Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Cash-strapped Wentworth Castle Gardens set to reopen

Wentworth Castle Gardens at Stainborough Image copyright Andrew Butler/National Trust Images
Image caption More than £17m has been spent on renovating the site since 2004

A tourist attraction that was taken over by the National Trust after a funding crisis led to its closure is set to reopen on 8 June.

Grade I-listed Wentworth Castle Gardens near Barnsley shut in 2017 only three years after a £3.4m renovation.

At the time, the trustees said it had not been making enough money to cover costs for a year-round attraction.

The National Trust has entered into a 25-year lease that will see it help manage and conserve the site.

The gardens were begun in 1708 by Thomas Wentworth and were regarded as among the finest in Britain.

Image caption The stately home is now home to the Northern College, an adult residential college
Image caption The Victorian conservatory featured on BBC Two's Restoration programme

The gardens feature some of the earliest monuments and follies in the country, including the ancient ruins of Stainborough Castle and an ornate Victorian conservatory, which was repaired in 2013.

The National Trust said it had been working with the Trustees of Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust, Barnsley Council to find a way to reopen the gardens and "nurture a sustainable future for them".

John Edwards, chair of the heritage trust, said: "I am absolutely sure I speak for all my fellow trustees and staff and for all our volunteers when I say how proud we are of our role in laying the foundations for the long-term future of this Barnsley treasure.

"It has taken a long time and hard work to get where we are today."

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The reopening will see the 63 acres of gardens and 500 acres of parkland accessible to the public

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