Frequently asked questions...

The Shepherds Monument, Shugborough, Staffordshire

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the conservation and changes taking place at Shugborough.

Q. I didn't know Shugborough was a National Trust property?

A. The estate came back into the full care of the National Trust last year on the 1 November 2016. The estate closed over the winter of 2016, while the National Trust began a programme of improvements to visitor facilities and to open up access on the site. Shugborough re-opened to visitors on 21 March 2017. The estate will open year-round, excluding Christmas Day.

Q. What work have you been carrying out?

A. Whilst the estate was closed we carried out a wide range of works across the estate. This included refurbishing the lodges on either side of the main gates, tree maintenance along the main drive, and improvements to the car park to create all-weather parking ready for year-round opening.The house team have also been busy conserving our collection and have re-opening the Lichfield Apartments. Tickets for the apartments are timed only and can be picked up at reception.

Shugborough's Lichfield Lodge
Shugborough's Lichfield Lodge

We also refurbised the cafe at Park Farm and the Mansion Tea-room, both are open daily serving a selection of food and drinks until 2:30pm (main meals are served in the Mansion Tea-room).

The MansionTea-room: improvement work in progress
The interior of the Mansio tea-room, showing it stripped out ready for installation

We have also built a new Visitor Reception building adjacent to the car park. The old Visitor Reception building is our new Plant Sales Centre.

We’re also been working on the Parkland Management Plan as we seek to restore the historic parkland. This work includes tree maintenance, as well as the removal of a large amount of fencing to open up access to the wider parkland. New fencing is currently being installed.

Q. Is there a car parking chage?

A. There is no car parking charge at Shugborough for National Trust members and non-members visiting the estate.

Q. Are we holding events at Shugborough?

A. As part of our work to restore the Grade I historic parkland we are reducing the number of large scale or commercial events that take place at Shugborough, as often these can have a negative impact on the conservation of the parkland. Instead we’ll be holding a wide range of lower impact activities that promote our conservation aims, as we do at many places we look after.

Q. I cannot see as many animals as I saw on my previous visits, where are they?

Our farm team have done an amazing job and recieved Freedom Farm Food accreditiation from the RSPCA. This means that our animals are living the highest quality of life possible. Part of this high quality of life means that they are out grazing in the Parkland, rather than in the pens at Park Farm. Our farm team rotate the grazing of the animals, meaning that they will sometimes move fields, depending on where they need to be. We hope that you can take the time to explore our Parkland and see our Longhorn cows, Southdown sheep and Dorkin chickens, which are in their coops at Park Farm.

Q. Will the Essex Bridge gate be open?

A. Yes. We recognise that this is a route that is much valued by local people and the gate from the Essex Bridge will be unlocked during normal opening hours, though this may be reviewed in the future. We ask members and non-members entering Shugborough this way to make their way to Visitor Reception to show their membership card or pay for admission to the estate.

Q. What are we doing about HS2 at Shugborough?

Through 2016 the National Trust had a team focussing on HS2 where it passes across the Trent valley near to Shugborough. We are concerned about the impact of the HS2 railway, through changes to views and noise affecting the historic setting of the Shugborough estate and through changes to the links between Shugborough and the rest of Cannock Chase AONB. The historic connections between Shugborough, Tixall and Ingestre will also need to be carefully considered by the Government as it develops its plans for the railway here.

We have appointed consultants Cookson & Tickner to work with us and our engineering, railway and acoustic consultants to develop possible ways to mitigate the effect of the railway in the area. If the railway does need to be built here, we think that a key part of good mitigation is excellent quality design that is thought about early and draws on consultation of organisations like ours and the local communities. We have told HS2 Ltd this in no uncertain terms.

The Government has said that it is planning to start the hybrid Bill, which would give HS2 Ltd powers to build and operate the railway, for this part of the railway in Parliament before the end of 2017, and there will be more formal consultation and petitioning following that. 

Through our proposals to HS2 Ltd we hope that they will be more proactive in their consultation with us and with local communities.