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Strong demand for parking spots expected as National Trust sites reopen

PUBLISHED: 16:47 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:47 19 May 2020

A buzzard spotted in the Orangery at Felbrigg, Norfolk. Wildlife is making itself at home in National Trust properties empty of visitors in lockdown, with some species returning to places for the first time in decades. Image: National Trust

A buzzard spotted in the Orangery at Felbrigg, Norfolk. Wildlife is making itself at home in National Trust properties empty of visitors in lockdown, with some species returning to places for the first time in decades. Image: National Trust

Archant

Some of Norfolk’s National Trust sites are set to reopen their car parks and grounds to visitors this week, as UK sites report an increase in unusual wildlife sightings.

Michael Buble, who was due to perform at Blickling Hall this July, has rescheduled his tour to summer 2021.  Picture: MARK BULLIMOREMichael Buble, who was due to perform at Blickling Hall this July, has rescheduled his tour to summer 2021. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

But because the attractions are expected to be popular, the trust has brought in a system where visitors have to book their parking space before visiting.

The trust is reopening car parks at Felbrigg Hall near Cromer, Blickling Estate near Aylsham and Dunwich Heath and beach on the Suffolk coast from Thursday, May 21.

The buildings and gardens remain closed but visitors will once again be able to explore the estates and surrounding countryside from the car parks.

A trust spokesman said: “Members will be able to book a space for free, while non-members will need to pay in advance for their space.

“The opening of larger car parks in England comes days after we started opening some of our smaller car parks in line with government advice, so people can access fresh air, open space and nature.”

The trust’s car park at West Runton and Beeston Regis Heath is open as normal with no need to book, but the trust has reminded visitors that spaces are limited and asked them to return another time if it’s full.

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Other sites including Sheringham Park car park and Oxburgh Hall remain closed.

Bookings for Felbrigg, Blickling and Dunwich Heath car parks can be made on their websites.

Meanwhile, the trust has reported an increase in the amount of wildlife making itself at home at its properties during the lockdown, with some species returning to places for the first time in decades.

A buzzard was even caught on camera tucking into its lunch inside the orangery at Felbrigg Hall.

Although buzzards are the commonest of the UK’s birds of prey, a spokesman said it was very usual for one of the birds to venture into the building.

Other unusual animal sightings across the country have included:

- Peregrines are nesting at Corfe Castle in Dorset for the first time since the 1980s

- Curlews have been seen at normally busy spots in the Peak District

- A pipistrelle bat has been recorded making itself at home in a deserted Lake District car park.


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