© Copyright Friends of Belper Parks, St Johns Chapel, The Butts, Belper, DE56 1HX, U.K. Site updated 2nd December 2012
Background aerial photograph courtesy of Amber Valley Borough Council
Close your eyes, open your mind, and let me take you into Belper Parks, a green jewel in the historic centre of Belper, a bustling market town at the centre of Derbyshire's renowned Derwent Valley World Heritage Site. Stretched before you is a pleasing mix of 50 acres of varied grassland, deciduous woodland, with bluebell woods, wildflower meadow, and all important pockets of scrub land, together with a babbling stream called the "Coppice Brook."
Up until the 1980's an agricultural tenancy ensured the grasslands were grazed and traditionally managed. Since that time the ground has become fallow.
The formation of the Friends of Belper Parks was instigated by local volunteers to promote an appropriate and sympathetic enhancement to this site, long used and enjoyed by the local populous.
One of the main goals of the Friends is the regeneration of certain areas of grassland to improve the diversity of wild flowers that once grew in abundance.
Declared a Local Nature Reserve in January 2004, we are currently working with a management plan and are actively encouraging schools, organisations and the community to participate in our action days. Alas, it is not unknown to see the effects of anti social behaviour on the Parks and so we hold regular litter picks and encourage the community to report to the authorities acts of suspicious behaviour and the tell tale signs of substance abuse.
Working in partnership with Groundwork, the link paths through the Parks have been resurfaced to make them more user friendly with access for the disabled. Other priority commitments include organising a mowing schedule to give the environment a more open and subsequently safer feeling for those wishing to use this public space positively.
Our fund raising efforts are well supported and, as an example, the proceeds from a sunflower growing competition for local school children will enable us to hold a wild flower sowing and planting event in the autumn.
A schools information pack has been researched, compiled and sent out to encourage awareness in young people. A leaflet for visitors is available at the library, heritage centre, and council office in King Street. It has been distributed to all houses on the perimeter of the Parks. We believe education and an interest and pride in our surroundings is essential to safeguard not only the Parks, but also the wider environment, for the citizens of tomorrow.
The Friends of Belper Parks are working towards, and have the determination to achieve, a cleaner, safer and greener community and any help is welcomed.