Government Administrator William Blathwayt.

Colette Cuddihy, the National Trust’s project manager said: “This is a major project for us – the roof is 150-years-old and we’d expect the new one to last at least as long. It provided a unique chance to see Dyrham Park like never before.”

Please note, the project is now complete and the rooftop walkway and scaffolding has been taken down. Thank you to everyone who supported the project.