The 36 acre Park has much to offer. Whether you are interested in history, railways, ecology, just want to have some time in a peaceful rural setting, or, as a child want to explore or play, there is something for you.
There are the remains of a castle (a Scheduled Ancient Monument), Victorian railway buildings (Grade II listed), two large ponds, a river, a stream, grassland, woodland, paths (many of the latter being suitable for wheelchairs) and a café.
Open Green Spaces
Both the Inner and Outer Bailey offer large green open spaces which are well maintained and provide an ideal area for picnics, ball games and family fun or simply relaxing on a sunny afternoon.
The River Stour and Ponds
The river flowing through Clare Castle Country Park is the Stour, pronounced Stoor or Stowr. The pronunciation of the name varies even locally and is often the subject of debate. The Stour has been immortalised in its lower reaches by John Constable who used the river as a feature in many of his most celebrated paintings.
The Castle Ruins
The motte at about 60 feet high is one of the highest in the country, once surmounted by a shell keep of at least two stories, over 50 feet in diameter, of which now only a portion remains with its buttresses. The keep, made of flint, was probably constructed in the thirteenth century replacing a previous wooden structure. A visit to the top is rewarded with excellent views across the Park and the town of Clare.
In 2017 the playground was renovated. The fenced off area was extended to give a larger dog-free area; it also protects small children from the more vigorous games being played by older children and adults.
Several pieces of new play equipment were installed, with new benches and picnic tables. Children can climb, swing, slide and balance, while their elders can sit and watch, and picnics can be enjoyed on the grass. A great place near the Town centre for the young and their families to spend time.
The Railway Buildings
Clare has the only station built within the bailey of a Castle. The buildings are Grade 2 listed and are the only surviving example of those built to the 1865 type design.
Platform One Cafe
Located in the original 1865 bookings hall of Clare Railway Station, Platform One is an atmospheric new café in the heart of the historic Clare Castle Country Park. The café is open daily throughout the year.
The Railway Walk
The Railway Walk extends for about ¾ mile on the eastern side of the Park. It passes through woodland, open grass sections and scrub land before reaching an open area where the River Stour heads north for 100m.
Ashen Road Walk
A ¼ mile woodland walk to the Ashen Road where an cast iron bridge, built in 1813 by Ransomes of Ipswich, is an unusual river crossing. Although this is the old railway line, and consequently not particularly wide, there are two parallel paths so the outward and inward journeys are not identical.
Other Park Walks
Throughout the park are two large ponds, a river, a stream, grassland and woodlands which can be accessed by the various paths – many of the latter being suitable for wheelchairs.
Flora and Fauna
There are a surprising different number of habitats: woodland, scrub, water edges, marsh and hedgerow which in turn provide superb environments for a wide variety of flora – including some rare species.
Wildlife in the Park
The wide variety of habitats throughout the park provide safe environments for a wide variety of wildlife. Birds, mammals, insects and invertebrates alike thrive around the river, ponds and coppiced areas and open spaces.