Haddon Hall rouses visitors’ interest with medieval deer park exploration

Haddon Hall will be one of the last stately homes in Derbyshire to reopen its doors to the public after lockdown – and its owners can’t wait to welcome guests back.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:09 pm
Lord and Lady Edward Manners. Photo by Ian Daisley.
Lord and Lady Edward Manners. Photo by Ian Daisley.

Visitors will be admitted to the historic manor house on July 1 after 20 months of lockdown, while the estate will host outdoor artisan markets this May, July, September and November.Lady Edward Manners said: “Due the medieval configuration of the hall and the access to the gardens, unlike many other stately homes, we weren’t able to open the gardens during lockdown and we are so looking forward to being able to welcome people back when everything is in full bloom."

A spectacular showcase of flowers and foliage, which were planted at the beginning of lockdown will greet visitors this summer.

The hall has received £83,800 in the second of two awards from the Culture Recovery Fund. Lady Edward said: “This second round has enabled us to cover essential overheads and will allow us to prepare the hall and reopen as if nothing has happened. Key activities such as training new staff, cleaning windows, painting walls and checking fire extinguishers have all been able to take place and it has given us the wonderful ability to keep our garden team on.

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Haddon Hall, near Bakewell.

“While the second round of funding covered the necessities, we were over the moon to be able to use the first round of funding to create a new ecological, educational and historical project, which visitors can experience from July 1. As part of their ticket, visitors will be able to go on a guided tour of the Medieval Deer Park, and for the first time, explore its ancient ecology and learn how Haddon fits within the landscape.”

Lady Edward admitted that lockdown was an unprecedented period for everyone at Haddon. “Prior to the announcement of the furlough scheme, it was truly terrifying and we were worried about our whole team, who are like family to us,” she said.

"Closing the gates felt incredibly strange and in a sense Haddon simply went back to sleep again. It was very quiet, there was an amazing imprint of silence and even some of the old musty smells started to come back.

"Once the furlough scheme ensured the safety of our team, lockdown actually provided a few positives for us – it gave us time to pause and reflect on its strengths and weaknesses, and pore over everything planned with a microscopic intensity that in normal conditions, we wouldn’t have had time to do. We were able to make decisions on what was working and what wasn’t and we spent a lot of time pulling in key individuals, from scientists to ecologists, to bring the Medieval Deer Park project to life.

“Although the hall was closed, we were delighted to support our local artisans with two markets, one in the summer and one at Christmas. As one of the only locations to be able to go ahead with our winter market, it was a truly special occasion, and the support from the local community was fantastic.“After this period of sleep, Haddon is ready to wake up and welcome people through its doors! We look forward to seeing everyone soon.”