A LONG-RUNNING car boot sale is to close down after running for 38 years.

Ardleigh Car Boot, which pitches-up on land off Old Ipswich Road, is to call it a day at the end of this month after nearly four decades.

The field is to be used for an extension to the reservoir and despite the popular venue being attended by thousands each week no alternative location has yet been found.

The car boot is famed for being the event at which a Colchester woman purchased an Elizabeth Fink statue for £90 before it was valued at £60,000 on the TV programme Fake or Fortune.

Chris Harrington who runs Weeley car boot on Saturdays and Marks Tey car boot on Wednesdays hopes to bridge the gap left open by Ardleigh car boot's permanent closure.

Gazette: Packed - A car boot... at the Ardleigh Car BootPacked - A car boot... at the Ardleigh Car Boot (Image: Lorne Spicer)
While both his car boot sales are now closed for winter he said: “The public love a big Sunday boot sale so since the Ardleigh closure was announced on Facebook I’ve had a lot of people ask me to open at Weeley because the field at Weeley is the only dedicated boot sale site available in the area which can provide the necessary facilities for such a large car boot sale. 

"Since we announced the plan to open on Sundays we have had a tremendous response from people who want to keep a big boot sale going.

"New members of staff will be joining us. So all in all, it’s a very exciting prospect.”

Fortunately there are still a few hardstanding car boots taking place this winter, at Leigh-on-sea train station, Chelmsford Park and Ride and in Stanway, Colchester.

Colchester Car Boot Sale is also gearing up for increased business this winter as more people travel to the venue to buy and sell in the face of the cost of living crisis.

Sellers pay £12 to set up from 8am with early buyers paying £3 for access at 9am.

Gazette: Furry friend - The car boot isn't just loved by humansFurry friend - The car boot isn't just loved by humans (Image: Lorne Spicer)Gazette: Sale - A drumkit up for grabs at Ardleigh Car BootSale - A drumkit up for grabs at Ardleigh Car Boot (Image: Lorne Spicer)
A spokesman said: “We will be amending our timings as well as restructuring how we currently operate to help us cope with the additional demand and expect to see truly significant growth throughout the entirety of 2024.”

Jessica Grocott of Team Angus has raised thousands for treatment for her son Angus - who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy - at both Ardleigh and Colchester car boots.

She said: “Both venues have been so supportive of Angus and our charity so we were really sad to see Ardleigh is not happening next year.

"We hope all the lovely buyers who have supported us in 2023 will carry on doing so through the winter at Colchester.

"Last winter we raised £1,000 through our donations in just five weeks stalling out at Colchester.”