Countryside walk - Shipley Country Park
- Credit: Archant
Without the hindrance of stiles or gates, this leisurely ramble is quite simply a walk in the park!
1. Shipley Country Park was established in 1976. It covers 700 acres and has some 20 miles of paths and bridleways. Every year since 2008 it has earned the Green Flag Award (a national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales).
From the car park walk to the Visitor Centre complex with shop, café and various play areas. Follow the path past swings on your left and the Volunteer Base building on your right. Continue beyond the Adventure Playground area and then head upwards to Cinderhill.
2. Turn right and follow a section of the Coppice Hill bridleway. On reaching Bell Lane turn right to walk along a roadway which is flanked by hedgerows. Across fields to your right is Flatmeadow Farm with a very impressive looking farmhouse.
3. At a dip in the lane turn left beside a gate to follow Mapperley Bridleway leading to Mapperley Reservoir. At times on this walk there are almost parallel routes offering a choice of following either the main bridleway or a footpath, sometimes with the opportunity of walking through woods to access nature reserves around the park.
4. At the far end of Mapperley Reservoir by the dam wall and the car park up to your left, cross over the approach road to follow Porterwood Bridleway. A footpath on the right provides access into Porter Wood and Mapperley Wood Nature Reserve. Cross over a brook by means of a high-sided wooden footbridge on the bridlepath and then head uphill to a junction with Slack Road.
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5. Turn left to follow the road. Notice far reaching views to your left towards the wooded slopes of Shipley Hill with Heanor in the distance. Some 182 acres of land hereabouts form Woodside Nature Reserve which is owned and managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on the site of the former Woodside Colliery which operated here until the 1960s.
The reserve is made up of wetlands, woodlands, hay meadow and grassland incorporating a ‘Living Bird Table’ which is sown with sunflower, quinoa, millet and barley and allowed to go to seed, thus providing food over the winter for birds such as reed bunting, linnet, yellowhammer and goldfinches.
6. The road descends around a left-hand bend and then continues downhill to re-cross the brook before ascending past Woodside Farm which has a picnic area and wildlife garden that are free to use and explore. Continue on the road past Lodge Farm and keep left at the Nutbrook Coffee Shop.
7. After passing a large pond with access path on the left, turn left at a junction. Look across Shipley Lake on your right where through the fencing it is often possible to see wild fowl bobbing about in the water, including swans, great crested grebe and tufted ducks. On the far shore is an engine house and winder from the former Shipley Woodside Colliery which operated 1847-1961. The area around the lake was later used as the site of the American Adventure theme park.
Shipley Lake originally served as one of the reservoirs used to top up levels in the Nutbrook Canal. The 4.5 mile-long stretch of canal constructed in 1796 served collieries at Shipley and West Hallam as well as an ironworks and brickworks before joining up with the Erewash canal near Trowell. The creator of this man-made waterway was the famous civil engineer Benjamin Outram, pioneer of canals and tramways.
8. Keep left where a cycle path heads off to the right and then turn left on the coach road to pass in front of Nottingham Lodge. At the end of a long wall on your left you may wish to detour by walking up the winding drive to the site of Shipley Hall on top of the hill.
The Shipley estate was an ancient manor recorded in Domesday Book. At that time it was a dense hunting forest but its riches lay below the surface in yet to be discovered seams of coal. The original Shipley Hall was built around 1700 and became the property of the Miller-Mundy family who worked several mines hereabouts. Profits from mining and other associated industries allowed them to rebuild the Hall on a much grander scale. Ironically, by the 20th century the Hall had become badly damaged by subsidence, and had to be demolished.
The fabulous landscaped grounds and gardens were said to be amongst the best in the country, until 1922 when the Miller-Mundy family left and gardening ceased. It was not until Shipley Country Park was established that the grounds were once again maintained, thankfully many of the original trees and flowering shrubs, now mature, can still be seen. Amongst the surface remains it is possible to locate a ha-ha (sunken trench and retaining wall), tennis court, pet graves and a folly. The former water tower is now converted into a stunning private residence.
Information boards tell about the history of the site and the family that lived here. See also how Suffragette Wall and Beggars Walk got their names. Return to the coach road and turn left, walking to Derby Lodge which has been turned into a tearoom.
9. Turn right at the lodge to walk down the tree-lined Shipley Lane to Osborne’s Pond where anglers can often be seen around its banks. Fish found in the various reservoirs, lakes and ponds at Shipley Country Park include roach, perch, bream, pike, carp, tench and crucian carp. Day peg and night-time angling is available (tickets must be purchased from the bailiff).
10. Turn left just before the low bridge to follow either the waterside path or a stretch of track-bed which forms part of the Nutbrook Trail and walk to the far end of the Pond. Bear left through a gap and cross an area of grass to a pathway. Follow this anti-clockwise around the outside of Cinderhill Coppice to return to the Visitor Centre.
Distance: 5 miles
Parking: Coppiceside Car Park next to the Visitor Centre DE75 7GX (pay and display) Grid Ref: 453431
Terrain: No stiles or gates. Easy going walk along footways, bridleways and quiet roads. Woodland paths with trip hazards. Close proximity to deep water.
Refreshments: Ramblers Café at the Visitor Centre. Nutbrook Coffee Shop and Derby Lodge Tearoom along the route
Toilets: Visitor Centre, Derby Lodge and Mapperley Reservoir car park
Map: O.S. Explorer 260 – Nottingham
Walk highlight: Abundance of wild flowers, song birds and nature reserves
Description: Shipley Country Park offers a network of paths, often criss-crossing and intersecting through and around a mixture of nature reserves, farmland and fishing lakes, all expertly managed and maintained by Derbyshire County Council or Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. At Shipley Hill is the footprint of a once grand house surrounded by an arboretum of mature specimen trees.