Caludon Castle Park
Photos by Rob Tysall and Ann Evans
Ann Evans discovers the local parks in Coventry; this week it’s Caludon Castle Park.
If nothing else, the restrictions imposed on us due to Covid19 has got us all discovering more about the area we live in. As travelling has been restricted, many people have found new places almost on their doorsteps where they can walk, jog, cycle, walk the dog and allow the kids to let off steam.
Coventry is blessed with a number of excellent parks where it’s safe to do all those things. Some of the parks proudly display historic monuments, reminding us of the long history of the city.
The history of Caludon Park on the East side of Coventry about three miles from the City Centre stretches way back to before the Norman Conquest. Before 1066 the area was owned by Coventry’s most famous lady, Lady Godiva. At the end of the 12th century the Earl of Chester granted Caludon to Stephen de Segrave, and he is thought to have been responsible for erecting the first house on the site. The manor house became one of the most important houses of the nobility, with an enclosed deer park and large fishpond. And while it was never a fortified castle built to ward off threats from invaders, the Lords and Barons of the day liked to live in buildings that demonstrated their status, so moats and castellated structures were the fashion of the day.
Most striking as you enter Caludon Park is the ancient standing masonry that was once part of the banqueting hall. It stands at an impressive 10 metres high and 12.5 metres long, with stonework 2 metres thick. Constructed of ashlar blocks of grey sandstone with red sandstone dressings. It is Listed Grade 1 and believed to date from around 1385.
Where once a large expanse of water surrounded the house, now there’s just a narrow stretch of shallow water where coots and other waterfowl dwell amongst the reeds. Occasionally, you may spot a heron who makes fleeting visits in the hope of catching its breakfast. There’s a rich diversity of wildlife at Caludon Castle Park. Some areas are left wild to provide natural habitats for plants, insects, birds and mammals, and with more bird and bat boxes being put up, the hope is to attract even more wildlife.
There’s 24 acres of beautiful parkland to enjoy with free parking and a tarmacked pathway that encircles well maintained green fields and woodlands. There’s also a relaxed and friendly atmosphere as people regularly use the park for exercising and walking their dogs. For the kids, teenagers and active adults there’s sports courts and playgrounds – one for toddlers another with large apparatus including a zip-line for bigger kids. There’s even an outside gym. Something for everyone in fact.
The Legend of St George at Caludon Castle
As well as history, there’s a wonderful legend that links St George, the Patron Saint of England as having been born and died in Coventry – at Caludon Castle no less. Richard Johnson, a 16th century author of the Famous Historie of the Seven Champions of Christendom was the first to place St George in Coventry. In the mid-14th century, King Edward III changed the patron saint of England from Edward to Saint George. The city was then the fourth largest in England. King Edward III’s mother, Queen Isabella lived in Coventry and Edward’s eldest son, the Black Prince inherited Coventry’s Royal Palace, Cheylesmore Manor – now the city’s Registry Office. The author Johnson chose Caludon Castle to have been the family residence of St George – and who’s to say it wasn’t?
Caludon Castle Park is located in Farren Road, Coventry CV2 5EH. It’s open from around 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.