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National Trust to close parks and gardens to stop spread of coronavirus

The National Trust is to close its parks and gardens to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

The conservation charity took the decision ahead of Mother's Day, which it says would have attracted more visitors to its open spaces making social distancing difficult.

The closure comes into effect from midnight today (March 21).

Snowdrops at the National Trust's Ickworth estate
Snowdrops at the National Trust's Ickworth estate

At the start of the week the National Trust announced that despite closing its houses, shops and cafes, it would try to keep gardens and parks open.

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.

“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk.

“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

“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

“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. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.”

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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