The site was reclaimed by St Helens Council as a community woodland and public open space in the late 1990s. Measuring fifty-seven acres, the country park contains developing woodlands, footpath networks, meadow areas and a fishing pond. It’s linked to the Sutton Manor Woodland, another former colliery along 'Miners Way', a reclaimed mineral railway route.
The Clock Face Country Park can look beautiful when it snows - photographed in February 2007
The present pond is one of three that the old Clock Face Colliery employed to store water that had been pumped out of the mine shafts. During the 1990s, fishing platforms were installed and new access paths were created. The re-established pond – sometimes called ‘Clock Face Pit’ - soon became a popular fishing spot with roach, tench and bream, amongst the available species. In 2009 Clock Face Anglers Club was formed and day tickets are available for non-members. Around the water’s edge you’ll find water lily, reed mace and flag iris, amongst other aquatic plants.
The Country Park fishing pond - known as 'The Pit - is managed by Clock Face Anglers Club - photographed in May 2013
Birds of prey can often be seen in Clock Face Country Park. Buzzards soar high overhead as they look to prey on rabbits, while kestrels hover over the grassland seeking out small mammals. The elevated areas to the south of the site look down upon farmland, offering sightings of animals such as hares and foxes.
A jogger on a perimeter path in the Clock Face Country Park, St Helens - photographed in May 2006
Wildflowers grow in abundance on the former colliery site with the woodlands and meadows displaying colourful species such as purple loosestrife, early marsh / spotted orchid and ragged robin. There’s a rich variety of flora and fauna and the deciduous woodland includes wild cherry, oak, ash and silver birch. During November and December 2012, a toposcope, interpretation panels and new signage were installed. Clock Face Country Park is a fabulous place to walk the dog, exercise or simply relax. There are many benches where one can take a moment and enjoy the beautiful trees which have grown considerably over the last few years.
Wild flower meadow in the Clock Face Country Park, St Helens - photographed in June 2013
Maypole Wood by Clock Face Country Park
Adjacent to the Clock Face Country Park in Gorsey Lane is Maypole Wood which is named after the neighbouring Maypole Farm and district, with Maypole originally being a Bold hamlet that has been traced back to 1786. The Forestry Commission acquired the Maypole Farm land in May 2001. Two years later it planted thousands of trees, plus a willow coppice that is used for willow weaving in the local area. It forms part of the expanding Mersey Forest and is a developing woodland with trees, meadows, paths and wildlife.
Wildlife that is known to inhabit Maypole Wood includes dragonflies, rabbits, foxes, roe deer, kestrels, buzzards and sparrow hawks. There are a number of benches which have been installed at designated points, so that walkers can take a break and admire the rapidly growing trees, as well as enjoy the birdsong and wildlife. Maypole is sandwiched between the large country park and Griffin Wood, at the bottom of Hall Lane, with its remarkable sculpture trail. Combining the three together makes for a superb walk or cycle.
Some of the young trees in Maypole Wood two years after planting - photographed in February 2005
The flourishing trees in Maypole Wood adjacent to Clock Face Country Park - photographed in May 2007
An addition to Maypole in 2013 is this bird box for barn owls to encourage breeding, as there is known to be an owl population in the area. However other birds, such as kestrels, may well be seen using it. The box is on a tall pole as most birds of prey prefer to make their nests in an elevated position and to prevent people disturbing the birds.
Bird box intended for barn owls on a tall, heavy pole in Maypole Wood - photographed in June 2013
In the summer of 2013 the Forestry Commission (FC) completed the installation of a raised walkway which connects Maypole with Clock Face Country Park. The main work took place in August 2012 when fifteen members of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) worked with the FC to install a boardwalk over a pathway that had been eroded by water. This had come from an adjacent stream that is fed by a natural spring that runs through old mine shafts in the area. The boardwalk had to be constructed from within the stream, so the workers were waist high in water at times.
