5 Reasons to Love Clumber Park
I am a huge fan of the National Trust. I love its ethos - in particular," looking after nature for everyone, for ever."
Clumber Park is one of their greatest successes.
The Estate was bought in 1946, by which time the mansion had already been sold off piece by piece, along with the contents and most of the statuary. There remains a central collection of buildings, a Gothic Revival Chapel (considered a masterpiece) and Hardwick village, built to house the estate workers.
Clumber Park now encompasses 3800 acres of land to explore, which you can do by bicycle, on foot or with free hire of mobility scooters.
I visited here on a brilliantly sunny day with my daughter and her two children, both under three. Here's what we found to love.
Wildflower gardens - Instead of formal bedding at the visitor facilities, there were three large areas of glorious wildflowers. The seeds sown were designed to keep the beds in flower from spring right through to autumn.
Woodland Play Park - Superbly designed play area for children from 1 to 99. Much of the adventure-style equipment was made from natural materials, and everything was under the dappled shade of enormous trees. We spent more than an hour there, mostly on our own, though I suspect that was because most children would have been in school.
Accessibility - With two pushchairs for the toddlers and all their paraphernalia, some places we have visited can be hard to access. Here the paths are wide and well-maintained. We encountered a number of wheelchair users and seniors with other walking aids who also appreciated the ease with which they could enjoy the estate.
Wildlife - The Serpentine Lake plays host to a range of waterfowl, including Geese, Swans, Ducks and Coots. On our visit, there were also myriad Damsel and Dragonflies near the water, plus butterflies and bees at the wildflower garden. We also saw a variety of small birds, with the children excited to have a chaffinch come close, picking crumbs from under the outdoor picnic tables. The Discovery Centre identifies the impressive array of wildlife that calls Clumber home.
Kitchen Garden - The walled kitchen garden covers an impressive 4 acres divided into smaller sections, including fruiting plants, orchards, the national collection of Rhubarb varieties and, of course, vegetables. All this is topped off with a huge glass house running the entire width of the garden.
Our stay lasted 3 hours, by which time the children were tired. For a future visit, we plan to spend most of the day here and have a picnic lunch. there is so much to explore, and we barely scratched the surface.
There is a fantastic Summer of Play starting on the 22nd of July, which includes storytelling, role play, a sensory tent, an artists' area, as well as traditional games.
I think we may be visiting several times this summer!