BACKGROUND HISTORY OF THE PARK
The land for the Park was purchased by a group of people from the village and the then Parish Council to create a Memorial Park after the 1st World War. The original subscription list can be downloaded here. The Park eventually had a tennis court and pavilion, children’s play area with swings etc, well tended flower beds and space for football and cricket. Many trees were planted. In the early 1960s land on Lower Lane, in the middle of the village, became available, big enough for two football pitches and cricket in the summer, a tennis court, children’s playground and car parking , as well as space for a building as a meeting place for the Parish Council and a Hall for the groups in the village. The Park on Stubbins Lane was not needed as much for a Recreation Area and bit by bit the facilities were so damaged that they were removed. The grass was mowed occasionally and the paths maintained but it reverted to being a field again. Two footpaths cross the area and many people used the area to exercise their dogs. In winter after a fall of snow children made use of the slopes for sledging.
The Park settled down to a new phase in its existence. Because the grass had not been fertilised many wild flowers colonised the area and in turn many insects followed, the insects attracted birds and bats. Wild animals from the surrounding farmland also made their home there. Unfortunately a lot of litter and rubbish also appeared. A few years ago some of the Dog Walkers decided to make a start to tidy the area, in the first place to protect their dogs. Many bags of rubbish were carried home! Bit by bit as the area was tidied up it became a wonderful wildlife Park. We were so pleased with our efforts that Derbyshire Wildlife and English Nature Representatives were invited to come and have a look. They were amazed and wondered why they didn’t know that such a wonderful meadow existed. There are very few unimproved hay meadows in North Derbyshire. The variety of wild flowers and grasses is ‘significant’. The planning began to further develop the area as a Local Nature Reserve.
The Old Tennis Court area had been invaded by Knotweed and it was spreading rapidly. The Parish Council were asked for funding to remove it before it spread any further. Only a Professional Company is allowed to deal with knotweed growing in such profusion. The first spraying with herbicide was done in 2007. The Company have returned to spray a third time during the summer 2009. The third spraying during 2009 will hopefully eradicate this very invasive weed. Plans are being considered how to develop this area once the knotweed is finally eradicated.
Three of the Friends dug out and widened one of the gravel paths last year to make it easier for walking and for push chairs. Throughout the summer paths are mowed through the meadow areas so that the Flowers, Grasses and Insects can be more easily seen. The hay crop in 2007 had to be abandoned for several reasons. Mr Henshall was able to get a cut of hay in 2008. So we thank him for that.
There are ongoing plans to add more springtime bulbs. The spring display of snowdrops and crocus is beautiful. We planted a lot of daffodils in 2007 some were bought by Stephen Carter for the Friends. After his untimely death in 2007 the daffodils will be a lasting memorial. More bulbs have been planted during 2008/9. Many of these were donated by Mr Ellison from Buxton and Mrs Gunter from Chinley. it is well worth a visit to the Park when the daffodils are in flower.
The Steps by the Railway Fence were in a sorry state. But thanks to funding obtained by the Friends they are now repaired.
The Chinley Brownies and their parents and friends have made bird boxes as part of an environmental badge. They are now sited. In Spring 2008 one was occupied as a nest site. They will be monitored and any activity will be reported to the Brownies.
Derbyshire Groundwork Volunteers rebuilt a length of dry-stone wall near the Railway Steps. Two long and tiring days were needed to build the first length of wall. Most of the volunteers were beginners enjoying the opportunity to learn more about this ancient skill. There is a lot of wall to practice on! On one of the Work days another length of wall was refurbished by two of the Friends.
Another visit by Kieron Huston from Derbyshire Wildlife was very welcome. He offered a lot of very useful advice for the ongoing development of the Park as a Nature Reserve.
Some of the Brambles and other weeds have been cut back from the paths and also some of the sapling trees that were invading the woodland areas. Many of the patches of brambles will not be disturbed as they provide much needed shelter for wildlife.