Parkrun Enniskillen gets 'Pay to Stay' Ultimatum fromThe National Trust



  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Lots of regular Parkrunners signed up as NT members as a thank you when the in moved there apparently, but most of them are also going to cancel when it is time to renew...

    The cafe at this site is nice and opens in time for a post run coffee. I spent ??8 in there after my first run so I am gutted now because I did it to support the venue as well as to satisfy my urge for coffee and cake!
  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    The most recent statement from the Enniskillen parkrun core group makes it clear that the local NT management changed the admission policy for parkrun and that is why the run is moving.

    They are being diplomatic but I believe it is only because they were actually asked/told by HQ not to make any comment at all.

    Sad times for parkrun when they choose to allow an extremity to be cut off rather than trying to attack the illness of greed.
  • or dont cutoff your nose to spite your face....

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Or taking one for the team? Or is it the old English tradition of sacrificing the Irish regiments first?

    Whatever it is - it is a disgrace. NT and Tom Williams ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I know parkrun can not win but they should have at least gone to the media publicised this and shown the local NT up for what they are.
  • This is the NT statement in reply to concerned comments from parkrun and NT members: We understand that runners such as yourself enjoyed the beautiful spaces of Castle Coole and that some will be disappointed about this news. This mutually agreed decision was taken after the popularity of the run saw an increased conservation impact on the property. The Enniskillen Parkrun has grown significantly with more than 120 runners enjoying the weekly event. The event will continue at Castle Coole until the end of August when it will then move to The Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen. This decision does not affect any other parkrun at our places, we host 25 parkruns and three junior parkruns, with even more being planned for the future and we have no plans to ask either parkrun or parkrun participants to pay to use our sites, except where car parking charges apply. For more information, please do take a look at this webpage, we hope this helps with your questions.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    So the event outgrew the venue and they moved it to another nearby. Unless I'm missing something.

    Sorry VDOT but I'm struggling to see how this is being horrid and disgraceful, let alone sacrificing the Irish.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    FF- I've quoted below from that statement in your link- cheersimage

    Muttley, Seren- my rhetoric is tongue in cheek but actually pretty accurate.

    The NT HQ and parkrun HQ statements are along the lines of it outgrowing blah blah and about it being a mutual decision.

    The local statements from the NT and parkrun state (diplomatically) that it was a financial decision by the NT who wanted to make it a members only event.

    From JIM CHESTNUTT who shut parkrun down:

    "The cost of maintaining Castle Coole to its present standard of care is significant and the Trust needs to sustain the property???s long term future THROUGH THE SUPPORT OF ALL VISITORS TO THE PROPERTY"

    He means financial support....

    Full story here:

    From the park run statement:

    "Late in the Spring, the local National Trust management changed their admission policy with regard to parkrun. This policy was IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH PARKRUN'S OWN CORE PRINCIPLE OF EVERY EVENT BEING FREE TO THE PARKRUNNER"

    I Have been told personally that the NT manager wanted to charge Parkrunners for entry and that we was willing to let the event stay if parkrun had accepted the pay to stay deal.

    So at least that is completely clear.

    I still can't fathom why parkrun didn't defend it like they did with little stoke. It does look like HQ are letting enniskillen take one for the team, which is not very 'parkrun' IMHO

    Send the Irish in first....
  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Despite remaining very professional in their wording the core team at Enniskllen Parkrun have put this link to a petition on their Facebook page:

    Please sign the petition if you are a Parkrunner and like running at beautiful venues as this one is gorgeous- and a challenging run too!
  • After reading this thread I just wish to offer my opinion as I'm a member of Enniskillen Parkrun.


    As reported we will be going back to our original home, which is the local sport field. The Parkrun there consisted of three laps around a running tract and three laps around a football pitch. When we ran this course the numbers were pretty poor, down to 12 on some occasions. I like to think think we can agree that to run on a track you you have to be pretty focused and serious about and would soon bore children and people trying out running for health reasons. Not fun, as what park run should be about.

    We then get offered a wonderful venue, no strings attached. Our start and finish line were at the gates and cars parked away from the NT property. MR Chestnutt, local NT Manager request that we move the start line well into the grounds of Castlecoole so Parkrunners have the chance to spend their money in the NT cafe.


    This venue is not staffed during the summer before 10am and after 4pm. The place is not locked to members of the public are free to enter, 24/7, the 1200 acres of fields, paths and woodland.

    As a small town we have no park of a decent so Parkrun would not be appropriate to locate there. Castlecool sits largely in the town. Enniskillen is central to the County which is basically dissected by a lough, so relocating to another area would be impractical. We do not have the Rights of way so enjoyed by England.

    Initially, when we heard the decision to abandon Castlecoole there was disappointment. The local press reported 'Conversational impact' was the reason and  Mr Chestnutt, Local NT Manager, stated that there was no intention to charge. However, some runners started to ask what the 'Conversation impact' was? The track is run largely on tarmac and gravel paths. Mr Chestnutt language in the local press began to change to 'Potential conservational impact.' Now! A letter leaked to the local press on headed NT paper signed by Mr Chestnutt stating he was pleased with the management of parkrun however, he was disappointment that only 20% of Parkrunners took up membership and the licence will be revoked.

    We feel very disappointed that Parkrun UK did not support our fight to pressure our venue, unlike Little Stoke, and one could only go along with the thoughts that we'll not upset the NT applecart. As for the NT, I've let my membership lapse and I will view them differently in future. I would have thought good relations with community should be paramount. Greed, Nimbyism and sacrifice spring to mind.

