Clare is Suffolk’s smallest town and a thriving 2,000 strong community, set in the beautiful countryside of West Suffolk’s Upper Stour Valley, and brimming with history and nature just waiting to be explored. One of the five members of Suffolk’s Wool Towns Association, there is something of interest here for everyone.
Clare Castle Country Park is a beautiful quiet area to relax, play, get close to nature and learn about Clare’s fascinating history and heritage.
The park contains the remains of the 13th Century stone castle keep set upon its 60ft high motte overlooking the town, as well as its inner and outer baileys which are ideal areas for recreation and picnics. The inner bailey also contains the former railway station which now houses the Platform One Cafe serving hot drinks and food throughout the year.
Away from the open green areas visitors can find the footpaths through the trees and along the banks of the River Stour and along the old railway line. Here can be viewed the variety of trees and plant life, and information boards show the various birds and water life which can be seen along the waters’ edge.
A series of 6 circular walks from the Park. Originating from the Clare Castle Country Park, with its car park (modest all day parking charge), toilets and ‘Platform One’ café the Park is the perfect place for walkers to start and finish their exploration of the area.
The 6 walks range in distance from 2 to 7 miles. Whilst there is minor over-lap between some of the walks, they all have a distinct character and direction and collectively offer a diversity of views of Clare and its surrounds. They are rated as intermediate because there are occasional stiles to climb and agricultural fields to cross. For walkers with less mobility there are a number of flat paths to explore within the Park and the Town.
Clare has seen more than 2000 years of history which have left their mark on our lovely town. From the Iron Age earthworks, to the Castle built soon after 1066, to the coming of the railway.
During the 14th century the Castle was home to one of the wealthiest women in England. Clare was very prosperous in Medieval times as it was a centre for the wool and cloth trade and the Church and many of the listed houses were built then using the wealth brought to the town.
The story of Clare can be found in the Ancient House Museum – and it can be seen all around you – enjoy exploring it!