Blackburn’s old manor house, Witton House, was demolished many years ago after being sold to Blackburn Council in the 1940’s. Fortunately, 480 acres of land included in the deal have been transformed into an impressive country park with picnic spots, nature trails, riverside walks, woodlands and farmland.
The Witton Country Park Visitor Centre, once the estate’s stables, now houses the Old Stables Tearoom, a pottery workshop, and a small zoo. The centre also acts as an information centre and offers maps and leaflets detailing the many trails that run through the park. It also hires special scooters for those with limited mobility. Nearby there’s a 19th century ornamental garden and a lily pond.
Close to the entrance of the park there are a couple children’s play areas that most public parks would be proud of, but in recent years there have been some even more fantastic additions.
Big Cover Wood is an adventure playground situated deep within the woods on the eastern side of the park. It’s a fantastic play area with wildlife sculptures, a rope bridge, giant xylophone and climbing frame.
The Wits adventure playground was opened in June 2010 by Blackburn MP Jack Straw. The £750,000 facility includes a giant slide, musical sculptures, climbing frames, an aerial walkway, balancing beams, tree sculptures, and picnic areas. It is undoubtedly one of the best free children’s facilities in North West England.
Yellowhill Farm is a working farm within the grounds of the park. Tractor rides leave from the Visitor Centre and offer kids an insight into farm life and the animals housed there.
Sports facilities at the park include an athletics track and all-weather football pitches. The Pavilion on the Park café by the track is open 7 days a week and offers hot and cold drinks, bacon butties, etc.
Every May the park plays host to the Witton Country Fair. This family event features a classic car show, art and crafts demonstrations, face painting, and much more.
On April 11 2011 Prince William visited Witton County Park with bride-to-be Kate Middleton. It was his last official engagement before their marriage later than month. The couple admired the facilities at the park and William signed a Deed of Dedication to protect the park as part of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. Prince William is patron of the scheme which aims to protect 2012 outdoor spaces in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Witton Country Park lies off the A674 Preston Old Road, around 1 mile west of Blackburn town centre.
Visitors arriving by car can use the postcode BB2 2TP in their satellite navigation systems. There is a free car park at the main entrance to the park.
The nearest train stations are Mill Hill and Cherry Tree. Both are around ¼ from the park and on the East Lancashire Line. There are frequent services to Preston, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and other stations on the line.
Witton Country Park
Address and postcode:
Preston Old Road