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As well as many small green spaces and ‘pocket’ parks in West Hunsbury, we have three beautiful major Parks, namely Hunsbury Hill Country Park, Ladybridge Park and Wootton Brook Park.
Ladybridge Park is on the south side of Ladybridge Drive, near the eastern end, and includes the playing fields used by Welland Valley Football Club. The vehicular entrance to this Park has a gate which is closed every night.
Wootton Brook Park is on the north side of Ladybridge Drive, opposite Ladybridge Park, and includes Shelfleys Lake and Wootton Brook weir. There is no vehicular access to this Park.
Hunsbury Hill Country Park is on top of the Hill, just east of Camp Hill shops and across the road from St. Benedict’s Church. This Park includes the Drovers Return café, Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Trust (NIRT) and the jewel in our crown, the Iron Age Hillfort. The vehicular entrance to this Park also has a gate which is closed every night.
These Parks are a great asset to West Hunsbury and are there to be enjoyed by all, whether local or visiting the area.
There is a circular walk linking the Country Park with the two Ladybridge Drive parks which is marked by eye catching boards giving information relevant to the area in which the board is sited. Details of the points of interest on the circular walk are in a leaflet which can be picked up from our Information Centre at the Drovers Return café at the eastern end of the Country Park car-park opposite St. Benedict’s Church. The leaflets are also available from Hunsbury Library in Overslade Close.
The Friends of West Hunsbury Parks group was formed in 2009 when the Parks were beginning to need rather more attention than they were receiving, and the Country Park in particular was suffering from vandalism, anti social behaviour and, on some days, could have up to three burnt out cars in it. We have a core group of up to eight people, have a constitution, and rely on volunteers to come forward to help us carry out any practical work within the Parks.
We have an enthusiastic team of volunteers at our (generally) monthly Practical Work Days, when we carry out litter picks, work on planted and wildflower areas and carry out any other tasks which will aid the NBC contractors to maintain the Parks. We liaise closely with our local Borough Councillor and Northampton Borough Council, as well as with the Veolia/idverde team who are responsible for the everyday maintenance of the Parks. More volunteers are always welcome and refreshments are provided.
We are always looking for funding opportunities to provide amenities which will enhance the visitor experience in all three Parks. In the past this has helped to secure more play equipment for the Parks, picnic tables and interpretation boards. We were also fortunate to be given Heritage Lottery Funding in 2017, to protect and discover more about the Country Park’s Iron Age Hillfort, which is a Historic England Scheduled Monument. We are now working on a second Lottery Bid to enable more investigation and protection to be undertaken.
We take part in Heritage Open Days. This is a nationwide event held annually in September, which is supported by the National Trust. For more information about HOD, visit the Heritage Open Days website.
We have previously been asked to put together presentations as part of the successful entries of the Borough Council for East Midlands in Bloom and Britain in Bloom, and have entered Northampton in Bloom as a Group twice. Check out our Certificates in the Gallery. We hope to be invited to participate in future years both as part of the wider community and as an individual group.
Our initial Lottery funding has allowed us to develop our website, which we use primarily to inform the community of what is happening in the Parks. It has also given us the opportunity to share some of the reports and images relating to our Lottery funded events and investigations (check out our News & Events items, and also our Gallery), as well as some of the history, particularly that of the Hillfort.
Hunsbury Hill is an Iron Age Hill Fort situated in Hunsbury Hill Country Park. It is probable that defences were built at Hunsbury Hill between the 7th and 4th centuries BC. The deep ditch excavated has survived to the present day. A wooden rampart was also constructed and there Is evidence that Hunsbury Hillfort’s inner ramparts were burned down and vitrified.
Ironstone extraction began at the hill fort in the 1880s, Many of the fort’s internal features were destroyed, but the work revealed up to 300 pits which, according to the curator of Northampton Museum in 1887, contained “numerous artefacts that now comprise one of the finest collections of Prehistoric antiquities in England”. The finds included iron weapons and tools, bronze brooches, pottery, glass and around 159 quern stones. All were given to the town’s museum. Hunsbury Hillfort is a designated scheduled Ancient Monument. Parts of the fort’s banks have been badly eroded because of the 19th century quarrying, the effects of burrowing animals and damage from tree roots. It is now managed as part of the Country Park by Northampton Borough Council.
Part of the railway built for the quarrying remains and is maintained by Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Trust. Running through the Park is part of the Banbury Lane Drovers Road used by the Welsh farmers bringing their sheep to Northampton’s Cattle Market.
Poems in the Park for Mothers
Wood chip Work, Monday 17th February 2020
(Love) Poems in the Park, for Valentine’s Day 2020 (and beyond)
Bird Box Bonanza, Jan/Feb 2020
Spring Flowers in January 2020 ….. and February
Winter Walk 2019
The BIG Leaf Sweep 2019
(24th November : a practice run for next time when we will hopefully have some volunteers)
Poems in the Park
Northampton and East Midlands In Bloom
Bat Walk and Moth Survey, 25th September 2019
BloodAxe Vikings, Armée du Nord, Bifrost Guard and Warriors of the Black Bear, 14th/15th September 2019
plus pebble painting and NIRT trains
Hedge Trimming, Saturday 24th August 2019
Scavenger Hunt, Sunday 21st July 2019
Alfie Bear’s Picnic, Saturday 13th July 2019
BloodAxe Vikings with Wodens Hearth, Northland Mercenaries
and also Armée du Nord Normans, 7th April 2019
Tree Trail, March 2019
Litter Pickers 3rd March 2019
Friends Race Night, February 2019
Winter Walk, December 2018
Bioblitz, Bats and Moths, August/September 2018
Scavenger Hunt, August 2018
Alfie Bear’s Picnic, July 2018
Please contact us for details on how to participate in any of our exciting heritage & wildlife events using this form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
A copy of the completed form will be sent to your email address when you press ‘Submit’.
If booking tickets for one (or more) of our events at Parsons Meade Community Centre, please give us a telephone number as well as email address. so that we can contact you to arrange for payment and delivery.
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