Recently, a group of visitors to the park expressed surprise when they discovered that Stansted Park is a charity! It turns out many people are still unaware that the former home of the Earls of Bessborough hasn't been owned by the family for many years.
We thought we'd share with you some more about the work of Stansted Park Foundation, the charitable trust that owns Stansted House and Grounds.
In 1983 the 10th Earl of Bessborough, created a foundation to which he gave Stansted Park estate, the Arboretum, his family home and all of its contents. Ever since then, the charitable trust has worked daily to fulfill its mission - preserving the estate for the benefit of the nation. No mean feat!
Today, the Foundation is run by a small but dedicated team of staff, with the support of a much larger (even more dedicated) team of volunteers. The house stewards work tirelessly to ensure the mansion itself can open to the public during the spring and summer. And you’ll often spot our garden volunteers out in the grounds, come rain or shine, creating the stunning gardens you see when you pop in for a cuppa.
We are very proud to be able to offer free access to so much of the parkland; all year round, a hundreds of people enjoy the peace and tranquility of Stansted’s ancient forest and parkland.
Many local people contribute by regularly visiting the independently run Farm Shop, Garden Centre and Tea Rooms in the walled gardens. And visitors far and wide buy tickets to our events here, bringing a picnic to the Proms, dancing with the family at the Nostalgia Show or our outdoor theatre productions or shopping at the Garden Show. We are delighted to have helped so many of you to get married here or host special family lunches or dinners in the mansion house. And we are humbled when you ask us to help you honour the lives of your dear ones who loved this place with a funeral reception. We are immensely grateful for all your contributions.
There are many ways that you can help our mission to maintain and preserve Stansted Park for you – some may seem small but all are important. We have a second-hand bookshop in the Garden Centre, the proceeds of which all go to maintaining the grounds. You could join our Friends, who play a vital role. Just taking your litter home, flicking your doggy doo off the footpaths into the bushes is important. And please take heed of any ‘no entry’ signs; they are only ever put in place for your own safety, conservation of wildlife, the privacy of our residents or to allow areas of the estate to recover.
We appreciate every little effort and look forward to seeing you all soon. Thank you!