Bold Venture Park is a historic park in Darwen, Lancashire. It opened in 1889 on land previously occupied by quarries. The park connects the town centre to the West Pennine Moors and Darwen Tower (Jubilee Tower). It follows the path of a small stream; Bold Venture Brook.
The park is divided into two sections, separated by Manor Road. The northern section, close to the town centre, is quite formal. The southern area, nearer Darwen Tower, is predominantly woodland.
The Darwen War Memorial is the one of the park’s most notable features. It was unveiled in 1921 in honour of the Darreners that perished in the First World War. The striking monument bears a bronze statue of an angel with wings spread. Five steps lead to the memorial, each symbolising a year of the Great War. It is situated at the southern end of the park, near the main entrance.
Bold Venture Brook cascades down the sloping park from Darwen Moor, via a series of waterfalls and pools. The main waterfall is over forty feet high and is an unexpected sight in a municipal park. The stream culminates in an ornamental lake just south of the war memorial. The lake is surrounded by formal gardens and attracts many species of birds.
The playground is also near the main entrance. It’s a modern playground but doesn’t have that many pieces of equipment. At the time of our last visit (August 2015) several were broken. The play areas at Witton Country Park in Blackburn are far superior.
The Huntington Heritage Trail comprises a series of sculptures. The four-year project officially opened in 2012. It is named after James Huntington, a notable Victorian wallpaper manufacturer and designer from Darwen.
Huntington died in 1878 and left some of his wealth to his workers. In 1902 they erected a cast iron fountain in the park to recognise his generosity. The fountain was scrapped for metal during World War Two and its site remained empty for decades. It was replaced in 2010 by a water feature called the Labyrinth.
Huntington’s Parlour is another sculpture on the trail. It’s a giant steel table and chair set in a ‘woodland room’. The furniture features motifs taken from Huntington’s wallpaper designs.
Bold Venture Park is a popular starting point for walks to Darwen Tower. To reach it, simply head to the southern end of the park and pass through the gate. A footpath from here leads directly to the tower. Our walk to Darwen Tower takes a route through Bold Venture Park, follows this path, and returns to the park entrance via farmland.
Bold Venture Park is situated just west of Darwen town centre. There’s no official car park but there is plenty of free street parking on the surrounding roads (Manor Road and Belgrave Road). When we last visited we parked on Belgrave Road (postcode BB3 2SF), just yards from the main entrance.
The nearest train station is Darwen, approximately half a mile from the park. The station is served by trains from Blackburn, Bolton, Clitheroe, and Manchester Victoria.
Bold Venture Park