Sorry ending for place of such fun

Camelot is boarded up
Camelot is boarded up
Share this article

No shrieks of excitement, rumble of the rides or even a single person in sight.

This is all that remains of Chorley’s former top attraction – Camelot.

The Charnock Richard theme park, which once saw more than 500,000 people flock through its gates, is now boarded up and falling into disrepair.

The only glimmer of activity at the deserted site has been the arrival of workmen called in to dismantle the towering rides.

The picture above is a far cry from its heyday, when staff would be gearing up for a busy season.

But, on what should have been its 30th year, the theme park stands eerily quiet.

“It’s really sad,” said dog walker Elizabeth Jackson. “It’s a real Chorley landmark and people would travel from all over to bring their kids to Camelot.

“I can remember seeing the young ones all dressed in their summer clothes, excited for a day on the rides.

“There would be coaches queuing to get on the car park too and there wouldn’t be a space left.

“Now, the car parks are empty and the buildings are falling in to disrepair.

“I come most days to walk my dog, Jess with my husband and we’ve seen it decline and decline.

“We have seen wagons coming to load up the rides, including the tea cups, but that’s it.

“Usually around this time, the whole place would be getting a lick of paint ready for the new season. This year there’s nothing.”

Elizabeth’s three children worked at the theme park, based on Arthurian legend, while at college and she has fond memories of visiting the attraction.

“My children have grown up with Camelot,” the 72-year-old from Eccleston added.

“It’s been a super place over the years and was a brilliant day out for the young ones.

“People would come on school trips and you’d be able to hear them screaming on the rides. It was wonderful.

“It’s sad for Chorley that it’s now closed. The last thing we need are more houses.”

The site has been earmarked for residential development by its new owners, Story Homes. They bought the 140-acre park when it went in to receivership in 2009.

It came as a result of falling visitor figures and bosses behind the attraction said the 2012 season would have to be its last.

Popular rides including the apple rollercoaster, Pendragon’s Plunge and ballons ride have now be taken down and sold off to former rival Gulliver’s World.

The company has also stepped in to offer jobs to former Camelot staff – of which there were more than 200 a year.

Among them are duty manager Melanie Burrows-Carr and maintenance worker Adam Whitter.

Managing director Julie Dalton, whose father set up Gulliver’s 35 years ago, said: “It’s disappointing to see a fellow attraction close its doors as we’re a supportive industry and always thrive on healthy competition.

“We are pleased to welcome Melanie, Adam and a number of other Camelot staff on board – their industry experience is invaluable and they’ve become key members of the team.”

When the Guardian contacted Camelot, an answer machine confirmed the theme park would not be re-opening again.

The former Camelot sign at the entrance has also been taken down and barriers have closed off the car parks.