Wentworth Castle Gardens to open on Saturday 8 June

The National Trust, Barnsley Council and The Northern College have today announced that Wentworth Castle Gardens – the only grade I listed park and garden in South Yorkshire is set to re-open to the public on Saturday 8 June.

For the last two years the National Trust, Barnsley Council and The Northern College have been working closely together with the Trustees of Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust, Barnsley CVS and other community partners to identify a sustainable way to nurture a new future for Wentworth Castle Gardens and re-open again as soon as possible. 

The National Trust has entered into a 25 year lease that will see them bring their wealth of experience in managing and conserving historic places.

The reopening will see the 63 acres of gardens and 500 acres of parkland complement the cultural offer of museums and visitor attractions in the region.

To celebrate the reopening and to take part in shaping how Wentworth Castle Gardens will continue to develop over time, there will be “101 ways to get involved”. Opportunities will include family, wellbeing, sporting and cultural activities during a visit, and the chance to develop skills from horticulture and land management to visitor and experience design. Thoughts and feedback will be continuously welcome to help shape Wentworth Castle Gardens’ future.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) says: “Wentworth Castle Gardens is of huge historic significance and also a well-loved visitor destination, so we are delighted that its future has been secured through our Partnership working.  The fact that here in Barnsley we will have the very first South Yorkshire property for the National Trust makes the collaboration even more special. 

The Partnership has worked hard in laying the foundations for a successful, thriving and inclusive visitor attraction.  Working with other heritage sites such as Barnsley Museums and the wider visitor economy, it really will put Barnsley on the map as a place to visit, stay and explore.

Its opening will have a huge impact on the local economy, first and foremost creating a range of new jobs, which currently stand at over thirty.  As well as this there will be a wide range of volunteering opportunities, which enable people to become activity involved in the project as well as learning new skills.

These are exciting times for the borough, which continues to thrive and develop. The re-opening of Wentworth Castle Gardens really does make Barnsley a truly unique destination.

We would once again like to thank the former Wentworth Castle Garden Trust and volunteers for their tireless work over the years.  Their hard work, determination and dedication has been instrumental in the development of the attraction.”

Joanna Royle, Assistant Director of the National Trust in the North says “since gaining access to this important and beautiful place in January, we’ve been working hard to put in vital infrastructure and visitor facilities and build on the great work of the Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust team of staff and volunteers. Additional support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has helped us prepare for opening.

It’s an exciting, long-term journey that we have committed to together. We have lots to do in the years ahead (including further conservation and facilities work and announcing a year-round programme of events) but recognised the importance of getting Wentworth Castle Gardens open again as soon as we possibly could. We can’t wait to welcome people to once again enjoy this vital green space as a place to explore, walk, relax, play and spend time together outdoors.”

Principal & Chief Executive of The Northern College, Yultan Mellor, says “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Trust and Barnsley Council to secure the future of this important and historic site in Barnsley.  Wentworth Castle Gardens is an asset to the town and we hope that both its visitors and our students are able to enjoy their beauty for many years to come.  We are looking forward to attracting new people from our community and the wider area to see what we have on offer at the college too.”

John Edwards, Chair of the Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Gardens Heritage Trust, says “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. It was over 10 years ago that Barnsley Council handed over the ownership and the responsibility for the renovation of the run-down Estate. Bit by bit over those years, buildings have been restored and the Gardens have come back to life. First, the Castle, followed by the Grade 1-listed Grounds and finally the crowning glory, the magnificent Conservatory. It’s been an important job, well done by all those involved, and it has brought the National Trust into South Yorkshire, for the first time, to add to the enjoyment of Barnsley”.   

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