Guided tour of Clare Castle and Clare Castle Country Park
Date: 22 July 2017
Time: 11:00 - 12:30
Location: Clare Castle Country Park, CO10 8NW
Visit the remains of the Norman castle built by the founder of the de Clare family. It began as an earth and timber castle in the late 11th century, when Clare was chosen as the seat of the extensive Suffolk estates that were given to Richard de Bienfaite as his reward for supporting William the Conqueror, who was his cousin. Its motte at 62 feet in height is the highest in Suffolk. The stone keep, now a ruin, was built in the 13th century. The castle had inner and outer baileys. The outer bailey wall is still mostly intact, and the wall between the baileys, which is labelled 'Lady's Walk', named for the great 14th-century family member, Elizabeth de Burgh, foundress of Clare College Cambridge. Clare Castle Country Park sits on the footprint of the Castle, on the bank of the Stour, or rather the early 'New Cut' of the Stour, which was straightened to feed Clare mill. The Park has the distinction of being the only castle with a railway station running through its inner bailey. In addition to the great historic value of the Castle and now the railway station (closed in 1966), it is important for its ecological features, both flora and fauna, providing spaces for lovely walks as well as educational and social events. The recently opened cafe, Platform One, has a railway theme. Parking and access to the town are both easy.