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Travellers set up illegal caravan camp in grounds of historic country park

Travellers set up illegal caravan camp in grounds of historic country park and hotel famous for its Capability Brown gardens

  • Around 20 caravans towed by a fleet of 4x4s and vans entered Coombe Country Park near Coventry on Friday
  • Site also includes the historic Coombe Abbey hotel, developed from a Grade I-listed former country house
  • Travellers were issued with a court order telling them to leave by 1pm today, according to the local council  

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Travellers set up an illegal caravan camp in the grounds of a historic country park and hotel famous for its Capability Brown gardens. 

Around 20 caravans towed by a fleet of 4x4s and vans entered Coombe Country Park near Coventry on Friday evening and parked on the ‘events field’ on the left side of the entrance drive. 

The site also includes the historic Coombe Abbey hotel, developed from a Grade I-listed former country house.

Around 20 caravans towed by a fleet of 4x4s and vans entered Coombe Country Park near Coventry on Friday evening and parked on the ‘events field’ on the left side of the entrance drive (other way round in this photo as it is taken from the house)

The site also includes the historic Coombe Abbey hotel, developed from a Grade I-listed building and former country house. Pictured is one of the caravans parked there

The site also includes the historic Coombe Abbey hotel, developed from a Grade I-listed building and former country house. Pictured is one of the caravans parked there 

Parkgoer David Locke, 50, spotted the travellers (pictured) when he took his daughter to Go Ape inside the park on Saturday afternoon

Capability Brown: England’s great gardener

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who gained his nickname because he would tell clients their estates had great ‘capability’ for improvements to the landscape, is considered one of Britain’s greatest ever gardeners.

He transformed the look of 18th century country house gardens, and liked to remove formal planting in favour of an idealised ‘natural’ landscape – moving hills, making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, draining marshland to create lakes and even moving an entire village out of sight to improve the view.

Brown worked incredibly fast, taking only an hour to survey an estate and rough out a design. He travelled incessantly, for he could have as many as 30 projects on the go at any one time.

His CV reads like a roll call of the stately homes of England: Warwick Castle, Petworth House, Burghley, Chatsworth, Blenheim, Longleat, Stourhead and Highclere Castle – the real Downton Abbey.

He was born some day between 1715 and 1716, and died on 6 February, 1783 after falling ill suddenly in London.

Park-goer David Locke, 50, spotted the travellers when he took his daughter to Go Ape inside the park on Saturday afternoon.

He said: ‘The grounds were being used by families and groups enjoying the space and the good weather but the travellers looked like they’d pitched up for a fortnight’s holiday.

‘There were barbecues going, kids running around and washing hanging up on lines between the vans.

‘Two of the men were even flogging rubbish toy car rides to tourists for £6 a go but I didn’t see anyone using them.

‘It’s a shame really because there was a lovely big wedding at the hotel on Saturday and all the pictures would have had these big caravans in the background.’

Police were called and attended the scene, and Coventry City Council has launched eviction proceedings.

The council slapped the travellers with a formal notice to vacate the park by 1pm today.

A council spokesperson said: ‘[The formal notice] will give the travellers until 1pm Tuesday 16 July to leave Coombe Country park.’

In a statement released by the council on July 13, the authority said: ‘We are aware that a number of travellers have made their way on to Coombe Country Park.

‘They are not close to any of the main public areas and Coombe is still open for visitors. This includes Coombe Abbey Hotel and Go Ape.

‘Warwickshire Police has been out and we will start the eviction process on Monday morning.’

An aerial view of the tree-lined driveway leading up to the house, with the travellers encampment on the field to the left

An aerial view of the tree-lined driveway leading up to the house, with the travellers encampment on the field to the left 

Police were called and attended the scene, and Coventry City Council has launched eviction proceedings for the travellers (pictured)

Police were called and attended the scene, and Coventry City Council has launched eviction proceedings for the travellers (pictured)

Visitor Mr Locke said: ‘There were barbecues going, kids running around and washing hanging up on lines between the vans’

The council slapped the travellers with a formal notice to vacate the park by 1pm today. A council spokesperson said the site remained open for visitors

The council slapped the travellers with a formal notice to vacate the park by 1pm today. A council spokesperson said the site remained open for visitors 

An aerial image of the stunning Coombe Abbey Country Park, complete with its beautiful and historic landscape gardens

An aerial image of the stunning Coombe Abbey Country Park, complete with its beautiful and historic landscape gardens 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk