Clumber Park walk
Explore the parkland for yourself on this easy trail to uncover Clumber’s past and enjoy a little wildlife-spotting along the way.
Clumber was the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle and, although the mansion was demolished in 1938, the chapel, pleasure ground, lake and walled garden remain as clues to its grand past. Today, the National Trust and our local conservation partners care for countless species of flora and fauna here as well as the history.
National Trust car park, grid ref: SK625745
On leaving the car park follow the signs for the shop and restaurant.
Can you spot the housemartin nests beneath the eaves of the former stables? In late summer this area is a hive of activity as they gather for their winter migration. Head through the yew hedge to the mansion site, where flagstones mark its outline.
Follow a path to the chapel, bearing right at the junction immediately after.
Chapel of St Mary the Virgin
The chapels 180ft (55m) spire provides the perfect backdrop to many a photograph. Commissioned in 1886 by the devout Catholic, Henry Pelham Clinton, the 7th Duke of Newcastle, it took three years to build. Marvel at the work of great Victorian ecclesiastical architects inside. Our volunteer chapel stewards are on hand to help you discover the fine stained glass and search for stone gargoyles on the window arches, which represent the seven deadly sins.
On your left is a mock temple, built in 1784 for the 2nd Duke of Newcastle. Note the contrast between this temple and one on the opposite bank of the lake; one is Roman in style, the other Greek Doric. Admire the cedars of Lebanon that tower above and take in the scent of the 'mock orange' shrubs. If you're quiet enough, you might see a scurrying woodmouse.
Follow the central path through the pleasure ground.
The pleasure ground
The area to the east of the mansion site was created in the 18th century to offer the Dukes and their families secluded and sheltered seats and walks, revealing spectacular views. Now you can wander as they did on recently restored paths. The planting here is typical of the Victorian interest in collecting exotic tree specimens. Look out for the tall conical hinoki cypress, a tree planted in temple gardens in its native Japan, and traditional varieties of rhododendron, like Cunninghams Blush.
Leave through the stone gateway at the end of the path. Head towards Ash Tree Hill Wood, peculiarly named as there isn't a single Ash tree in it. On your left and right is Cow Pasture Field, where Bronze Age flints were found. These show that people used this land long before the Dukes.
The pleasure ground attracts birdwatchers from miles around in search of nuthatch and treecreeper. Hawfinch can also spotted when the trees are bare.
When walking through the wood, listen out for many birds, including the drumming of greater and lesser-spotted woodpeckers. Explore the dead timber habitat along the path; you may find holes from wood-boring beetles. At the crossroads turn left, following the red shale track.
As you explore the woodland you'll see lots of dead timber lying around. This may look untidy, but it's actually proactive conservation management. Clumber is in the top ten sites nationally for its impressive list of specialist deadwood creatures, who rely on this timber to make their homes. Some of the beetles living here only live in a handful of sites in Britain and are in danger of becoming extinct.
After the buildings turn left at the junction. Continue along the roadway and through Leaping Bar Wood, passing The Burrow soft play area on your left.
Once through the gates ahead, bear right back past the chapel to the main visitor facilities. Why not grab lunch or afternoon tea from our cafe and browse the plant sales and gift shop?
Main visitor facilities
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