Advantages Lots of Recreational Space
Disadvantages Close to an Industrial Estate
Shipley Country Park is located between Ilkeston and Heanor in Derbyshire, 10 miles to the North East of Derby and 11 miles to the West of Nottinghamshire. The Park covers an area of over 600 acres of open Grassland, landscaped Gardens, Lakes and Reservoirs and other recreational areas.This is an area of Derbyshire that I seldom visit, as I tend to prefer the more hilly areas of the Peak District National Park further to the North. However I did recently find myself “down south” so to speak and the Shipley Country Park was one of the places that I visited.
The Park opened to the Public in 1976 and is managed by Derbyshire County Council. The former Estate was a vast Country Estate, which during the 18th and 19th centuries and was the residence of a very prominent local family called the Miller-Mundy’s. The Estate was rich in Coal deposits and the Miller-Mundy family exploited these. These Mining activities have helped to shape the Park into what we see today.A decision was made to transport the Coal by Canal, down the Nutbrook Valley linking up with Erewash Canal. This decision altered the landscape dramatically as three different Reservoirs were constructed to supply the Canal with water.
There is no entrance fee to enter the Park, although there is a 50p charge for Parking. This payment is however taken on trust and not enforced. There is a payment box in both of the main Car Parks, but when I visited recently I noted that many people were deciding to ignore this.There are lots of mature woodlands within the Estate and within these there are numerous footpaths, trails and bridleways.. These include nature trails, which are colour-coded depending on their level of difficulty. The easiest walks should be possible even for wheelchair users. There are over 18 miles of footpaths in total.
The remnants of the area’s Coal Mining past is still evident today, especially as you approach the Park through the former Mining towns of either Ilkeston or Heanor. It is probably fair to say, without offending anybody, that these are not the prettiest of Towns and they still contain many scars from their past.There are two main entrances into the Country Park. One of these is at Mapperley, just off the Ilkeston to West Hallam Road, but we followed the signs from Heanor and entered via the rather unsightly Heanor Gate Industrial Estate. For a brief moment we actually thought that we had taken a wrong turn but the scenery does improve dramatically as you finally reach the Park.
The first impressions of the Park is that is very green and there is also a lot of different Ponds and Lakes. The lay of the land is sloping but not too steeply inclined. Located within the Park there is the American Adventure Park, which is currently closed and up for sale. This occupies quite a large area of the Grounds and it will be interesting to see what will happen to it if a new buyer cannot be found.Elsewhere within the Park there is a Sculpture trail and an Adventure Playground, as well as a Toddler area for younger Children.
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