Apart from car parking charges (if you park in the car park) Clare Castle Country park is free and provides a diverse, pretty and inexpensive way to spend some down time. Visitors can ascend the path running up the remains of the 13th Century stone castle keep set upon its 70ft high motte overlooking the town and be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the town of Clare (including our former garden!). The inner and outer baileys are ideal areas for recreation and picnics being a broad grassy sunlit area surrounded by trees and woodlands providing shelter.
The inner bailey also contains the former Clare railway station and the goods yard, which operated for over 100 years, with the goods shed now housing displays and a railway goods van on a stretch of track. A ‘history trail’ reveals the park’s secrets to visitors. Children will enjoy jumping off the platform onto the now grassed over railway line although parts of the tracks remain along the railway walk.
A nature trail takes in the River Stour and the Railway Walk, as well as other areas of the park. Walkers may wish to continue along the railway walk from the heart of the park into the wider farming landscape, or take in the Clare Circular Walk through the town. The more hardy walkers may wish to follow the Stour Valley Path, or the Bury to Clare Walk.
Staying within the park following the winding and well maintained walkways, you will encounter lakes and streams well populated with bird life- wooden feeding platforms can be found lakeside for feeding the ducks and swans. These are safe. These shadey glades make ideal stopping points to sit and feed babies too or have a picnic!
A small and sturdy children’s playground securely fenced can also be found in the outer Bailey. A variety of wooden climbing frames and swings with bark litter flooring suitable for younger children will help burn off some energy.
The beautiful small town of Clare is just steps away with its plethora of independent shops, cafe’s, pubs and restaurants. The Clare Antiques Warehouse is opposite the park car park and is well worth a look with its multiple floors of antiques, curios, books and vintage clothing.The little town also has a fabulous book shop -Harris & Harris books with an extensive range of children’s books that is well worth supporting.