Clare from the airClare is in Suffolk, near to the point where the borders of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire meet. 
With a varied history, it's the perfect place to spend a day listening to cultural music. Just a minute's walk from the Festival, you will be in the centre of the town in the old market square. There are five local pubs in the town and a brewery which brews the famous Nethergate Ale. Clare has two Hotels and several Bed and Breakfasts, so overnight accommodation is not a problem.  If you run out of cash, a cash back facility is available in the Co-op and a cashpoint machine. There is also a cashpoint machine in the Newsagents.

The Music Festival is held on the Old Bailey which is part of the Clare Castle Country Park. Now an ancient monument and part of the English Heritage, we are lucky to have such a natural arena to stage the Clare World Music Festivals.
You would probably recognise parts of Clare and the surrounding area from the TV series Lovejoy. Clare Priory was in one episode with Richard Briers as a Monk.


Clare Castle Country Park

Become a time lord at Clare Castle Country Park. Climb up the spiral pathway to the top of the castle mound or 'motte', which is over 20 metres high. On top of this man made hill are the last remains of the circular stone 'keep'. It is possible to view the red tile roofs of the cottages and church in the small town of Clare. In the opposite direction, you can see the old railway station inside the Country Park.

'Ladies Walk' is the only part of the earth bank to remain. This protected the 'Inner Bailey', which is a good place to have a Picnic. The children's adventure playground is in the 'Outer Bailey'. This area of the castle would have been used for jousting tournaments and archery practice in medieval times.

Clare Railway Station was the only station to be built inside a castle in England. When you are standing on the platforms, it is easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of a country railway station.  The Goods Van and Goods Shed have been converted into a Park Centre. All the information you want about the arrival of the railway to its closure, as well as the nature and wildlife of the Country park are in the visitor centre. A room exists for community activities and events.

Just two minutes from the village centre of Clare, the Country Park is a gateway into the wider countryside. Ramble along the old railway track, from wooded Country Park into the wider vistas of the Suffolk farming landscape. Use the Clare circular walk or walk part of the Stour Valley Path. 

The Riverside Walk passes along the 'New Cut', part of the River Stour. Water birds, like the mallard and moorhen, swim amongst the white water lilies and yellow flag iris. Beautiful white swans glide slowly with the water current. The bright blue flash of a kingfisher flying past is a big reward for visitors. Insects like pond skaters and water boatmen skim across the still water surface. While underneath are lurking  fish such as roach, pike and perch.

There are many ponds, which are the remains of the castle moats. The elder, blackthorn and hawthorn scrub are ideal nesting areas for blackbirds and thrushes. The song of the nightingale can be heard in spring. The berries in winter provide food for the birds too. Look out for evidence of moles and rabbits. The Butterfly area attracts a wide range of butterflies and insects. The Country Park is a magnificent refuge for wildlife and the park nature trail helps to explain some of nature's mysteries. 

The pay and display car park is an ideal base for the country park but also for exploring the delightful town of Clare. There are many shops and places for refreshments in Clare. 

Clare Castle Country Park is signposted off the A1092 from the town centre of Clare. 

Park Opening Hours
The park is open daily during daylight hours. 
The Park Centre is open May to September daily, October and April weekends and bank holidays.

Contact Information
Telephone  01787 277491.   Fax  01787 278676. 

For more information there is a tourist Information Centre in the Museum based in the Ancient House