In a first for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property, paying visitors must wear armbands to crackdown on those sneaking into the estate without paying.

The most well known free passage into the sprawling grounds is at Maidens shore.

But since the opening of the new £250,000 play castle, ramblers from the seafront will no longer have free reign.

A double layer of security has been put in place with troops checking armbands at the adventure playpark on top of the usual manning of the main Culzean entry.

The new large children’s zone, which boasts towers, ramparts, a pirate ship, sandpit and even a baby zip slide, is a new way to attract more families.

Mum-of-two Kayle McClurkin, 32, of Dalmellington said: “So many people can just walk in from the beach and it wouldn’t be fair if they could just use the playpark without paying. I am charged an annual fee as an NTS member so I want to know I’m getting my money’s worth. The play area definitely makes Culzean more attractive to families. My oldest boy loves it. It is a great idea to make it in the style of the castle as it fits in with the whole theme of the landmark. The NTS had to take action and I think they will make more money because of it.” One regular added: “People have been getting in for free from Maidens so they had to do something.” An NTS spokeswoman said: “We have introduced a wristband system which seems to be working well and is encouraging people to sign up for membership which enables our charity to make improvements like this and also contributes to our vital conservation work.

“We are really pleased with how popular the new Adventure Cove play park is so far. Our young visitors love it.” The moves comes after revelations that the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is still running at a loss since opening five years ago.

Bosses at the NTS Alloway attraction are looking at shedding jobs in the catering department to cut costs.