Cannon Hall restoration: Barnsley country house re-opens with new trail, ice house tours and boats on the lake for the first time in 100 years

A £3.8m restoration project at Barnsley’s historic Cannon Hall Museum and Gardens is almost complete, with new areas and a woodland discovery trail set to open this weekend.

Cannon Hall
Cannon Hall

A new woodland discovery trail, boats on the lake for the first time in nearly 100 years and two miles of paths are just some of the new features at the popular attraction.

The subterranean ice house, built in 1780, will be open accessible for the first time in 60 years, having been sealed and neglected since the hall was first sold to Barnsley Council.

£3.8m of funding has come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the four-year project, called ‘Restoring the glory, revealing the secrets’.

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A five-metre long ‘willow monster’ is part of a new trail set to open this Saturday, packed with 20 play features including a balancing beam, tepees, Saxon hut, willow tunnel and musical instruments.

it is inspired by scrapbooks from the 1800s donated to the museum, described by their team as an early form of Instagram.

They were a way for Winifred Spencer Stanhope, who lived at the hall, to record the events and visits they hosted.

Coun Tim Cheetham, Barnsley Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “This has been years in the making so to see it finally coming to fruition is just fantastic. A lot of hard work and love has been poured into this project because we all know just how much Cannon Hall and these stunning gardens mean to the people of Barnsley and Yorkshire.

“People will see a mix of newly created areas, installations, improvements and renovations alongside things that you won’t see but were extremely important for the long term benefit of this site, such as drainage and groundworks.

“What we now have is a stunning outdoor visitor experience with a magnificent new woodland family trail where the installations are in harmony with the natural surroundings they have been placed in.

“We hope it will encourage more people to visit Cannon Hall itself which is completely free to see and explore.

“The De Morgans were trailblazers with a strong connection to our borough and the scrapbooks that represent important moments in history are on display in the hall meaning people can experience the adventure trail and then see the original works that inspired it.”

Cannon Hall was the home of the Spencer-Stanhope family, who made their fortune from industry, until they sold the estate in the 1950s.