10 parks to visit near St.Helens

by Cat Woods

Taylor Park

photo credit: Claire Rigby
credit: Claire Rigby

Taylor Park was opened to the public in 1893. It originally formed part of the Eccleston Hall Estate and was named after Samuel Taylor who donated the land to St.Helens. Carriage Drive was a thoroughfare between Samuel Taylor’s 19th century house and the toll bar at Prescot Road.

Willow Park

photo credit:Claire Rigby
photo credit: Claire Rigby

Willow Park historically formed a part of the Legh family estate. In the centre of the park, there once stood a prominent house known as The Willows or The Priory, originally two semi-detached houses which were later combined. This was the property of George McCorquodale, the local printing company owner.

The house was unfortunately demolished in the 1930s (as can be seen from the photograph above) with only some parts of the footings of the house still visible.

After the war, the former Newton Urban District Council leased die site, and shortly after, opened the site as a public park.

The park today provides a network of tree-lined footpaths, with areas of amenity grassland giving access to a variety of habitats such as woodlands, meadows, wetland and a 6.5 hectare (16 acre)

3. Victoria Park

photo credit: Claire Rigby

Victoria Park is an urban park located in central St Helens, Merseyside. The park is managed by the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens.

The area was originally owned by John Adsell who built the Victorian Italianate style Grade II listed Mansion House along with orangery, walled gardens and an ornate fountain. The park was opened in 1886 as Cowley Hill Park by St Helens Council and renamed on 21 June 1887 for Queen Victoria‘s Golden Jubilee. In 1994 the council sold The Mansion House to a charity Age UK which uses the property as a venue for weddings.

4. Pennington flash country park

photo credit: Claire Rigby

Pennington Flashes is part of an impressive country park. The lake and surrounding marshland are home to a diverse group of mammals, birds and insects, including 5 RSPB red listed birds and the protected water vole.

Its importance for birds is recognised nationally, with over 230 species recorded on site, including the black-faced bunting, nightingale, cattle egret, whiskered tern and Leach’s petrel. 

The term ‘Flashes’ refers to the lakes on the site which were formed over time as a result of the mining subsidence. They are a legacy of Wigan Borough’s industrial heritage and those at Pennington Flash are a stunning example of how the industrial past has developed a beautiful location for wildlife.

5. Fairy Glen

Serene forest area featuring tree-shaded hiking trails & a stream with picturesque cascades.

Fairy Glen

Nestled on the side of Parbold Hill above the rural village of Appley Bridge, Fairy Glen is a compact recreational facility for local residents to enjoy. 

The site follows Sprodley Brook which has, over time, cut down through the underlying sandstone to create the Fairy Glen valley with small waterfalls and cliff faces. These features, interspersed within the ancient broadleaved woodland, define the sites character. 

Designated as a Biological Heritage Site for its oak, birch, ash and alder, the site boasts a rich and mature woodland biodiversity. There is a wide variety of flora growing at the site and, depending on the season, the woodland floor may be covered with bluebells, wild garlic, ferns, and red campion. In order to help preserve this rich and vibrant biodiversity it is imperative that visitors make use of the excellent surfaced path network and do not “forge their own paths” on an exploration through the glen.

6. Orrell Water Park

Two disused reservoirs surrounded by picturesque woodland make up Orrell Water Park. Facilities include: Excellent small course fishery for all year round fishing, with day ticket fishing and competitions throughout the year. Children’s play area, Small “Nature Reserve” with ponds, over 100 Bird species recorded and a wide variety of Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies.

7. Haigh Hall Woodland Park

Haigh Woodland Park is famous in Wigan and further afield for its impressive grounds and woodlands.

The name Haigh comes from the Anglo Saxon word Haga meaning an enclosure or a secure area to house livestock.

It is the jewel in Wigan’s crown of green spaces – and it’s transforming into a one-of-a-kind attraction for families across the north west. Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles are spending millions of pounds making this the most beautiful and activity-packed park in the region.

8. Thatto Heath Park

credit Claire Rigby
Photo Credit Claire Rigby

It opened in around 1850 and it was a private place, not like a fairground and had a bandstand and played music. It was opened by local publican Charles Whittle who owned the Engine Inn, attracted middle-class visitors from far and wide 

We visited the park, strolling through one of the many entrances, vast swathes of grasslands unfold before you, a huge field of dreams, off to thtree enclosed little glades where you can have a sheltered picnic.

The park is most definitely wheelchair and pram friendly. 

My favourite part of the park was the “Lazy Tree” which looks like it’s sitting comfortably on the wall. Have you ever seen it? 

The lazy tree of Thatto Heath park

9. Sherdley Park

Sherdley park is a 336 acre urban park located in Sutton.

In the 19th century it was owned by coal and copper baron, Michael Hughs who also built the now demolished Sherdley Hall. The estate was purchased by the local authority after the second world war as a place of relaxation for the citizens of Sutton. The park used to feature a pets corner but this has now closed.

10. Mesnes Park

phot credit: Nicola Yates
photo credit: Nicola Yates

Mesnes Park is a Victorian park dating from 1878. The elongated 30 acre park lies to the North West of Wigan town centre. It comprises of formal flower beds in grass lawns, a pool, children’s playground, mini golf, sports ground and a cafe. It has recently undergone a multi million pound restoration after receiving a grant from the National Lottery heritage fund.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog you’ll love the article I wrote for Hack TV, 10 Green Spaces to visit in St.Helens.

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Bilky Birkett May 21, 2021 - 7:05 am

Sefton Park is only half an hour away by car .
Definitely worth a visit , lots to see there and worth the trip just to visit the fantastic Palm House .
” This magnificent 235 acre park is a Grade 1 historic park in the Sefton Park district of Liverpool. It is a Green Flag and Green Heritage awarded site with beautiful features and monuments ”

Tracey May 21, 2021 - 7:15 am

Lyme and Wood Country Park lies between Haydock and Earlestown. Once the site of Lyme and Wood collieries, then used for landfill, and now a beautiful restful area for the public to enjoy. Postcode WA11 0RN.


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