A PUBLIC appeal to mend Dyrham Park’s crumbling roof has raised more than half the money needed.

The National Trust property’s leaking lead-covered roof is in danger of exposing the inside of the house and threatening the safety of important collections held inside.

An appeal was launched in January to raise £500,000, which will be added to the £3million already found by the National Trust, to replace the roof and £300,000 has so far been collected.

Project manager Colette Cuddihy said the house team at 17th century Dyrham Park have been using plastic buckets to catch water to protect the original Dutch-inspired interiors and a priceless collection of furniture and objects collected by William Blathwayt who built the country house between 1692 and 1704.

She said: “We have patched the roof more and more often in recent years but it was last replaced 160 years ago and it has now reached the point where the house needs a whole new roof.

“There is a long way to go, but we are delighted that we have reached this milestone of £300,000 already.

“This is a major project but it will give us a roof which will last over 100 years and safeguard the contents of a very significant house.”

The 22 tonnes of lead on the roof and 8,000 Welsh slates will be replaced and there will also be repairs to stonework and a new heating system replacing an obsolete and inefficient oil boiler.

“The lead sheets on the roof will be removed and recycled, recasting them on site and we will also replace many of the Welsh slates on the edges of the roof,” added Colette. “There is a lot of damaged stone work to repair and a new heating system will enable us to provide conservation heating which will better protect the collection.

“And by using a biomass boiler, it will not only be cheaper but a lot greener to run.”

Staff are leading fundraising efforts and Dyrham’s general manager Cath Pye will run the entire 102-mile length of the Cotswold Way National Trail in just a week in June, helped along the way by other National Trust staff and volunteers. With stages varying from nine 16 miles, the route leads from Chipping Campden to Bath, passing close to Dyrham Park.

Added Colette: “Our fundraising efforts will continue throughout the summer and we hope, through the generosity of our supporters, to be able to start work this winter.”

For more information on the project visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrhampark or to support Cath’s Cotswold Way run go to www.justgiving.com/dyrhamroofrun