08 April 2020

A Note From Our Estate Director

I would like reach out to thank you all of those who have communicated with the Estate Office team since the start of lockdown. Of course, the majority of our administrative team, like so many of you, are dispersed and working safely from home. That said, our loyal team of lodgekeepers, gardeners, park maintenance, farm and security staff are continuing their vital daily work on the front line. Your feedback and support makes a huge difference during these times and we greatly appreciate your letters and e-mails. By supporting each other it means we can all keep playing our part in the community whilst caring for the places, collections, historic and natural environments that unite and sustain us all. The whole team are working hard to keep it all safe and sound. When the time comes, we can’t wait to welcome you, your friends and family back to Hatfield House, the Park and Gardens.

Throughout these difficult times, we are continuing to maintain access for local passholders to Hatfield Park for the purposes of daily exercise. Whilst exercise has perhaps become a more valued part of our daily routines it is equally important that we collectively recognise the need to stay at home, to keep each other safe. The huge majority of pass holders have been friendly, appreciative and respectful of social distancing requirements. Sadly, despite this there have been isolated incidents of petty theft and vandalism. Can I please send out a friendly request to all of us who are enjoying the Park at this time, to remain especially vigilant. If you see suspicious persons or people acting disrespectfully please do inform a member of our staff or security team who are active throughout the day.

Mindful of the challenges which come with isolation, the team at Hatfield have been busy exploring different ways we can continue to entertain the family or assist with home schooling. Our new woodland walk guide has been adapted to allow children to enjoy it in any park or garden, please click here to give it a go. Tell us what you think, and what you’d like to know more about, and we will do all we can to keep you close to nature, beauty and history.

We are also asking for those with special memories of Hatfield House to share them via our website and social media. Perhaps you were married in Old Hatfield and held your reception in the Old Palace? Perhaps you or one of your family worked on the Park or you grew up in one of our properties? Whatever your association we would love to hear from you.

These times are especially challenging for the vulnerable in society – many of us will be worrying for or missing loved ones. There are those who are unable to leave home, who are lonely, living alone or who are struggling to source food. Our staff are doing their part in trying to ensure that estate pensioners and other vulnerable members of the community are looked after, receiving regular contact by telephone and deliveries of essential supplies.

Essential supplies have come to the fore in recent times. In response to concerns about food deliveries, the estate has boosted our chicken population and raised our daily egg production. In addition, in true ‘dig for victory’ style, our gardeners have stripped the east lawn and set it and other areas of the garden down to fresh vegetable production. In the weeks following we will provide fresh eggs and vegetables, not only to vulnerable members of the estate community but also the Hatfield Food Bank.

We’re very aware that in the current climate, many will be worried, not only about their family’s wellbeing and safety but inevitably their finances too. Letters have already been sent to all of our residential and commercial tenants stating that we wish to work with our tenants and partners throughout this challenging period. I would encourage anybody who is facing genuine hardship to contact the Property Team in the usual manner for a sensitive discussion. Some will already be aware of support which is available from the government. We have prepared a simple guide to some of the support which is available which can be found here.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be trying out new ideas to bring the benefits of Hatfield House and its Park to you at home. Our visitor team, gardeners, and managers have come up with some intriguing ways to share their expertise, and their behind-the-scenes knowledge of your favourite place.
Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you, not only to our own staff who are maintaining essential activities on the estate but those members of the local community who are on the front line in the nation’s battle against the coronavirus – whether that’s as part of the NHS or emergency services, other kinds of essential work, or caring for relatives and friends. Please know that our thoughts are with you all.

It is essential that we continue to rally together and keep our local community safe during these uncertain and times. Once more normal times return, the whole team at Hatfield House is looking forward to giving you all a warm welcome back in person.

Anthony Downs

Estate Director

A Note From Our Estate Director - Hatfield Park