Visitors to one of Cheshire's best loved country houses are being encouraged to think a bit greener this spring and summer to enjoy the green spaces for free at the National Trust attraction.
Lyme, on the edge of Stockport, has been running an hourly free bus service from Hazel Grove Park and Ride straight into the estate, every Sunday. Run by Stagecoach GM as a private shuttle on behalf of the National Trust, the 'Lyme Park Shuttle' has been a regular sight between Hazel Grove and Disley over the past year. The bus also runs Bank Holiday Mondays, providing an easier option for trips and picnics out to this historic parkland and moors that avoids navigating the busy A6 traffic. This initiative also opens up the park to more visitors and those with a lower income or wanting to make some savings. When days out can become a pull of the pennies, families can enjoy a free ride in and explore some of Lyme's 1400 acres.
Lyme's General Manager, Deborah Maxwell, said: "We know that Lyme's car park can fill up quite quickly during weekends and holidays. While we wait for the planned improvements to our parking, we're delighted to be able to carry on running this bus service which takes pressure off visitors having to queue and lets many people from local areas visit the park for free. It also reduces the traffic impact on local residents, and helps to lower vehicle emissions in the park, which is hugely important to all of us at the National Trust."
The savings made by visitors on parking and enjoying the parkland for free could be used to enjoy additional areas of Lyme including the house and gardens, which are currently hosting a family-focused nature trail based on the children's book The Lost Words.
The Park and Ride is located on Macclesfield Rd, Hazel Grove, near the Rising Sun pub, approximately 4 miles from Lyme. As well as 400 spaces, electric charge points, 40 cycle spaces and toilets, the 192-bus service also terminates just nearby, meaning that Lyme is connected to the A6 corridor all the way into Manchester.
While the bus service is free to all users, it costs Lyme over £16,000 annually to operate. As a charity, the National Trust welcomes any donations towards the continued running of the service.