CAMELOT, Chorley, Lancashire’s once touted as the land of “great days and amazing nights, has met its maker, as bulldozers and diggers take a whack at the theme park.

This ghostly theme park was formerly one of the region’s most prized attractions, hosting well over 500,000 guests from 1983 to 1995. However, since the theme park closed back in 2012 it has been abandoned, left to decay, and run over by pyromaniacs and trespassers. To add insult to injury, the site is also home to a myriad of discarded mannequins spread throughout the grounds. Once used as set dressing and décor at Camelot Theme Park, the bodies now lie strewn across the grounds, decomposing and mutilated, while remaining in their medieval regalia. It is an unsettling site, to say the least.

Once Upon A Time

The medieval-themed park opened in 1983. Now, thirty-seven years later, nothing remains but crumbling buildings besieged with decay and rusting rollercoasters.

Now, according to Lancashire Live, demolition has begun. Once a homage to Camelot, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, now all that is left of the park's flagship castle entrance is a heaping pile of bricks.

The story was that Sir Lancelot’s parents escaped from France to Lancashire and the knight was raised by the nymph Vivian who had taken him into Martin Mere Lake as a baby.

Once upon a time, the park hosts the Medieval magic of the rollercoasters, rides and live jousting competitions. Popular attractions amongst guests include Knightmare, Dragon Flyer, Caterpillar Capers, The Galleon, and Pendragon’s Plunge. Merlin’s Magic Shows and Birds of Prey performances were particularly big hits with the kids.

The park received its fair share of the limelight when the much beloved TV show, Sooty & Co, filmed an episode at the theme park back in 1994! It even served as a proving ground for up-and-coming entertainers, including Britain’s Got Talent and Chorley comedian Steve Royale. It was at this now defuncted park where Royale entertained the crowds as a jester for over a decade!

The Beginning of the End

The park's demise stems from bad weather and dwindling visitors, claims the owner. Apparently, large events like the Olympics stole the attention and attendance of audiences near and far. However, there were a couple of fatal incidents at the park that allegedly played a part in its closure. In 2001, a park employee was struck and killed by The Gauntlet roller coaster. And in 2004, a young boy was hit and killed by a bus in the Camelot parking lot.

What’s Left Now

The once flourishing land of mayhem and merriment now stands overrun with vines and graffiti.

The Whirlwind, a popular coaster in its time, was sold and transferred to Skyline Park in Germany, while Knightmare remained, but was ultimately demolished in February 2020.

In 1986, the park was run by the Granada Group and ran in conjunction with its sister parks, American Adventure and Granada Studios Tour. Come June 1998, the park was subject to a management buyout and by 2005 Camelot’s visitors had fallen to a lowly 336,204 each year.

In February 2009, Prime Resorts announced to the public that the park was facing bankruptcy and as a result would not reopen for the season that year.

Shortly after, the theme park was purchased by Story Group, a construction company based in Carlisle. It was then leased to Knight’s Leisure who ran it until its closure in 2012, when 150 staff members lost their jobs.

Despite that the 140-acre site had been the object of several vandalism and arson assaults throughout the years, according to a survey recorded in 2019, the property could fit up to 6,294 flats and be worth a handsome £793,000.

An application to build 420 houses there by owners Story Group was unanimously rejected by Chorley Council in 2014, after being met with 261 public objections and was not permissible within the Green Belt.

A second application was announced in 2016 to build two hundred new houses. Alas, plans for 195 homes in March 2018 were nixed.

The Future of Camelot

So, why all the sudden demolition? Well, it seems fears concerning “unstable” structures at the park, with the Story Group reportedly considering what alternatives they now have for the open and versatile land.