Tourists visiting the grounds of Lord Bathurst’s Cirencester Park will have to pay an entrance fee for the first time in 329 years from next month.
The estate in Gloucestershire, run by the Bathursts since 1695, will require non-local visitors to pay for a pass to access its stunning grounds after installing electronic gates on entry routes.
Earl Bathurst, known as Lord Apsley until his father’s death in 2011, is a keen conservationist who has campaigned to preserve the countryside and historic buildings.
He said The Telegraph The move will support restoration and maintenance works and he said he is “delighted to continue sharing Cirencester Park with the local community and visitors to the area”.
But the decision, which critics say will deter visitors, has not been without controversy; Countess Bathurst launched an extraordinary tirade against the manager of her own estate after becoming embroiled in a dispute with locals over the plans.
Tourists visiting the grounds of Lord Bathurst’s Cirencester Park (pictured) will have to pay an entrance fee for the first time in 329 years from next month.
Lady Bathhurst said she had received “some of the worst allegations of bullying and online defamation” she had ever experienced from Cirencester villagers after explaining the new initiative on Facebook.
He said he was being falsely credited with the move and had been the victim of “annoying bullying” on social media as a result.
“Now the blame is at my door, and I can’t let that happen and I’m getting little support from the estate office, who seem to be very happy for me to take the blame, so I’ll have to fight on my own.” battles,” Lady Bathurst said in a Facebook post in 2021.
“To tell the truth, they were not my choice either and I am very unhappy about it, but the decision was made and, as I have no say in the management of the estate, there was nothing I could do.”
‘I feel uncomfortable with the growing belief that this is all my doing. “It is not,” continued the countess. She then passed the responsibility directly to her property manager at that time.
A spokesperson for Bathurst Estate told the publication: “Bathurst Estate is committed to improving the visitor experience within Cirencester Park with the provision of new facilities, information points, family spaces such as a children’s play area and the picnic arboretum. at The Old Kennels, whilst retaining the character of a Grade I listed park.
‘The management and maintenance of private properties and parks is constantly evolving, with owners adopting new ways to ensure the continuity of their conservation and preservation work; Cirencester Park is no different.
The Countess of Bathurst (pictured with her husband, the Earl of Bathurst) had previously said she was being “falsely” credited with the decision to introduce a charge at Cirencester Park.
“The introduction of passes will support this, as well as the work of those employed to ensure the park is safe, trails are well maintained and visitor areas are clean, interesting and enjoyable.”
Visitors will need to purchase passes from March 15, and an individual Cirencester Park annual pass will cost £30.
A Day Pass will be priced at £4 for adults and £2 for children. Local residents can claim a Cirencester Park Community Pass.
The estate, reportedly worth £45million, extends over 15,500 acres of countryside intended to surround the main source of the River Thames.
Following news of the move, Andrew Hodges, who lives in Stratton, opposed the move, saying carrying an access card to access the park would be an “inconvenience.” The times reported in 2021.
Meanwhile, local Jeanette Jefferies said charging some tourists was a “petty decision”.
Lady Bathurst’s stepmother, the late Dowager Countess, angered locals in 2013 when she evicted doctors and nurses from the free car park at Cirencester Hospital (she owned the land it stood on) and turned it into a pay and drive location. exhibition.