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West Berkshire residents can still enjoy National Trust gardens and parklands during coronavirus restrictions

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Houses, cafes and shops shut, but visitors are encouraged to enjoy the open air

Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere is closed
Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere is closed

VISITOR attractions are closing up and down the country because of the coronavirus situation, but although the National Trust has had to close its buildings it is keeping as many gardens and public spaces open and making them available free for people to enjoy.

In a statement the National Trust’s Director General Hilary McGrady said the National Trust’s pay-for-entry sites including houses, cafés, restaurants and shops, would close by this Friday, March 20.

Where possible the Trust is working to keep as many of the its gardens and parklands open, free of charge, alongside coast and countryside, to encourage the nation to enjoy open space if at all possible, while observing social distancing measures.

Hilary McGrady said: “The National Trust was founded 125 years ago for the benefit of the entire nation. We want to honour our mission – to enable people and nature to thrive.

“Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible.

“While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space.”

Local National Trust properties that are closed include Sandham Memorial Chapel, The Vyne, Ashdown House, Priory Cottage, Abingdon, and Basildon Park.

Cliveden House has put a statement up saying: “From March 21, until further notice, house tours, café, shop and play area closed. However, the garden and woods remain open to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures.”

The grounds at Hughenden in High Wycombe are also open for visitors to enjoy.

Other National Trust-run open spaces to enjoy include White Horse Hill, The Chase, Woolton Hill, The Coombes, Hinton Parva, Lockeridge Dene and Piggle Dene, and Avebury, where the manor is shut, but the grounds are open.

Latest updates at www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Blenheim Palace is not run by the National Trust, and currently The Palace, Park and Formal Gardens remain open as usual, but check the www.blenheimpalace.com for latest updates.

Other public spaces to enjoy closer to home include Greenham Common, although the tower and cafe is shut, and BBOWT have said that the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham building is shut, but you can still walk around the lake.
Snelsmore Common toilets are shut, but the reserve and car park remain open. Check their website for updates, www.bbowt.org.uk

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