Walkway which connects Maypole Wood with Clock Face Country Park - photographed in July 2013
The flourishing Maypole Wood photographed from Clock Face Country Park in May 2011
Wheatacre Community WoodlandIt's worth also mentioning Wheatacre here as like the other community woodlands, it's in close proximity to the Clock Face Colliery Country Park. The main entrance is off Gorsey Lane and the site is sandwiched between Colliers Moss and Burtonwood and runs alongside the Bold Business Centre. It's named after Wheatacre(s) Farm which in 1862 covered 64 acres. The Forestry Commission acquired the site in February 1998 and converted it into a woodland. Click here for Mersey Forest's Wheatacre walking map fact sheet.
A high-angle view of Wheatacre woodland with Fiddlers Ferry power station in the background
More on This Website about Clock Face and the Country Park:Beauty Pages: Clock Face Country Park / Maypole Wood etc. Photo-Album;
Heritage Pages: Clock Face Colliery; Clock Face Colliery Photo-Album; Clock Face School / St.Aidan's School; Origins of Clock Face
Clock Face Country Park Events for July 2015:Saturday July 4th 2015 - 1:30pm - Dream / Clock Face Country Park Walk - Meet at the car park notice board in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 90 minutes health walk
Tuesday July 7th 2015 - 1:30pm - Wheatacre Walk - Meet at Burtonwood Playground Car Park, Gorsey Lane, St.Helens, WA5 4HP - 2 hour health walk
Tuesday July 21st 2015 - 2:00pm - Dream / Clock Face Country Park Walk - Meet at the car park notice board in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 90 minutes health walk
Tuesday July 28th 2015 - 1:30pm - Wheatacre Walk - Meet at Burtonwood Playground Car Park, Gorsey Lane, St.Helens, WA5 4HP - 2 hour health walk
Wednesday July 29th 2015 - 1:30pm - Clock Face Country Park Walk - Meet at the car park notice board in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 2½ hour health walk
Wednesday July 29th 2015 - TBA - Bird Box Making - Details to follow
Download June and July 2015 Health Walks Brochure with details of all St.Helens walks
Latest Clock Face Country Park / Maypole News:• In November 2013 the Forestry Commission team cut some of the willow coppice at Maypole. The willow was sent to Burtonwood primary for their nature club and wildlife garden. The team are considering forming a group to make some living willow structures. Contact FC Site Ranger Phil Lee if you are interested (details below). • In June 2013 a member of the public reported seeing an adder in the Country Park. Although this has yet to be confirmed, St.Helens Council recommend that visitors be observant at all times and keep dogs under control or on a lead. Sightings of adders or other snakes should be reported to St.Helens Council's Contact Centre on 01744 676789 or telephone the Ranger Service on 01744 676123 (01744 676728 out of office hours). Adders are the only venomous snake native to Britain and if you are bitten by any snake you should seek immediate medical attention. • A toposcope, interpretation panels and new signage have been installed in the country park during November and December 2012. The panels include details on the history of the site, access and natural history information. • St.Helens primary school teachers took part in a 'Forest School' taster day at the Clock Face Colliery Country Park in July and November 2012. The event was organised by The Mersey Forest as part of their Access to Nature programme. Forest School is an approach to education that was first pioneered in Scandinavia during the 1960s which helps children reconnect with nature through regular outdoor lessons in woodland environments. One teacher said: "It's been great to stimulate my imagination, and learn about activities which I can take back to use with the children." The Mersey Forest will now support the teachers to receive further training to become accredited Forest School leaders and make outdoor lessons in their local woodlands a regular feature for their pupils.
Clock Face Country Park Contact Details:St. Helens Council Civic Pride & Community Spaces Section: Tel. 01744 456123 Forestry Commission (responsibility for Maypole & Wheatacre) 01606 884937; FC Site Ranger: Phil Lee Tel. 075543 33548 Email: email@example.com￼
Clock Face Angling Club: Club Secretary John Hall; Day tickets for the Country Park fishing pond (a.k.a. Clock Face Pit) are available from Clock Face Newsagents, 415 Clock Face Road (pop. Clock Face pub), Clock Face, St.Helens, WA9 4QL. Weekdays only dawn until dusk - no night fishing or unaccompanied children. Clock Face Angling Club matches are held on many Sundays for members only. Annual permits are issued / renewed every May / June at the Clock Face Miners Recs. Club in Crawford Street. 2015 prices are £15 (adults); £10 (OAPs); £5 (juniors).