Clumber Park is a country park in the Dukeries near Worksop in Nottinghamshire, England. It was the seat of the Pelham-Clintons, Dukes of Newcastle. It is owned by the National Trust and open to the public. The park is listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens
Clumber, mentioned in the Domesday Book, was a monastic property in the Middle Ages, but later came into the hands of the Holles family. In 1709 it was enclosed as a deer park by John Holles - 4th Earl of Clare, 3rd Earl of Newcastle upon Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle. Clumber house, by the River Poulter at the centre of the park, became a hunting lodge. Two generations later, the heir to the estate, Lord Lincoln, decided to make it one of his principal mansions.
From 1759 onwards, work on the house and park proceeded, under the supervision of a carpenter and builder named Fuller White (although he is likely to have been working to plans from architect Stephen Wright). White was dismissed in 1767, and Wright took charge of the project, replacing some of the 1760s features in the 1770s. The project was still not complete when Wright died, and some features in and around the park may have been designed by his successor, John Simpson, in the 1780s.
When, in March 1879, a serious fire destroyed much of Clumber House, the 7th Duke of Newcastle had it rebuilt to designs by Charles Barry, Jr. Another fire, in 1912, caused less damage, but the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression forced the abandonment of the mansion, which, like many other houses during this period, was demolished in 1938.
Charles Boot of Henry Boot Construction, was contracted to demolish the house and he removed a vast array of statues, facades and fountains to his Derbyshire home, Thornbridge Hall, although most were lost to private buyers at auction. The Church of St Mary, a Grade I listed Gothic Revival chapel built by the 7th Duke of Newcastle and a four-acre walled kitchen garden with a glass house measuring some 450 feet in length survive. The Duke's study, designed by Barry, is all that survives of the main house, and is presently home to the Clumber Café. It is listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England.
In March 2018 the park's ornamental bridge suffered extensive damage after a car was deliberately driven into it. Nottinghamshire Police found the car, which was believed to have been stolen, burnt out nearby. The National Trust said it appeared to be "an act of intentional damage". (The Grade-I listed bridge over the River Poulter was believed to have been built in the 1760s.) Just over a week later a bin, a National Trust van and a barn, known as The Bunk Hous, were all set alight in an arson attack. Two months later in May, six engraved brass plaques containing the names of men who had died in wars, were stolen from Hardwick War Memorial. The memorial is a Grade-II listed structure and the plaques were 100 years old.
Clumber Park is over 3,800 acres (15 km²) in extent, including woods, open heath and rolling farmland. It contains the longest double avenue of lime trees in Europe. The avenue was created by the 5th Duke of Newcastle in the 19th century and extends for more than two miles (4km). Clumber Lake is a serpentine lake covering 87 acres (352,000 m²), south of the site of Clumber House and extending 2 km to the east. The lake was partially rebuilt in the 1980s and again in 2004 after suffering from subsidence from coal mining. Hardwick Village lies within the park, near the eastern end of the lake.
The park was left to the people of Worksop by the Duke of Newcastle and acquired by the National Trust in 1946. Some of the park was closed to the public. There is vehicle access for the areas that are open to the public. Close to the main parking area is a cricket pitch with a thatched roof pavilion in the style of a cottage clad in rustic split logs. Along the road side are large open areas to park and picnic.
The park is used by walkers and has several miles of paths and cycle tracks surrounding the lake. The park has bicycles for hire. The visitor centre is in the old stable block, part of which houses a display on the history of the park, a shop and restaurant. Off the main lime tree avenue are camping facilities. Route 6 of the National Cycle Network passes through the park linking it to Sherwood Forest and Sherwood Pines.
The four-acre walled kitchen garden east of the cricket pitch has a glasshouse 450 feet in length and containing Pelargoniums, grapevines and a Butia capitata palm. It was once heated by an underfloor heating system, fired by locally sourced coal, allowing exotic plants to be grown all year round. The pipework is in place beneath the ornate metal floor grates.
The garden is divided by pathways and contains vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers and an ornate rose garden. The garden grows locally derived varieties such as the 'Clayworth Prize Pink' celery and more than 101 varieties of apple from the Nottinghamshire and East Midlands region including the 'Sisson's Worksop Newton' apple. The garden has large collection of rhubarb, numbering over 135 edible varieties. The lower end of the garden is accessed by an iron gate to Cedar Avenue allowing colder air and moisture to move out of the garden avoiding the creation of frost pockets which could damage tender plants or reduce the growing season.
