There is a quiet place where nobody goes that has been frozen in time since the early 20th century - surrounded by thick forests and littered with broken down vehicles, caravans and posters, the clearing is devoid of all life.

Yet at the centre of the clearing is a "big top" style tent in the traditional red and white striped patterns of the circuses of old. Several flags blow in the often cold air.

During the hours of daylight the place is silent save for the sounds of birds in the surrounding trees or the crunching of dirt beneath one's feet. Entering the big top one can see rows of empty seats and a large open space where performers of old would have given the audience a spectacular show.

Equipment once used by acrobats swing from the top of the tent and a stand remains in the centre, covered in dust - once the place where great beasts such as elephants would perform their tricks.

Yet by the cover of night things change as the abandoned big top comes to life, the silence of the clearing shattering as the sound of old carnival music fills the air and spectral crowds come out from the forest. They flood into the tent as skeletal figures on stilts take tickets and strange, malformed creatures juggle and ride unicycles. Disgustingly fat, putrid beings dressed in clown suits hand out balloons to excited children with no eyes and beckon to any living soul foolish enough to be in the area at the time.

If one enters the big top they are directed to sit down in the crowd, the whole place buzzing with activity as headless attendants hand out buckets of popcorn and candyfloss to the crowds. The smell of death, urine and animal musk dominates the entire area.

Trying to get up results in being shoved back into one's seat, resistance only causes several of those fat clown creatures to sit around you like spectral bouncers. The show, as they say, must always go on.

Indeed, what a show it is too. A ringmaster appears in a tattered red suit with a top hat and a long whip, his face covered in scars and eyes rolled back into his head as he speaks gibberish to the crowds, who cheer and clap.

Acrobats swing across the big top with disturbing movements, not unlike rag dolls. At the same time a parade of malnourished horses go in circles around the stage. On their backs ride what appear to be extremely thin women with revealing costumes and burlap sacks wrapped around their heads.

After this ritual is complete the crowds cheer some more and the ringmaster bows. More gibberish flows from his mouth and he cracks his whip against the stand - it is then that the sound of heavy footsteps enter the big top as a pure white elephant enters and gives a mighty trumpet with its trunk. The beast would be strikingly beautiful had its thick skin not been covered in deep scars, some of which had not healed properly and thus gave way to noticeable infection.

The great elephant makes its way to the stand and goes up onto its hind legs. The ringmaster cracks his whip again and the crowds cheer. Then, the ringmaster bows and the elephant returns from where it came.

A final line of nonsense comes from the ringmaster's mouth and the crowds get up and leave. Should you find yourself as part of this spectacle you will be moved along; should you be unwilling or unable to move, those fat clowns will be sure to help you on your way.

Exiting the big top you are greeted to a final show as those unicycle-riding dwarves now take on the role of fire-eaters and a strongman shows off his might, sporting so much muscle mass it is almost obscene.

Finally, you are approached by one of the skeletal figures on stilts. Should you be brave enough not to flee, the figure hands you a ticket and gives you a smile before leaving; that is when you should also think on leaving, for by the time the sun rises again the crowds will have returned to the forest and the big top will once again be empty as the morning birds begin to play their tune.