NottinghamWell, the Easter weekend was mostly typical Bank Holiday weather- thick cloud and rain- until Easter Monday. Waking up to bright sunshine and a clear blue sky I wanted to do something active, a little different… and cheap.

I have been wanting to explore more of my local area, and putting ‘Nottingham’ into Google Maps I noticed that there are quite a few parks and green areas within walking distance of the city centre. I decided to make it my mission to find and explore the ‘green lungs’ of the city and scribbled out a route that would take me to nine parks.

I walked into the city centre, planning on buying a sandwich to eat later in lovely surroundings and sunshine, but this little plan was soon scuppered when I realised I had left my purse at home, so I had to make do with a bottle of water and a granola bar.

Leaving the city by way of Goldsmiths Street, I reached my first green area, which actually turned out to be a cemetery. Ah well, the Arboretum was just over the road. This is a large park that was opened in 1852 following the Nottingham Inclosure Act of 1845. This Act was a visionary project to provide green spaces in the rapidly expanding city for recreation, exercise and clean air.

The Arboretum has a pond and an aviary which contains a variety of small birds. It’s layout is still much the same as it was in Victorian times, and as a result it is Grade 11 Listed. Walking along paths following high tree lined banks, it was hard to believe that the city was so close as I could barely hear any traffic, just the odd dull clang of tram bells.

The Arboretum

The Arboretum

I reluctantly left the park and headed towards the Forest Recreation Ground- another park created by the Nottingham Inclosure Act. This park is huge, and as much of it is on a steep hill you can see for some distance. It was originally part of Sherwood Forest, and I felt quite saddened to realise that 150 years ago the view would be forest as far as the eye could see, rather than the endless rows of terraced houses of today.

The Forest Recreation Ground was originally a race course, and in 1865 the first game of football was played here by a team who would later become known as Nottingham Forest. There were some lovely twisting walkways on the hill but they were slightly marred by the amount of lager cans that were lying around. It was really warm by now, and I would have welcomed a drink from the new café but sadly I had no means of paying for one!

Forest Recreation Ground

Forest Recreation Ground

I left the park by way of the impressive white Forest Lodge, built in 1857, and went in search of my next objective- Coppice Recreation Ground in Mapperley. I had noticed a curious little tree-lined walkway called Robin Hood’s Chase which passes a funny little grassy mound owned by Severn Trent (sadly no access) and I detoured from the path to find the Coppice Recreation Ground. At first I thought it was just a children’s’ play area, but a set of steep steps led up to a grassy hilltop complete with a muddy path with another good view over the city. I don’t think many people make the climb to the top, and I reluctantly left this peaceful haven to retrace my steps to St Annes, where I tried to find my next objective- Victoria Park.

Coppice Recreation Ground

Coppice Recreation Ground

Unfortunately I got slightly lost, which was rather disconcerting as St Annes is, shall we say, one of the less salubrious areas of Nottingham. When I eventually found it, I was rather disappointed- it isn‘t very big. There was a bit of a bonus though as there is another park connected to it which I hadn‘t noticed on the map- St Mary’s Rest Garden- which was a lot nicer. It was like a little green hill, bordered by busy roads, yet somehow peaceful, and I sat and ate my granola bar next to the lion topped tomb of a Victorian prize fighter known as ‘Bendigo’.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

My next park was King Edward’s Park in Sneinton- a nice enough green space with a playing field and walkways winding steeply uphill with glimpses of the city between the trees.

A curious brick tower!

A curious brick tower!

I was feeling quite tired by this point, and nearly didn’t detour up to Green’s Mill Park in Sneinton, but I was glad I made the effort as I was rewarded by the impressive sight of a restored windmill at the top of the hill. This, unsurprisingly, is Green’s Mill- built in 1807 by George Green. His son later took over the mill, and in time became a successful mathematician. The mill fell into disuse in the 20th century and was restored to full working order in the 1980s.

Green's Mill

Green’s Mill, Sneinton

My last objective turned out to be the large, overgrown churchyard of St Stephen’s Church- I walked right round the church and found the graves of both George Greens. My right knee was niggling me by now- this has been giving me problems lately- so I decided to call it a day and turned for home. It was a good trip out though- and I feel as though I know a little more of Nottingham‘s history.

St Stephen's Church, Sneinton

St Stephen’s Church, Sneinton

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged with:

Filed under: EnglandEuropeTraining

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!