Frequently asked questions...
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about what's happening at Shugborough.
Q. Why are we closed?
A. The estate is closed over the winter period whilst we carry out maintenance and improvement works.
Q. Why are the main gates closed and locked?
A. Whilst the estate is closed we are carrying out a wide range of works, including 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.
To allow these works to take place we have closed the route along the main drive for safety reasons. Once all of this work has been completed we will reopen the pedestrian gate to allow permissive access to the main drive, prior to the whole estate reopening in March this year.
In addition, the bridleway known as the Staffordshire Way, which runs from White Barn Farm through to Great Haywood and is a Public Right of Way remains open.
Q. Is the bridleway still open?
A. Yes, the bridleway, known as the Staffordshire Way, which runs across the estate from White Barn Farm through to Great Haywood will stay open, as it’s a Public Right of Way.
Q. When do we reopen?
A. The estate will reopen in March this year. Once open, we’ll be staying open year round, closing only for Christmas Day.
Q. What’s happening while we’re closed?
A. We’re carrying out maintenance and improvement works including resurfacing the car park and installing a new ticket office, both of which aim to improve the overall visitor experience.
We’re also be 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.
Q. Will NT members get free access?
A. When we reopen in March National Trust members will be able to visit Shugborough and access the entire estate free of charge, just as they can at the other special places we look after. Trust members will not have to pay car parking charges.
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.
Though the estate was closed for Hallowe'en and Christmas in 2016, both of these events will feature from 2017 onwards, just as they do at many other Trust places.
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 so once the estate reopens in March the gate from the Essex Bridge be unlocked during normal opening hours, though this may be reviewed in the future.
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.