In 1981 an area of 526.59 hectares (1301.20 acres) was designated an SSSI. A wide variety of species-rich habitats surround the former mansion, including the lake and wetlands, grassland and heath, and mature deciduous woodland. The mature trees and dead and decaying ancient trees provide good habitats for beetles. There are breeding birds of woods and heath including nightjars, woodlark, redstart, hawfinch, water rail and gadwall. Ancient breeds of English Longhorn cattle and Jacob sheep have been introduced to pastures surrounding the lake as part of the process for managing the grassland habitats while safeguarding rare livestock breeds.
In January 2018 the National Trust sent a "heartfelt letter" to the environment manager at fracking company Ineos asking her to visit the park and to stop the survey. A Parkrun takes place in the grounds every Saturday starting at 9am.
** – Chapel of St Mary the Virgin – **
The chapel at Clumber Park is no ordinary country house chapel, rather it is an independent building of the size and proportions of a large parish church, and one of considerable elaboration which was raised and furnished at prodigious expense by the 7th Duke of Newcastle. The Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin at Clumber Park was built between 1886-89, commissioned by the Seventh Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne.
The Duke was a devout and dedicated churchman who was strongly affected by the Anglo-Catholic movement within the Church of England. Today the Chapel and the Stableyard complex leave us with some impression of how grand the ducal Clumber House would have been before its demolition in 1938. The Duke commissioned the respected Victorian design firm, Bodley and Garner. George Frederick Bodley later regarded the Chapel as one of his favorite works, partly due to him being able to pursue his ideals of refinement and beauty in Gothic design.
The Chapel is designed to make the most of the natural light, with the sun running across the south side of the building. In the morning rays of light shine on the altar at the East end of the Chancel then moving to light up the stunning Charles Eamer Kempe stained glass windows in turn.
The ornate wooden rood screen, iron gates and hanging lamps were designed by Bodley with the iron work being made on site by the estate’s own blacksmiths. The majority of the rest of the highly ornate woodwork was designed by Reverend Ernest Geldhart, who was heavily influenced by Catholic churches in Europe. The lime wood figures of Saints and Angels in the Chancel are particularly fine examples of Geldhart’s design.
The chapel has a distinctive 180ft spire and is 137 feet in length from west to east, yet the impression given is one of greater size and height. This gives rise to the Chapel’s nickname; the ‘Cathedral in Miniature’. The deliberate, cohesive design of the building and its contents ensures that this building is thought of as one of the great English Victorian Gothic churches and a truly splendid, unique private Chapel reflecting Clumber Park’s lost Ducal days. Upon its establishment the Seventh Duke invited all who lived and worked on the estate to worship in the Chapel, wishing for everyone to be able to share in his devotion should they want to.
Today the Chapel takes on more the form of parish church than private Chapel, with thanks to support from Worksop, Priory services are held here every Sunday at 11:30am. For those eligible baptisms, marriages and funerals can even be held in the Chapel. For more information please contact their Chapel & Collections officer Ellen Ryan on 01909 544909 or email: Ellen.Ryan@nationaltrust.org.uk. The Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin is a fantastic, atmospheric, special place with hundreds of stories to tell, and is a must-see during your visit to Clumber Park. The Chapel is open between March - January every year.
** – Visiting – **
Clumber Park's Walled Kitchen Garden has been awarded National Collection status for its collection of culinary rhubarbs and apple trees, and is alive with life right through the summer months. Located in 3,800 acres of woodland, heathland and historic landscape, this beautiful four acre Walled Kitchen Garden was built in 1772 to supply the Dukes of Newcastle with fruit and vegetables and is a must visit over the summer months. Today, unusual and old strains of vegetables are grown alongside modern and heritage varieties.
Magnificent 400ft double herbaceous borders produce spectacular summer colour and run the entire length of the gardens making for amazing viewing and superb photo opportunities.
** – Facilities – **
Location : Clumber Park, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3AZ
Transport: Worksop (National Rail) then bus;. Bus routes: Stagecoach 'The Sherwood Arrow' Worksop to Ollerton, alight Carburton, ¾ mile.
Opening Times Park: Daily, 07:00 to 19:00.
Opening Times Walled Garden: Daily, 10:00 to 17:00; November to March 10:00 to 15:30.
Tickets : Adult £4.00; Children £2.00.
Tel: 01909 544917