As in my previous post on the subject here, back in September we travelled to Clumber Park, former country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle and purchased by the National Trust in 1946. After visiting the Chapel we went on a walk around the lake and into the woods. The grounds actually encompass more than 3,800 acres with a camp site and the facility to hire bikes as well as the usual gift shop and cafe. (I’d highly recommend the lemon cake!)
The grounds are really beautiful and well kept. One item of particular note, just by the Chapel, was this sculpture in a tree.
Yes, that’s a leopard print chaise longue. There is even an observation platform which I took advantage of to be entirely sure. As I suspected, Google informs me this is a piece of modern art, supposed to represent a leopard in a tree. So yes. It’s a chair. In a tree. The idea came from the 4th Duke of Newcastle, who did own a leopard which eventually had to be sent to a London zoo. According to this website, “lazing contentedly on a tree branch, a picture of regal elegance, the animal is transformed into a fine Regency chaise longue. Moving between colonial India and central England, the aristocratic 19th Century and the present day, the leopard adapts to its new environment by changing its shape, and finally becomes ‘part of the furniture’.” Make of that what you will.
After that moment of bafflement, we moved off to walk part-way around the 87 acre lake, which took 15 years to build. Across part of the lake is this rather lovely bridge, which was built in 1770; the cost of building it and damming the River Poulter cost £6,612 8s 9d.
We were also lucky enough to spot some dragonflies. They can be notoriously hard to photograph but luckily these two stayed still (and connected!), on some greenery, so I was able to take the below pic.
From there we moved closer to the lake, and the wildlife. We did spot a rather large heron in flight, but it moved far too quickly for me to attempt a picture. The swans however, were far more cooperative, and the ones below came right up to where I had perched myself. (I actually started getting a bit wary the closer they got!)
A beautiful place to visit, it’s open throughout the year so you can visit at different seasons and even fish and go horse riding if you wish (permits required).