UPDATE: 7 National Trust parklands in Warwickshire **now closed**
Free entry and car parking was announced at many National Trust gardens and parklands - but it has since taken the decision to close to reduce covid-19..
***PLEASE NOTE**** Since publishing The National Trust announced yesterday (Sunday March 22) it was closing its parks and gardens to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
Director-General Hilary McGrady said: “Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.
“Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today and I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother’s Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond.
“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk.
“We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible.
“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.”
The National Trust announced this week that it is opening as many gardens, parklands and coastline open as possible, free of charge and dropping all car parking charges, despite needed to close all houses, cafés and shops due to the coronavirus.
The charity is advising us to observe the government’s social distancing policy but acknowledge that being outside in nature is good for our wellbeing and we’re all going to need a little help with that right now! ( #everydaywildlife and #solaceinnature)
We’re blessed in Warwickshire with some great National Trust places to visit and here are a few of our Muddy favourites – just remember to pack a flask and a sandwich!
Here are 7 National Trust parklands to visit right now in Warwickshire – for free:
The Lowdown: A grand 16th-century Grade II country house originally owned by the Lucy family, surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon near Wellesbourne, 4 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon and 5 miles south of Warwick. The house, outbuildings, Orangery restaurant, Wood Yard cafe, visitor reception, Servants’ Hall shop and Avenue Plants are now closed until further notice.
Details and opening times: For a trial period the parkland will remain open for you to enjoy from 9am-5pm each day for free, while observing social distancing measures. The peaceful riverside deer park is a wildlife haven with an easy 1hr walk available to download here.
What to see? A herd of fallow deer has been at Charlecote for centuries, there’s also rare-breed Jacob sheep and a small herd of rare-breed Devon Red Polls. See if you can spot kingfishers and herons on the rivers and lake (bring binoculars). The sheep and deer are currently pregnant. Dogs need to be kept on leads at all times. Check out a dog-walking guide here: Charlecote dog walking route leaflet (PDF / 2.7MB)
The Lowdown: A moated Tudor eight miles north of Warwick. During the reformation the owners, the Ferrers family, were known to shelter Catholic priests and several priest holes and secret passages were built in the house. The house, café, shop, gardens and toilets are closed.
Details and opening times: The parkland remains open during normal opening hours, while observing social distancing measures. Limited hard standing parking only.
What to see? A secluded estate set in the Forest of Arden (featured in many of Shakespeare’s plays – most notably As you Like it). Check out several walking routes here. Kids will like the woodland play area and animal sculptures. Open farmland and woodland, lakes and ponds, are home to a rich variety of wildlife from ducks to deer.
The Lowdown: This imposing Tudor house has been home to the Throckmorton family for more than 600 years. They facing persecution for their Catholic faith with tales of the infamous Gunpowder Plot. The Throckmorton family still live here today. The house, café and shop are now closed.
Details and opening times: The beautiful gardens excluding the Walled Garden, parkland and toilets remain open, during normal opening hours, while observing social distancing measures. Limited hard standing parking.
What to see? Try one of these walking trails. A beautiful display of spring flowers, including 2,000 daffodils, tulips and roses in the award winning gardens and countryside walks round an ancient bluebell wood, an historic 14th century dovecote and two churches. The bluebells usually look their best from late April/early May.
The lowdown: A restored timber-framed Tudor house near Lapworth known for its Yew Garden with more than 100 trees laid in the 17th century.
Details and opening times: The house, café and shop closed from 5pm on Fri 20 Mar. The gardens, excluding the yew and kitchen garden, parkland and toilets remain open, during normal opening hours, while observing social distancing measures. Limited hard standing parking.
What to see? Enjoy one of these walks, wildflower meadows, an abundance of red and yellow spring flowers Get muddy on a woodland welly walk, bring your dog, take in the Stratford-upon-Avon canal or a gentle stroll through rolling countryside to St Giles Church.
UPTON HOUSE AND GARDENS
The lowdown: A country house in the hamlet of Upton on the Warwickshire and Oxfordshire border, near Banbury. The estate was bought by the son of Shell oil founder, Marcus Samuel in 1927 – the second Viscount Bearsted. It was donated to the National Trust by the family in 1948, together with an outstanding art collection. The impressive terraced garden was transformed by Kitty Lloyd-Jones for Lady Bearsted in the 1920s and 1930s.
Details and opening times: The house, gardens, café and shop are now closed. But the car park will remain open 10am – 5pm daily for you to access the public footpaths across the surrounding countryside for free, while observing social distancing measures.
What to see? Enjoy a short, panoramic walk from Upton House to view the site of the historic Battle of Edgehill, take the ley line walk or go for a countryside ramble. See walking trails here.
The lowdown: A lovely and rare 14th-century circular dovecote with more than 580 nesting holes, near Alcester.
Details and opening times: 9am – 5pm, daily, £1 donation. No toilet, dogs allowed, parking is limited.
What to see? It’s the only remaining relic of a moated grange belonging to the Abbey of Evesham. Make the most of your day by visiting nearby Coughton Court, a 10 minutes drive away.
The lowdown: A lovely golden-coloured Grade I listed 17th-century country house built by William Holbech and redeveloped by architect Sanderspn MIller, on the Warwickshire/Oxfordshire border near to Banbury with landscaped gardens. A restoration plan for the historic parkland has been underway.
Details and opening times: Farnborough Hall and garden is closed but the wider estate will remain open (Sat Nav: OX17 1DU)
What to see? Take in the Grade I listed parkland, mile long terrace and local landscape on an easy 5.5mile circular parkland walk with outstanding viewpoints (3 – 4 hrs). Good for picnics.