SHIPLEY COUNTRY PARK
First time visitors to Shipley Park, entering the park through the sprawling Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, begin to doubt that an attractive country park lies ahead and think they have taken a wrong turn. Suddenly Shipley Park is entered, the noise of industry is silenced and an area of wooded parkland, hills, lakes, trails and an abundance of wildlife stretches out in front of you. The park covers an area of 600 acres of varied landscape and has 18 miles of footpaths. It lies between the former pit towns of Heanor and Ilkeston. The other main entrance is at Mapperley, off the Ilkeston to West Hallam road, where a car park, toilet facilities and a picnic area are provided.
The Miller-Mundy family developed Shipley in the 18th century as a country estate and a coal mining area. A scheme was drawn up to transport the coal by canal, down the Nutbrook Valley to link up with Erewash Canal. This altered the landscape dramatically as reservoirs had to be constructed to supply the canal with water. An estate map of the early 19th century, shows three lakes on the northern side of Shipley Hill. The deep-mining of the land had the inevitable consequence of spoiling the appearance of the sections of the park where it was undertaken.
In the latter half of the 1900s, the area despoiled by mining activities was restored after over 50 years of neglect. The old railway lines have now been converted into trails, the reservoirs into lakes full of wildlife and bare patches of land reseeded. Over half a million trees have been planted since Derbyshire County Council opened the area as a country park in 1976.
Further development has been carried out in the last 25 years, including the creation of wetland habitats, the design of a wildlife garden, the erection of a visitor centre and even a secure toddlers’ playground. Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre provides a well stocked gift shop, an exhibition area and a spacious coffee shop with seating inside and out. A model of Shipley Hall is on display at the centre. There is a sculpture trail that provides enjoyment for people of all ages and an events area, has been provided for special occasions.
The visitor centre also provides an administrative base and home for the Countryside Rangers, as well as housing an environmental education room used by schools and community groups for lectures. Bird watching is a popular pursuit in the park and bird hides are provided. Another well supported pastime is fishing, with the lakes providing a venue for regular angling competitions. A bridleway runs alongside the lakes and nature reserves, surrounded by attractive woodland.
One of Derbyshire’s prettiest cricket grounds, the home of Shipley Park Cricket Club can be found in the park. Sadly the American Adventure Theme Park, announced it was closing down in January 2007, and put up for sale all the rides and equipment.
The facilities at Shipley Country Park include:
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SHIPLEY COUNTRY PARK
The park covers an area of 600 acres of varied landscape and has 18 miles of footpaths. It lies between the former pit towns of Heanor and Ilkeston. There are excellent visitor facilities with lakes, trails and an abundance of wildlife. Some of the extensive network of paths, are suitable for wheelchairs.
The adventure playground and toddler area is popular with younger visitors, whereas the sculpture trail is great entertainment for all ages.
THE VISITOR CENTRE
The Countryside Gift Shop is well stocked and there is also the Ramblers Coffee Shop to visit.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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SHIPLEY COUNTRY PARK WALK
Click here for a guided walk through Shipley Country Park.