Schools and Colleges
Clare Castle Country Park has strong links with the schools and colleges in Clare and the surrounding area. These links are based on both the historical and heritage aspects of the Castle, and the Park’s impressive array of flora and fauna. When the renovations of the Clare Park Centre are completed in 2019 it will provide flexible interior space for a wide range of educational activities that are linked to the Park.
Clare Community Primary School pupils regularly visit the park as part of their teaching. Stour Valley Community School holds ‘Humanities’ days with its Year 7 and a number of KS4 students use the Park to develop practical skills focused upon group-based working. Stour Valley Community School students were encouraged to take part in the 2013 archaeological digs in the Castle’s inner bailey, led by Dr. Carenza Lewis of Access Cambridge Archaeology, and this will continue to be the case for the series of planned future digs. The Park is a member of the Stour Valley Education Network (SVEN), which encourages schools to visit historical and especially natural history venues.
Talks and workshops for all ages
Workshops and short courses on topics that relate principally to the history of Clare and the flora and fauna of the Park and the Stour valley are to be held in the Clare Park Centre. For Clare Castle these will largely concern the de Clare family and their medieval household, farming and industries. For Clare Railway Station the period covers from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. For the town of Clare its importance as a wool- and cloth-producing town, and as a market town would be to the forefront. Workshops relating to medieval life in the town of Clare, the castle and the cloth trade might include calligraphy, palaeography, candle-making, spinning wool, weaving, embroidery, falconry, ale-making, stained glass making, flint knapping, basket weaving, stone carving and terra cotta tile making. For the Victorian period, as well as railway history workshops, straw plaiting for hats and corn dollies, hedge-laying and beekeeping, storytelling are being investigated.
Topics for courses that do not include practical elements might include working in lime and traditional plastering (pargetting), family history, historic architecture, the history of Norman castles, the Domesday Book, medieval recreations (eg. hunting, archery and jousting) transportation and local agricultural history. Clare Historical and Archaeological Society and the Clare Ancient House Museum will collaborate on some of these endeavours.