- Credit: Angela Sharpe
If you are looking for the archetypal park then Norwich’s Eaton Park is just about perfect.
There is grand central bandstand, a lily pond and boating pond; sports ranging from bowling to skate boarding and from pitch-and-putt to cycle speedway. Formal gardens, a fountain, football pitches, a colonnaded pavilion and vast expanses of grass to run around on are also part of Norwich’s biggest park.
But not everything is on a huge scale. Miniature railways wind through the flowerbeds, operated by engine enthusiasts every summer Sunday and a model boat club has been using the park since 1926. There are rose gardens, flower borders, tennis courts, a large adventure play area, paths and a 18-hole pitch-and-putt course too.
Eaton Park is one of a series of beautiful Norwich parks, created with government funding after the end of the First World War. Men, unemployed after returning from the war, were taken on to build new parks across the city, including Heigham Park, Wensum Park, Jubilee Park, Lakenham Recreation Ground, Sloughbottom Park, Woodrow Pilling Park and Mile Cross Gardens.
Eaton Park was opened in 1928 and is listed by English Heritage as of special historical interest. Eighty-six years on it is still being enjoyed by generations of Norwich people. Regular runs, walks, games and events take place in the park.
Never the pits
Whitlingham Country Park is one of Norfolk’s newest parks, created this century.
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Originally part of the Colman estate, near Trowse, just outside Norwich, its lakes were created from flooded gravel pits and there is also woodland, meadow, riverbank and a network of paths. Visitors can walk, cycle, sail, canoe, camp, climb, picnic, bird watch and find out about the history and natural history of this beautiful patch of countryside.
The country park is managed by Whitlingham Charitable Trust and the Broads Authority and there is also a café, and an outdoor education centre run by the county council.
Walk the talk
In the heart of King’s Lynn is a park which boasts a 15th century chapel as well as paths, plants, play areas and more.
The Walks is Norfolk’s only surviving 18th century town walk and has been recently restored to its former glory. It was created as a respite from the busy town centre and is nationally important as a very early example of a park for ordinary people.
Events this month include the chance to see Alice the Musical at 2.30pm on Tuesday, July 29. Youngsters aged five to 10 are invited to come in wonderland fancy dress and take part in a 45 minute drama workshop before the show.
Love Parks Week
The UK’s largest celebration of green spaces, runs from Friday July 25 to Sunday, August 3. National Parks Week, celebrating Britain’s most beautiful landscapes, runs from Monday, July 28 to Sunday, August 3.
Don’t miss free outdoor theatre for children in Norwich’s parks next month. Performances start at 3pm every Friday and the programme includes:
At Waterloo Park see Alice in Wonderland on August 1; Mr Albert’s Big Finish, with Magic Carpet Theatre Company, August 8; Dizzy O Dare and The Wonderful World of Mr E, August 15; The Inspirational Science Theatre Company present Circus Science Show on August 22, and Richard III (Dastardly Dick or Righteous Richard?) at Waterloo Park on August 29.
Heigham Park has The Yarnsmith of Norwich and Tilly the Talespinner telling silly summer stories and riddles, at 11am every Sunday through August.