Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Clumber Park Steam Rally

The male half of AvailablePitch.com loves traction engines and anything steam, so two or three times a year, we camp at Steam Rallies. This year, for the first time, Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire was the venue for the Clumber Steam Rally.

Clumber Park Caravan Club site is a favourite, and we return there each autumn when the park and woodland are at their colourful best.
We find a lot of Caravan Clubs site quite “samey” but Clumber is different. It’s a large site, very flat, with spacious pitches which are a good mix of hard standing and grass pitches, many backing on to wonderful pine woodland. This is a brilliant site for dogs as there is a perimeter walk right round the site, which takes about 20 minutes with Fido, and is easily accessible from all pitches.

Once home to the Dukes of Newcastle, the house was, sadly demolished in 1936 due to heavy taxation and economic decline.
Clumber Park is now owned by the National Trust and has over 3,800 acres of park, scrubland, woodland, formal walled kitchen garden and lake. It boasts the longest double-avenue of Lime Trees in Europe There are numerous walks around the estate, however, the best way to get around is by cycle, and as it is mainly flat, it is a comfortable ride for most. The Tea Room and Shop are at the heart of the estate with plenty of outdoor tables if you take your own picnic.

We were very doubtful as to whether the Steam Rally would go ahead, as there had been a fortnight of heavy rain, however, the Wardens assured us both the grass and hardstands were fine, and the site had coped very well with the downpours.

As Steam Rallies go, this was the usual mix of arena events, craft and trade stalls, fast food venues and display of traction engines of all sizes. Due to the mud, the engines remained in place throughout the weekend, so there were no tug of war games or ploughing demonstrations (with the exception of the Shire Horses, the original four wheel drives).

The atmosphere was not dampened by the rain, however, visitor numbers were low, which was a huge pity, given the huge amount of effort needed to organise rallies like this.

Hopefully next year’s event will see the return of some sunshine!

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