How a raised walkway is offering visitors a unique view of The Vyne’s slate roof
The Vyne house and lake. Image by Simon Q (Creative Commons License: Attribution – Share Alike)
Just outside Basingstoke in Sherborne St. John is The Vyne house. It is a stately Tudor home which was built for Lord Sandys, King Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain. It is noted for its red bricks, and its slate roof. Since 1956, it has been in the care of the National Trust.
This year, it is in the midst of its most extensive roofing repairs. Apart from in 1842, this is the country house’s first major roof repair. It was found that three different kinds of roofing slate have been used. Instead of closing the whole country house, the National Trust had a novel idea for its visitors. Whilst restoration work is taking place, visitors can see its slate roof from a raised walkway. With scaffolding wrapped around the house, they can see how the roof is shaping up.
Handmade roofing tiles, made by Keymer Tiles and HG Matthews have been used. They match the original tiles on The Vyne. To help with funding the restoration, visitors were able to tag-a-tile, adding their name or an illustration.
The Vyne’s raised walkway has 74 steps leading to the top. There is also a lift for people with wheelchairs or those with other mobility problems. Since its opening in March, it has had more than 25,000 visitors. It also has Lego figures dotted around the trail.
Compared with the nearby Basingstoke town centre, the hall and lake offers a rural retreat. A place to think or, as we might concur for this year, a chance to look at a beautiful slate roof.