National Trust's Lyme Park suffers 'major damage' in floods

Flooding and the damage to paths at Lyme Park Image copyright NT
Image caption The floodwaters caused damage to the park's paths, gardens and buildings

A "massive clean-up" has begun at one of the National Trust's best-loved properties after flooding caused "major damage", the charity has said.

A spokeswoman said staff had to "shore up defences" at Cheshire's Lyme Hall on Wednesday, which was used in the BBC's 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice.

Most of the hall's antiques had been "saved", but paths, fences and plants had been "washed away", she said.

She added that sadly, Mr Darcy had not emerged from the waters.

Flood warnings remain in place across Cheshire and other parts of northern England.

About 19mm of rain fell in the North West over eight hours on Wednesday, following heavy downpours on Sunday and Monday.

Image copyright NT
Image caption Some plants were uprooted and swept away by the floodwaters

The hall was not badly affected, but the floods hit the wider estate, damaging the cafe, shop and toilets.

The property's car parks and some of the grounds remain underwater, with some plants having been carried nearly a quarter of a mile by the floods.

The spokeswoman said staff had worked into the evening to save the "many antiques and beautiful mansion interiors", with volunteers living nearby keeping watch overnight.

She added that the property would be closed for the time being to allow the charity's staff and conservation specialists to assess the damage and clear the debris and mud.

Image copyright NT
Image caption The park has been closed to allow the extent of the damage to be assessed
Image copyright NT
Image caption The work to fix the damage caused by the flooding has already begun

The estate's lead ranger Chris Dunkerley said it was "devastating [to] see the place we work so hard to look after impacted in this way".

"We've taken the decision to remain closed to ensure we don't put any members of the public at risk, and so that we can start the repair work," he said.

"At this point, we're unable to say when Lyme and the wider estate will reopen to the public, [so] check our website before planning their visit."

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