An exciting year for Shugborough

It’s an exciting time for Shugborough. The estate came back into the full care of the National Trust last year on the 1 November 2016. Over the winter the estate closed 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.

As a conservation charity, the National Trust’s key aim is to restore the Grade I listed parkland and tell the history of the estate and the Anson family;  of two brothers, Admiral George Anson whose success at sea enabled his brother Thomas to realise his vision for ‘A perfect paradise’ and ‘arcadia’ and the Shugborough we see today.

The Shugborough Estate is one of the few historic places in the United Kingdom to have a Grade I listed parkland. This significant landscape includes unique monuments and follies that were very much at the forefront of eighteenth century parkland design.

Conservation and improvements carried out over the winter meant that Shugborough was able to open in the spring. However, this is just the start of the journey for Shugborough as the conservation of the whole estate is a long term project that will continue to be carried out over the next ten years.    

" All of us at Shugborough invite you to join us on this exciting journey as we continue to develop this special place over the next ten years. We're excited to show you the changes and work that has taken place over the winter and spring, and the important conservation work that we're continuing to carry out! "
- Hayley Mival, Project Manager for Shugborough

What have we been up to?

Outdoor conservation work

Over the winter work included reducing fencing to open up access across the parkland and the introduction of new walks. Visitors will be able to walk through new areas; such as up to the magnificent Triumphal Arch to admire the views as they would have been intended at the time of the Anson brothers.

Essential tree works have been a vital part of outdoor conservation work and will still be ongoing in some specific areas after opening in order to fell diseased or dead trees and ensure visitor safety as well as creating sustainable wildlife habitats.

Park Farm has achieved RSPCA Freedom Foods status which they have successfully. This ensures that the high standards that the cattle and sheep should be kept in have been met.

Work on paths has taken place in front of the mansion and in the formal gardens to improve access. The garden team have planted 8,000 bulbs over the winter – look out for splashes of colour in the garden during as we come into spring and summer.

Working with the local community

Local school, Anson Primary spent a day at Shugborough helping us plan the new Explorer’s Wood natural play area.  The children came up with some wonderful ideas and suggestions that have been pivotal in the new play area design which will reflect the theme of travel and adventure that is at theheart of Shugbrough’s history.  We’re working on the play area throughout spring and we hope to have it ready for May half-term.

Local families have taken part in a ‘Family muck in day’ and helped us to move logs so we can create important wildlife corridors in the Arboretum prior to opening.  

Inside the mansion

We’ve also been carrying out conservation inside the mansion. This work will mean that we are better able to tell the story of the two Anson brothers, George and Thomas, who built Shugborough. Thomas inherited Shugborough in 1789 and almost immediately began a major reconstruction on the house and parkland to create his vision for Shugborough. Visitors are invited to embark on a journey to explore the ground floor of the mansion and learn more about Admiral Anson’s circumnavigation of the globe and his infamous capture of a Spanish galleon ship and its treasure. The funds created from George Anson’s successful venture at sea enabled Thomas to realise his passion for Greek revival and lead the way in its architectural and parkland design.

In the mansion vital conservation work to the Lichfield Apartments, as well as to ensure visitor safety are continuing, and we hope to open the apartments to visitors this summer.

Visitor facilities

We’ve also been improving the visitor facilities at Shugborough. This includes a new car park, and the refurbishment of both the Park Farm Café and the Mansion Tea-room.

The newly refurbished Mansion Tea-room at Shugborough
The newly refurbished Mansion Tea-room at Shugborough

When you arrive, you’ll be warmly welcomed at our temporary Visitor Reception. As you make your way onto the estate you’ll pass the new Visitor Reception building taking shape just along from the temporary Reception.

A previous Visitor Reception building adjacent to the Walled Garden will become a Plant Sales shop selling plants and produce from the Walled Garden and we hope to have this open late spring. 

We’ve also refurbished our National Trust shop. You’ll find it up in the Midden Yard near the mansion.

Inside the National Trust shop at Shugborough
Inside the National Trust shop at Shugborough

We’ll be updating our website throughout the year with more information about our conservation work and developments at Shugborough. But don’t take our word for it, visit us and let us know what you think!