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A Wonderful Park.
Clumber Park - National Trust Country Park (Worksop)
Member Name: daseaford
Clumber Park - National Trust Country Park (Worksop)
Date: 09/01/02, updated on 15/02/02 (1625 review reads)
Advantages: Very Large Park., Plenty to see., Well cared for.
The park is located about 4.5 miles south east of Worksop and about 1 mile from the A1/A57. The nearest train station is at Worksop, and there are local buses that go to the park. (Details from Traveline on 0870 608 2608)
Access to the centre of the park costs £3 per car (free to members of The National Trust), but there are vast areas of the park that have free access where you can stop and take a picnic, play games, fly a kite, walk through the woods or enjoy a barbecue. Even though this is one of the most visited country parks in the UK you can always find plenty of space due the vast areas of the park that are accessible.
In the centre of the park is a magnificent 83 acre lake, which was man made, and is fed by the River Poulter. The lake is the home for a vast array of wildfowl, plus also is one of the country’s foremost coarse fisheries. Fishing is open to the public on payment of a daily charge. (£4) However, the main attraction of the lake is to just walk along the lakeside path and enjoy the splendour of this park and the beauty of the trees, plants and wildlife. It is about a four mile walk all the way around the lake and this is normally only undertaken by the most hardy, but there are a number of car parks where you can stop and see different parts of the lake including a classical bridge and an impressive weir.
Although this was a ducal estate there is now no ducal home. The house was demolished in 1938 by the Pelham-Clinton family, who planned to build a smaller house on the site, but the outbreak of war in 1939 put a stop to this plan. The vicinity of the mansion house site is where
the majority of the visitor attractions are located. These include catering facilities, National Trust shop, public toilets, a cycle hire centre, the chapel and a new visitor centre that has been opened for 2002. The visitor centre gives a lot of information about the estate and it’s history, plus there is a model of the original mansion house that stood on the estate. The tea room is very popular and is very nicely laid out, clean and reasonably priced. There are also normally a number of ice cream vans around this area.
The chapel was completed in 1889 for the 7th Duke of Newcastle next to his house for himself and his wife, their friends and the Estate workers to use. The chapel is still used today and is always open for visitors to look around. (There is a short period in the middle of winter when the chapel is closed whilst the inside of the roof is cleaned and the scaffolding may be dangerous to visitors). When you enter the chapel the rows of plastic seats look very out of place and you wonder what has happened to the original pews. But, apparently there never was any pews, as in medieval times the Estate workers were expected to stand or kneel during the services, and only the sick or very old were allowed to sit down on the stone benches which were built into the walls.
Cycle riding is very popular in the park and entrance is free to anyone on a bike. (It is popular for people to bring their bikes on their cars to one of the free access areas and then to cycle into the park). Within the park there are 13 miles of cycle routes so there are plenty of places to explore and there is a cycle hire shop for anyone without their own bicycle. The hire shop has over 250 bikes including tandems, child bikes and mountain bikes. Around the chapel area and on some of the lakeside paths, cycles are not permitted, but this is for safety reasons because of the number of people and young children in these areas.
A lot of visitors head straigh
t for the chapel area because of all the facilities here, but I really do enjoy finding some of the more remote areas of the park and appreciating the open space and peace. There are about 2000 acres of woodland and open heathland, with a lot of places where you can pull off the road and park your car and see nobody else. There is about 1000 acres of the park that is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and of course it is important when using the park to respect the plants and the wild life. There are specific areas of the park that are designated for the use of barbecues and this obviously reduces any risk of fires in the other areas of the park.
Within the park there is some tenanted farmland and a number of private dwellings, including the whole of Hardwick Village. You can drive through this village and it just seems like a trip back in time as everything looks like it was frozen about 100 years ago, only the modern vehicles give away that “real” people still live in this village and work the farms of the estate.
Throughout the year there are many events held in the park including guided walks and lecture lunches. Also there are open air concerts, plays and even motor rallying. (If you look at the bridge over the lake you can see a new section that has replaced a piece where a rally car went through the bridge into the lake.) On most weekends during the summer there are cricket matches held in the park, which are a popular way to relax and pass a few hours watching leather upon willow.
For the more adventurous there are a number of orienteering routes set up in the park and packs for these routes can be obtained from the National Trust shop. There is also a cycle orienteering route.
The choice is yours, you can just stroll around the park, relax in the sun, play games on the fields, or enjoy a walk through the woods.
We find that our visits to Clumber Park tend to be in two halves. We norma
lly take a picnic or a barbecue and find somewhere quiet and enjoy some relaxation for a couple of hours. We will then head for the chapel area and visit the tea room and visitor centre before taking a stroll along the lake.
The park is so huge that there is never any shortage of space and you can always park your car. There is a caravan site within the park for people wanting to stay over, but as I have never been to it I cannot comment on this part of the park.
I can highly recommend Clumber Park. You can either stop in the Lime Tree Avenue area of the park that has free access, or go into the main area of the park where there are a good variety of places to go and things to see. If you enjoy being with lots of other people walking by the lake, or on your own in a remote area of the park, you can find the right place to suit you.
We have been to this park many, many times and I am sure we will continue to go there over and over again in the future. It is a great day out.