These are strange times. We at West Horsley Place, like everyone else, are in lockdown and it is eerily quiet. The builders have gone, and the site is empty and locked up. In some ways it feels strangely just like it was at the start of the West Horsley Place Trust four years ago, when we used to huddle in the kitchen with no heating in an empty house making our plans to get everything started. We have turned the heating right down to save money, but at least we do now have heating - as well as state of the art fire and security systems, so thankfully the house is in a much better state of protection than it was four years ago. But nothing can happen to progress all our exciting plans, about to launch later this year, which like everyone else’s during the Coronavirus outbreak have been brought to a shuddering halt.

One of the pleasures, and indeed necessities, we are still allowed is one hour of daily outdoor exercise. Although you will have to get here on foot or bike - our car parks are closed - our local community are more than welcome to continue to use the public rights of way that run across the estate, although we would ask everybody please to stick to them and not go near the buildings, as well as following the government guidelines on social distancing at all times. Please be assured that we are continually reviewing access to the estate to ensure that we adhere to the latest government guidelines.

 Financially, this is as challenging a time for us as many other charities. We are having to cut back hard on our running costs and need your support more than ever. We cannot earn the income we had planned from events of all kinds to support the trust’s work, whether community meetings and cultural events, weddings, visits to the house or craft courses - as we cannot complete our current renovation project to make the house and the Place Farm Barn ready for everybody to use and enjoy. (If you are thinking of planning any of these sorts of events and can look ahead, do still contact us! We are all still working, but from home, and we all need to plan for life after Coronavirus.)

It may feel as if there are few green shoots around at the moment, but spring is a boost to the spirit, it will soon be summer, and we all have to remain optimistic and forward looking as there will be a time after this crisis. The beauty of spring is all around West Horsley Place; the daffodils are in full bloom, and the woods are full of bluebells, wild garlic and dogs mercury springing up in this beautiful weather. I hope everyone reading this stays well, safe and secure and we look forward to seeing you all at West Horsley Place on the other side.