UP to 19 staff working on the Longleat estate near Warminster are to lose their jobs as the Covid-19 pandemic bites.

The world-famous safari park and Grade 1 listed stately home have been hit by a huge drop in visitor numbers and a decline in revenue following the coronavirus health crisis.

In a statement, Longleat said: “Due to the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic Longleat will be making a small number of redundancies.

“Operations at Longleat have proved to be reasonably resilient, but the impact of necessary health and safety limitations (due to COVID 19) and the wider impact of the pandemic in the country means we have seen a very significant fall in visitor numbers, with a corresponding significant decline in revenue.

“For this reason, we are making a number of changes, with a view to saving costs, in order to put ourselves in a better position to succeed in the long term.

“With great regret we have to consider making redundancies. The number of staff who may be affected by the proposed redundancy is 19.”

The combined visitor numbers for the Longleat Safari and Adventure Park and Cheddar Gorge businesses owned by the Marquess of Bath, Lord Ceawlin Thynn, annually attract more than 1.1 million visitors.

The Longleat Safari and Adventure Park reopened in July but Longleat House remains closed to the public.