National Trust closes all parks to stop coronavirus spread

Ickworth, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. After closing house and cafes earlier this week, all National Tr

Ickworth, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. After closing house and cafes earlier this week, all National Trust parks are now closed too Picture: NATIONAL TRUST - Credit: �NTPL/Robert Morris

Every National Trust site in Suffolk and Essex has closed to help restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Sutton Hoo is now closed to the public to help prevent the spread of coronavirus Picture: NATIONAL T

Sutton Hoo is now closed to the public to help prevent the spread of coronavirus Picture: NATIONAL TRUST/ROBIN PATTINSON - Credit: Archant

The decision was made to close every Trust location in the UK ahead of Mother’s Day over concerns the public would ignore social distancing advice and head to the parks with potentially vulnerable family members.

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National Trust sites in Suffolk and Essex that are now closed include:

The Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath were closed earlier this week by the National Trust Picture

The Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath were closed earlier this week by the National Trust Picture: CHRIS LACEY/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES - Credit: Archant

• Dunwich Heath

• Flatford Mill

• Ickworth House

The National Trust have announced they will be temporarily closing Ickworth Park Picture: PAUL GEATE

The National Trust have announced they will be temporarily closing Ickworth Park Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

• Lavenham Guildhall

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• Melford Hall

• Orford Ness

• Sutton Hoo

• Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

• Bourne Mill, Colchester

• Copt Hall Marches on the Blackwater Estuary

• Danbury Commons and Blake’s Wood

• Grange Barn, Coggeshall

• Paycockes House and Garden, Coggeshall

• Northey Island, Maldon

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At the start of this week the conservation charity announced that despite closing its houses, shops and cafes, it would work to keep gardens and parks open so people could access open space. However, it decided to go further on Saturday evening.

Director general Hilary McGrady said: “Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.

“Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother’s Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond.”

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Houses, cafes and shops belonging to the charity were closed earlier this week, but following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Friday that all pubs, clubs and restaurants would be closed, the Trust has ramped up precautions.

Ms McGrady added that the Trust would be taking measures to ensure that people did not lose their connection with nature, and that sites of natural beauty remained open “virtually”.

“We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible,” she she added.

“Over the coming weeks our digital platforms - our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video - will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.

“We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. “

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