Nottingham Highfields Park

 

This park lies to the west of the city centre off University Boulevard between Dunkirk and Beeston. It was gifted to the people of Nottingham by Jesse Boot of Boots the Chemists who's bust stands at the central entrance looking towards the factory he built about a mile away.  The park is dominated by the beautiful Trent Building of the University that overlooks the lake.  There is a children's play area, putting green, new refreshment facilities in the Lakeside Arts Centre and during the summer months boats may be hired on the lake. One big and positive gain in recent years was the opening up of a public footpath along the north shore of the lake, thus creating a very pleasant circular walk that allows visitors to enjoy the views from the far side and to pass by the sandstone rock face with its cave.

This park, like so many others, has not been maintained to the standard that it once was and the gardens, stream and particularly the water garden, cascade and stepping stone area at the west end of the lake were in a very sorry state compared to the 1950's & 60's and this provoked considerable criticism of the Highfields Trust / City Council  from me and other correspondents in the local press. However, following a recent visit to the park I am delighted to report that our voices finally appear to have been heard.  The beautiful cascade and water garden has been fully restored and is actually working, the silt has been removed from the adjoining lake area, the central stone balustrade and bridge have been repaired with new masonry, and a substantial amount of overgrown shrubs and trees have already been cut back opening up previously lost views of the park and lake.  I was particularly pleased to see that the clearance works where being partly carried out by a team of 'Community Payback' young people, an ideal labour intensive task for offenders that will hopefully give them some pride when they can see the final results of their efforts. Speaking to contractors and ground staff, it would seem that the intention is to continue with this clearance work and to extend it to the once lovely azalea walk (Presently an overgrown jungle), and to bring in a Japanese water garden specialist to re-plant the cascade area.  As for the once popular paddling pool, I think we can say that this particular feature, much loved and used by my generation, has definitely gone for good.  The silt from the lake has been dumped into it, and I was told that it will be planted with reeds etc. to form a wetland wildlife habitat. Not as much fun as a paddling pool, but better than a derelict hollow in the ground!

There is still some work  to be done, but assuming the works don't grind to a halt, the park is now well on its way to again becoming what it once was, one on Nottingham's finest and most beautiful public parks, one that the city can once again be truly proud of.  Visit Highfields NOW to see the lovely cascade in action and to enjoy a stroll in the sun.

It should be noted that Highfields Park is a separate entity to the University Park that is located on the north of the lake, and that Nottingham University has no responsibility for its maintenance. Highfields Park is run by a trust and I think I am correct in saying that Nottingham City Council are the sole trustees.

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The first eight images below were taken on the 21st November in the low mid to late afternoon sunshine. It's a lovely park, whatever the time of day.

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The  four images below were taken on the 5th May 2011 and show what great progress has been made to cut back the undergrowth and shrubs to reveal  better open views across the park. Even the once magnificent Azalia Walk is emerging from the jungle - well done Community Payback !

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The next twenty images below were all taken on the 12th & 13th October 2009

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The remaining images below were taken on various dates

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