Thursday, January 29, 2009

No longer possible

A great controversy has opened up locally with the news this week that Trentham Gardens are to charge visitors to walk around the lake. Up until now this area of the estate has been free and, as you will know from many posts throughout this blog, we have walked there often, sometimes a couple of times a week, but from March this will no longer be possible.

The people who own and run the estate have decided that the lakeside will become part of the Italian Gardens area and therefore offer the people paying to visit the gardens more for their money. I suppose I can see the logic of this but where does that leave all the other visitors? The people like us who go there to have a walk followed by a coffee at one of the numerous cafes and perhaps occasionally do a bit of shopping in the retail village? If we can't walk around the lake then we won't be using the shops and cafes, therefore they will lose money, too. How is this going to help encourage visitors if half the retail outlets have to close due to lack of customers? Am I missing something here?

I know we shouldn't take access to these beauty spots for granted and that the amounts needed for upkeep must be huge but surely a small parking charge and donation boxes would be better than taking away from people something that has been available for so long.

I expect that most visitors will be like us and visit once or twice a week for exercise and recreation and I'm afraid that around £5 per person for every visit during this economic downturn will just be prohibitive. For us that would be £20 per week which is just not possible as paying the mortgage and household bills has to come first so our visits will therefore drop from once or twice a week to once or, if possible, twice a year.

What a great shame!


  1. I am sorry your going to lose free access to the lake. Places like that are very important to the general public and should be freely available to all to enjoy!

  2. It is a shame.
    I always get cross when cathedrals want so much for an entry fee...although I suppose you can see both sides of the argument. ;-)

  3. Rosie, that is a blow, and makes no sense at all to me. Why don't you write to the owners and tell them how you feel? I can't see that hordes of people are going to pay to walk around the lake and gardens except when the sun is shining. You are right, there will be a knock on effect and the shops will close.

  4. Sign of the times, I guess. Wouldn't mind betting the admission price goes up - or is that too cynical?

  5. It is very sad when things are constantly being taken away from us. Soon we will have to pay just to breathe!

  6. Thanks, Pam - I will miss the regular walks and look forward to a visit or two as a treat now and then for a special occasion:)

    sal - I do too and like you can see both sides of the argument and people so often avoid the donation boxes - I think if places just asked for £1 per person everyone would benefit:)

    valerie - I may do that - I did put a comment on the Sentinel site but then I had to go through a registering rigamorole so gave up and did the post instead. I'm convinced that in this finacial climate that the move will not be as successful as they hope:)

    Dave - I'm sure you are right as they will find they don't get the visitors the charges will go up again next year. Tis indeed a sign of the times:)

    simone - it feels like that sometimes doesn't it? Very few things are truly free nowadays:)

  7. Hello Rosie, It is a shame that you will have to pay just to walk around the lake, although I thought that had been the case since the shops were built and the whole of Trentham Gardens was revamped. Do you mean that when we last went, a couple of years ago, we needn't have paid that extortionate price? It is lovely there though, and good to see it rejuvenated, it had sat unloved and un-cared for, for many years. I like wandering through the shops too. Helen x

  8. Rosie
    I'm playing catch up, as I haven't look at your blog since the new year, but you really are a star and deserve your following. I am a Rosie groupie too. As for the new Trentham Gardens charge, you can guess my response — the land should be municipalised and turned into a public park. In the meantime, challenge their right to introduce a charge along what is almost certainly an established 'right-of-way' (these are what allow us to walk across private land and the general guide is that if they have been in use for 20 years or more, they can be registered as a right of way). Contact the Open Spaces Society and see if they have a Stoke Branch or a local contact. Fight these people, don't let them get away with this injustice. Others must feel like you, so join together and fight these people. You know I would!


  9. I am so sorry to hear that...And in these difficult times people will think twice before spending money..Wish you luck with selling your house..(our house is up for sale today)..Hope you will find a lovey "walking spot" soon.
    Stay warm and stay happy:)

  10. Hi Rosie - isn't this apalling! Greedy so and so's. From all the local uproar (Radio Stoke is blistering!) I wouldn't be surprised if they change their minds.

    My husband takes the boys there often for a potter and a trip on the little train. Well no more. Come down to the Churnet Valley instead, my tip is Crowgutter Wood on the twisty lane from Cheddleton to Ipstones. Its an RSPB reserve, oak wood with a delightful stream and never a soul about. Beats Trentham hands down!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  11. How sad that the feel the need to charge. I am sure it will affect the shop and cafe and with the recession they will need all the help they can get.

  12. Hello Helen, welcome - yes if you'd taken the path at the back of Bibendum(near the ticket office) and round the back of the shops the bridge brings you out at the lakeside near the little railway and the Miss Elizabeth boat - you can then walk all th way round.

    Robert, nice to see you back:) There is a Stoke/Stafford branch so I'll try and e-mail them - good idea, thanks:)

    Duchess, it is in deed a shame - hope your house sells soon, too:)

    Steph - your little ones will miss the train. We often walk at Consal along the canal or the white walk, but Crowgutter wood sounds lovely - we will definitely try it sometime:)

    rosie, it does make you feel that everywhere is barred to you if you can't afford the entrance fee - I sure all the retail outlets will suffer; hope you are feeling better now:)

  13. That is just a shame. Every year we have what they call a River Jamboree downtown near the water. Lots of stores etc.. Use to be free during this time but now they fence it off and you have to pay to get in. I refuse to pay to go shopping in a public storefront. Stores lose so much business with these crazy ideas of others!

  14. Oh Rosie... that's too bad. Wonder if enough people called / emailed / wrote / generally raised a ruckus, if it might change things?

    Fingers crossed. Keep us posted.

  15. We were talking about this today. You don't think they will back down, then charge for parking or something, then try make out its better that the £5. Smells a bit fishy to me, or are they just plain mad? It really is unbelievable what they are saying. They have done such a good job of turning it around, but they do need to be careful.

  16. Where I live, just about everybody is charging for parking now,where previously it was free - the local farmer's market, the shopping centres.The people who sell from these venues are getting angry because people are voting with their feet. The cinema has gone as far as a car park/movie ticket deal just to appease people and make an outing just a bit less expensive.It's a bit much when you charge for Nature. An ad on television at the moment from one of the banks encouraging home loans (isn't that where a lot of the present day problems come from?)shows a guy looking up at a tall tree in his yard and saying "I've never owned a tree before".I think our indigenous population just shake their heads in despair.

  17. Melody, it seems ridiculous to charge for people to shop, the owners must be furious at the charge.

    teresa - it has begun, there is an on-line petition and a proposed peaceful protest march around the lake towards the end of February - the local paper are featuring things nearly everyday too.

    Amanda, it is all very strange and they may just do that - in fact, I'm surprised that they haven't charged for parking before now but to save face in the growing protests they may just do it.

    gosh, Pam it sounds as if you have things worse than over here with regards parking charges - I don't know whether to laugh or cry over the 'tree' thing you mentioned - Oh, dear:)

  18. You are right, this does not make sense.

  19. I'm so sorry, Rosie. Special places to walk become a part of our everyday lives, and it would be difficult to give them up, I know.