Clumber Park, 3800 acres of parkland, heath, and woods, was the seat of the Dukes of Newcastle from the early 1700s. It was originally part of Sherwood Forest when they enclosed the heath and added landscaping and cattle grazing. The perimeter of the park stretches to 10 miles in length while the lake covers 87 acres. The woodland encompasses 1000 acres.
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The park went from being a deer park to agricultural and hunting land in the mid to late 1700s. A country house, lodges, pleasure grounds, follies, and a pinetum made up the estate. Parts of the house, including the grand staircase and hall, and west front were destroyed in a fire in the 1800s. A second fire, in 1912, destroyed the north wing’s upper storeys. They were rebuilt. Everything, including the park, suffered neglect after 1928 when the 7th duke died. In 1937 the house was stripped of its contents and they were sold. A year later the house was demolished.
Surviving the demolition of the house in 1938 are the late 1700s entrance lodges and gates, the 1770 balustraded limestone bridge across the lake, and a small Doric temple on the lake’s south shore. Another survivor is the St Mary the Virgin chapel built between 1886-89 in the 14th century English Perpendicular style of architecture. Local white Steetley stone and red Runcorn sandstone were used in the construction. The chapel measures 137 feet in length. It is vaulted, has short transepts, and tall clerestory windows. The spire rises to 180 feet high.
The late 19th century, 450 foot long, range of glasshouses grow fruits. Old varieties of vegetables (some for sale) grow in a walled kitchen garden outside the greenhouses. There is also an herb garden and 400 ft long herbaceous borders.
At almost 3 miles long Clumber Park has the largest lime tree avenue in Europe. It dates from 1840 and is located at the northern corner of the park. It contains around 1300 trees. A cedar avenue leads to pleasure grounds which were the private gardens that surrounded the house that once stood in the park. They are planted with mock orange and rhododendrons. Altogether there are 13 miles of roads and a four mile walk around the manmade lake, formed by damming the River Poulter. Over 200 species of birds enjoy its environs. There are playing fields for family ball games, and bicycles to rent to enjoy the park at a slower pace.
Clumber Park lies on the Robin Hood Way long distance walk.
Clumber Park, near Worksop
Tel. 0 1909 476592 or 0 1909 544917 (info line)
Open: park, all year, daily, times vary according to month of year; check National Trust website for full details
National Trust property; interpretation centre; special events; orienteering courses; barbecue site; restaurant; shop; parking; picnic areas; cycle rental; playgrounds
Photos © by Barbara Ballard except garden temple by Richard Croft courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland