Rushcliffe Country Park


Rushcliffe Country Park

Infobox park
park= Rushcliffe Country Park


image size=
caption=
type= Country Park
location= Ruddington, UK
coordinates= coord|52.8925|N|1.1497|W|type:landmark_region:GB|display=title,inline
size= 210 Acres
opened= 1993
operator= Rushcliffe Borough Council
annual visitors= 250,000
status= Open All Year

Rushcliffe Country Park .

The park is free to enter & attracts approximately 250,000 visitors a year.

Original site - pre country park

Originally the area was a boggy waterland. In the 18th century it was drained into a stream named Gibsons Dyke and transformed into productive farmland by Arthur Gibson after the Enclosure Act of 1767.

In 1940 a depot was built with a bomb factory & ammunition bunker. The site consisted of over 200 buildings & took only 18 months to build. A total of 4000 workers were involved in the building work of a site that would remain for 41 years.

After being decommissioned in 1945 the site was used for auctioning redundant ex-military vehicles & equipment with the depot finally closing in 1983. The auctions were known nationally & were held every eight weeks. Each auction lasted about a week & were so popular that they were advertised in the national press & dealers came from all over the country.

Transformation

Location map
Nottinghamshire
label =
position = center
lat = 52.89
long = -1.14
mark =
caption =
Location Of Rushcliffe Country Park


width = 200

The park is now situated on the site of the disused Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) depot. The buildings were reduced to rubble when the park was reclaimed & designed by Nottinghamshire County Council. The rubble was used to landscape the site, thousands of trees were planted & a lake created. Some areas including Fowemer Hill were raised by 7 metres.

Work began in 1989 & the park was finally completed in 1993 at a cost of £3.5 million.

Originally the site was to be used for housing but the district council were against the idea. It was then suggested that the site be used as a business park with landscaped surroundings. The Transport Heritage Centre was added as another idea to add greater interest to the site.

It is now managed by Rushcliffe Borough Council with a team of full time rangers.

The park today

The park is a natural habitat for wildlife, including a family of Swans who first took up residence in May 1996 & is also used as an open space for recreational activities. It is open 365 days of the year although the car park has opening times dependent on the time of year.There are over convert|5|mi|km of pathways situated between landscaped areas, grassland, wildflower meadows, community gardens & woodlands which are used by walkers, joggers & cyclists.

The park is also located next to Ruddington Fields Business Park & the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre which is open every Sunday & Bank Holiday from Easter Sunday to late October, with its collection of steam trains & classic buses.

::"For more information, see Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre."

Recreation

There are numerous recreational activities within the park including three Natural Heritage Trails of varying length which are followed by markers:

*Yellow Trail - convert|2.5|mi|km
*Red Trail - convert|1.3|mi|km
*Blue Trail - convert|1.2|mi|km

A play area for children has also been built with over twenty pieces of play equipment along with a small refreshment stand close by.

There are also two items of play equipment designed for disabled visitors, specifically a swing & roundabout which have been designed in conjunction with carers & professionals & include full body support & removable harnesses.

The whole play area underwent a £60,000 refurbishment in Spring 2008 which added extra equipment for children whatever their needs.

A skateboard ramp was built in 2000 due to the enthusiasm of local teenagers.

There is man made lake fed from a culvert (Gibsons Dyke) with reed beds covering two hectares, which serve as an important habitat for many species of birds & insect life. The park is an ideal place to spot wildlife in a natural habitat.

The park hosts several annual events, including a kite festival & a fun run.

In Spring 2008 work began on a 4-cross cycle track which opened in May. The track has been designed by Council engineers & members of the Free Riders 4-cross club & was partly funded by a £20,000 grant.A series of obstacles have been developed on a hillside including table tops, ski jumps, drop offs & double / triple jumps which will be to competition standards. It is intended that the track will be used for competitions, race meetings, daytime & evening school sessions as well as for public use. It will be one of only eight tracks based in the UK.

Environment

Energy

An Environmental Education Centre was officially opened in 2005 & is designed to be Energy Neutral. The project was financed by Nottingham County Council

Two wind turbines generate power with the excess sold to the National Grid whilst Solar Power is used for water heating along with a Biomass Boiler.

Rushcliffe Country Park has received awards for its effective energy management.

Conservation

Gibbies Wood is an area of the park covering 4.5 hectares named after Arthur Gibson, which is part of the Natural Heritage Project & also a BTCV award winning project. The area appeared to be returning back to a marshland & therefore simple, modern drains were laid to discharge water from the site. This in turn created a shallow pond & helped re-establish a part of the marsh.

Young Children can also paticually enjoy Gibbies Wood as it includes a number of wooden sculptures & a Log Maze.

The Wildflower meadows host over 100 species of flowers & 20 types of grass. From May through to September a sucession of flowers attract bees, butterflies & many other insects. Small mammals also live within the meadows which creates a hunting ground for the birds of prey.

To date, 31 species of moth & 16 species of butterfly have been recorded.

There are a number of Barn Owl boxes throughout the park that attract little owls & kestrels.

Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park

The Friends Of Rushcliffe Country Park is a voluntary group formed in October 1997 & a registered charity which meets regularly & carries out improvement projects along with conservation work.

Recent projects have included the creation of Willow Sculptures, a Tree Identification Trail and the carving of seats and other features, as well as conservation work such as hedge laying and tree planting.

Gallery - Wildlife

Awards

The park has been maintained the Green Flag award for two years; the national standard for parks & green spaces in the United Kingdom & Wales.

Education

Rangers provide educational talks to local groups on environmental topics & there are also exhibitions explaining how to live a greener lifestyle.

For children there is a Tree Identification Trail.

Controversy

Naming & Byelaws

In August 1993 the park was officially handed over to Rushcliffe Borough Council by Nottinghamshire County Council. In fierce controversy the park was named 'Rushcliffe Country Park' whilst it had been known locally as 'Ruddington Country Park'. Objections flooded into the Parish Council, paticually when the original bronze plaque was removed & changed to state 'Rushcliffe Country Park'.An article in the local vilage newsletter stated:

Vquote|center|width=70%
It has generated more anger in the village than anything else anyone can remember. The people are speaking loud and clear.

On Saturday 28th May 1994 the official opening ceremony was boycotted by the local Parish Council, Ruddington Borough Councillors & many prominent members of the community as yet another controversy had arisen. Byelaws had been published including the banning of bicycles in the park, including toddlers tricycles. This was later retracted by the Mayor Of Rushcliffe.

Many local residents still do not recognise the park by it's official name, however Rushcliffe Borough Council changed the name to reflect that it is a park for all residents of Rushcliffe.

Vandalism

In 1999 a part of the play area was destroyed by an arson attack. The damage cost £14000 to repair but is the only serious piece of wilfull damage to date.

Tree Felling

In March 2008 a petition was started to prevent the felling of 70 sycamore trees along the edge of the A60. It was concluded that 12 trees could pose a danger to traffic, however the remaining trees were also being removed as they had killed a hedgerow due to their close proximity blocking light.The petition gained approximately 350 signatures and was handed to Rushcliffe Borough Council.

The local council maintained that once the trees were removed a new hedgerow would be planted which will add to the diversity of wildlife within the park & work was completed in June 2008.

Transport links

;Green line 10:"Nottingham City Centre - Railway Station - Trent Bridge - ASDA - Wolds Estate - Ruddington

;Ruddington connection:"Nottingham (Broadmarsh Shopping Centre) - Trent Bridge - Wilford - Ruddington

;Midland fox 99:"Nottingham - Ruddington - Bunny - Costock - Rempstone - Loughborough - Shepshed - Thringstone - Whitwick - Coalville

External links

* [http://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/doc.asp?cat=1498 Rushcliffe Country Park]
* [http://www.friends-of-rcp.co.uk/ Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park]
* [http://www.public.tv/default.aspx?channel=&video=00535BD8-D685-44E1-A845-18A5B87EFF2D Rushcliffe Country Park Video]
* [http://www.ruddington-history.org.uk/b2b/history/default.htm Bombs To Butterflies]
* [http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Rushcliffe+Country+Park+Ruddington&ie=UTF8&cd=1&ll=52.88467,-1.145968&spn=0.012663,0.028925&t=k&z=15&om=1 Google Maps Satelite Image Of Rushcliffe Country Park]
* [http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/ Green Flag Award]
* [http://www2.btcv.org.uk/display/btcv_home BTCV]
* [http://www.nthc.co.uk Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre]
* [http://www.free-riders.co.uk/ Free Riders]


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