    Anyway, the dog walkers have their venue back on a Saturday morning to help repair the conservational impact we had on Mr Chestnutts 1200 acres. 

    Get orf moy larnd (NT) and Send in the Irish (Parkrun UK)

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    I guess if the NT owns the land and does not want Park Run, then it is has the right to withdraw its favour.

    Given the amount of loud, shrill and sometimes abusive reaction they and that council got, tbh if I owned land that hosted a Park Run I'd be wondering about telling them to maybe go elsewhere before the sense of entitlement kicks in.

    Tis a shame but as HJ points out, best to just not renew your NT card.

  • Hi Mutely,

    What abusive reaction do you refer to? 

    BTW, Lord Belmore, whom donated the land stipulated that the grounds should have free access to the public.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Read the first page of this thread, HJ. And some of the posts on the other thread.

  • thanks for explaining a bit more about this HJ


  • Sorry Mutts, I can't find any abuse, unless you mean post quoting finger jabbing and mums claiming the end of the World.


    Some reasoned debate, though.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    sad bunch of miserable scrooge like dictators
    sacking of the culprits must be in order
    inbred nimby councillors
    what a twunt
    (admittedly all from the same guy - whose style of posting is uncannily similar to yours)

    I could go back to the Little Stoke thread but no time right now.

    Unfortunately, by banging on and on about it you just alienate those who are broadly supportive of your cause even if we don't agree with the way you've advocated it.

    I've said my bit so you carry on if you want.

  • Sorry, I misunderstood your post. I thought you were talking about contributors to this thread being abused. Not sure what you're trying to imply that his/her posts are very similar to mine?

    However, I think the guy was expressing an opinion and not naming guys outright. The example of nimby counsellors, bully, sackings, scrooge  is not exactly abusive, that is unless the reader of these posts is particularly sensitive. Each to their own though. Would be different if those counsellors and dictators frequented these threads, you may have a point.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Welcome HJ,

    I agree with the sentiment of everything you have posted. There is one thing though- I have researched the transition of ownership of the grounds of castle Coole and it turns out they were sold to 'The Land Trust of Northetn Ireland' to help Mr Belmore pay his families overdue inheritance taxes (X2). So I guess Mr Belmore may have had certain covenants placed on the deeds- including free access for the public, but he did not give the land to anyone.

    I am a new friend of enniskilken parkrun and I hope my posts in this and my other thread (linking to the online petition) have not offended a regular like yourself.
  • Not at all, ado. That is unless you are me and I'm you. 


    (just re-read my last post and what terrible grammer that last sentence was).

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Do you have a link to the story about the leaked letter from Jim Chestnutt? I can not find it online. Cheers.
  • Not yet. Just in the local print press.


    I hope the higher echelons of the NT take time to examine this situation as if you read the leaked letter and the released statements by the NT leading up to the decision to pull the rug,  it would difficult for them to just that they function with what this link states.

    I won't hold my breath, though, as I can't see the NT's trustees reading a local provincial rag. 


    I'll post a link if they put the story on their website.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Is it in the Impartial or the herald?
  • Impartial. You know your regional papers.

    Closest I could find is this tweet from the reporter covering the story.

    In today's @impartialrep, we reveal letter showing that @ekn_parkrun WERE asked to pay National Trust for Castle Coole parkrun.

    FYI. The issue that annoys me and others is the initial press statement that our Park run was not being asked to move because we wouldn't pay but because of 'conservational impact. ' there was an outright denial that a charge was being levied.
  • I think it's a shame about the  parkrun, especially hearing about the new/old location. In addition it sounds like the NT is definitely going to make a loss out of it. I recon stopping off for a cup of tea after a run is one of the things people look forward to on a Saturday morning.

    That aside, can locals head up to Castle Coole and run in the grounds at other times no problem for free?

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    When it is staffed they charge, when it is not staffed it is free access to the pedestrian public.

    If parkrun started at 9 a.m on a Saturday and was gone by 9:45 then no one could complain.
  • I think it's a shame all this has happened, and there are obviously elements to this that are unsatisfactory, but the ultimate end if a landowner won't back down from charging is that parkrun will move away from that place. That's what happened at Little Stoke and that's what happened here. I wish one or two posters wouldn't turn this into an English v Irish thing - I'm not getting that it is in any sense (and I have some sensitivity to this, having a half-Irish wife).

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    This is clearly not an English vs Irish thing and i did not say it was, but it just seems all too easy for an office in London to tell a run in Northern Ireland not to make a fuss by telling the truth about the reason behind leaving a lovely venue in case it upsets the English NT and causes them a problem at home.

    So my point- that our run appears to have been sacrificed for the good of the 20+ runs in England is spot on.
  • asitisasitis ✭✭✭
    Muttley wrote (see)

    sad bunch of miserable scrooge like dictators
    sacking of the culprits must be in order
    inbred nimby councillors
    what a twunt
    (admittedly all from the same guy - whose style of posting is uncannily similar to yours)


    Ohh.. That must be VD

    The  "self proclaimed"  KK expert.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    You are so 'cute' following me aroundimage oh and What's a kk ?
  • Here's the link now to the leaked letter that the local NT wanted to charge. I would like to add I'm very disappointed with Parkrun UK and their obvious lack of support.
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