Our plans for Shugborough

A view across the lake to Shugborough Hall

With Staffordshire Council surrendering their lease of Shugborough and handing it back to the National Trust in November this year, we’ve got big plans for Staffordshire’s most complete working estate.

The ancestral home to the Earls of Lichfield, Shugborough is the most complete, well-known and important estate in Staffordshire. It includes a Grade 1 Listed Park and Mansion and the Grade 2* Park Farm and Walled Garden.

The estate covers 900 acres which includes residential properties, a tenant farm, an outdoor education centre and extensive woodland, as well as 25 other listed buildings, bridges and monuments such as the Triumphal Arch and the Tower of the Winds.

The Triumphal Arch at Shugborough
The Triumphal Arch on the skyline at Shugborough
The Triumphal Arch at Shugborough

Owned by the National Trust, but leased to Staffordshire County Council in 1966, Shugborough has seen falling visitor numbers over recent years. On top of this, significant cuts to local authority funding meant the council could no longer afford to manage Shugborough, so are surrendering their lease at the end of October 2016 (49 years early), saving them around £35m in operating costs.

By introducing the National Trust operating model, which is proven to work at the 350 other special places we look after, we believe that Shugborough can once again become the jewel in the crown of Staffordshire.

To achieve this, we are going to close the estate in November 2016 to allow works to take place, before reopening in March 2017. This work will include improvements to parking arrangements, removing unnecessary fencing, opening up access and creating new walks that take in some of the key features and views across the estate.

Longhorn cows are a traditional feature of the landscape at Shugborough
Longhorn cow grazing at Shugborough
Longhorn cows are a traditional feature of the landscape at Shugborough

So that these improvements can be done safely, the entire estate will be closed whilst this work is carried out, although the bridleway, a public right of way that runs through the estate, will remain open.
When Shugborough reopens in March 2017, it will stay open year round, closing only on Christmas Day. This makes the estate much more accessible, much more of the time. So, although there won’t be any festivities for Hallowe’en and Christmas in 2016, they will both form part of our packed programme of activities for 2017 and onwards.

Additionally, once Shugborough reopens National Trust members will be able to park and visit the entire estate for free; as they can do at so many of the other places we look after.

Creating a vibrant and sustainable Shugborough is not going to happen overnight, so the estate won’t be completely transformed on the first day of opening. Instead we invite you to join us on the journey as we work to create a viable and sustainable estate which is protected for ever, for everyone.