Historic Wentworth Castle Gardens to close to the public

Wentworth Castle Gardens.
Wentworth Castle Gardens.

The historic Wentworth Castle Gardens estate is to close to the public due to a lack of funds.

The Grade I listed landscape, which dates back to the 17th century, will undergo a 'managed closure' before closing to the public in the Spring.

It is believed the stately home on site and the Victorian-era conservatory, which was reopened in 2014 after a £3.74 million renovation, will be shut along with the gardens.

The visitor attraction, based at Stainborough near Barnsley, is currently open seven days a week but estate bosses said they have 'not been able to make enough money' to keep them open.

They said they would attempt to fulfill all wedding and celebratory events already booked for this year. Details about any potential job losses have not yet been revealed.

John Edwards, chair of the Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust, said: "It is with sadness we have decided that the gardens will have to close to the public from Spring 2017.

“In recent years we have not been able to make enough money to cover the running costs required to manage the site and keep the gardens open as a year round visitor attraction. As a result of this, we are working with the support of Barnsley council to manage the closure.

“We would like to give assurance that every effort will be made to honour all existing weddings and celebratory events for 2017 and we will contact all parties directly."

But he added that trustees hope to find a way of reopening the gardens in the future.

He said: "We have taken this difficult decision towards a managed closure of the site in the expectation that a sustainable future can be found. We are working hard to ensure that this beautiful and historic Grade I listed landscape will be maintained and the gardens preserved for many generations to come."

Councillor Roy Miller, Barnsley Council's cabinet spokesperson for place, said: “An historic site such as this requires significant financial investment and maintenance and much has been achieved by a phased restoration of its gardens, parkland and unique monuments including the Victorian Conservatory. Despite being successful in securing funding to enable these projects to go ahead, the trust has not been able to operate within the budget available.

“A decision has been taken by the Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust to wind down, leaving an opportunity to find alternative ways of operating the site for future generations to enjoy.”