© Copyright Friends of Belper Parks, St Johns Chapel, The Butts, Belper, DE56 1HX, U.K. Site update 1st September 2008
Background aerial photograph courtesy of Amber Valley Borough Council
Derbyshire, and the Peak District is noted for dry stone walls. The old deer park was surrounded by a wall and there is a reference to this in the thirteenth century. This is unusual because most of the deer parks in Duffield Frith were enclosed by wooden paling fences. If the reference is being interpreted correctly then perhaps it illustrates the different functions that Belper Park provided.
The history of such walling goes right back to Roman times but it was much later when they came into widespread use.
Most of the wall that surrounded the Park is now reduced to strips of fallen stone, but enough remains to indicate very clearly where it was. Along Mill Lane the wall is set into the bank alongside the road and an interesting feature is the way in which later walls along the top of the bank have created a "double deck" wall structure. Unfortunately local residents are cutting access drives through these ancient walls and this distinctive survival of the old park is rapidly vanishing.
Most of the other walls within the Park, although also stone and fallen, are much later. They date from the time when the old park was converted to farmland, probably in the 17th Century. Many of the later walls are straight. The pattern is shown on the Tithe map. Most of these walls still survive within the nature reserve. One that has gone used to divide the Coppice in two, this had a kink in in which may have been part of the more ancient wall that we noted above as once surrounding the fish pond.