Sutton Beauty & Heritage Menu:

Clock Face Country Park sign

The Clock Face Country Park, St. Helens

Plus the new community woodlands nearby at:
Maypole Wood and Wheatacre within the Bold Forest Park

Photo Album    |    Location    |    Events & News    |    Clock Face Colliery
The Beauty of Clock Face Country Park and Maypole Wood in Spring and Winter (16 photos)
Clock Face Country Park in St.Helens is on the site of a former colliery that dates back to 1890. By the early 1960s the mine was producing over 160,000 tons of coal a year and employing over 700 men. However, in October 1965 the National Coal Board deemed the pit uneconomic and announced that the colliery would close in the following year. (View History of Clock Face Colliery here)

Winter in the Clock Face Country Park in Sutton, St Helens
The Clock Face Country Park can look beautiful when it snows - photographed in February 2007

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.

Clock Face Country Park angling pond managed by Clock Face Anglers Club
The Country Park fishing pond - known as 'The Pit - is managed by Clock Face Anglers Club - photographed in May 2013

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.

Jogger at the Clock Face Country Park in Sutton, St Helens
A jogger on a perimeter path in the Clock Face Country Park, St Helens - photographed in May 2006

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.

Clock Face Country Park in Sutton, St Helens
Wild flower meadow in the Clock Face Country Park, St Helens - photographed in June 2013

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.

Maypole Wood by Clock Face Country Park

Maypole Wood sign by the Clock Face Country Park in Sutton, St Helens

Maypole Farm sign St.Helens
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.

Maypole Wood by the Clock Face Country Park in Sutton, St Helens
Some of the young trees in Maypole Wood two years after planting - photographed in February 2005

Trees in Maypole Wood, St.Helens
The flourishing trees in Maypole Wood adjacent to Clock Face Country Park - photographed in May 2007

The Forestry Commission's notice on the site states:
'Welcome to this Forestry Commission community woodland. Whether walking the dog or riding through take a moment to relax amidst this mosaic of woods, grassland and wet meadow. Watch finches on the seed heads or buzzards hunting rabbits. Listen for the "little bit of bread and no cheese" call of yellowhammer or just the buzz of bees amongst the wildflowers and trees. In the centre are willow beds where different weaving varieties are being grown.'

Bird box for barn owls in Maypole Wood, Bold, St.Helens
Bird box intended for barn owls on a tall, heavy pole in Maypole Wood - photographed in June 2013

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.

Walkway which connects Maypole Wood with Clock Face Country Park
Walkway which connects Maypole Wood with Clock Face Country Park - photographed in July 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.

The flourishing Maypole Wood photographed from Clock Face Country Park
The flourishing Maypole Wood photographed from Clock Face Country Park in May 2011

Click Here for Mersey Forest's Walking Map fact sheet with more information on Maypole Wood

Wheatacre Community Woodland

It'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.

Wheatacre woodland in Bold St.Helens

The Forestry Commission’s notices on the site state:
'Created from farmland and now open for everyone to enjoy, there is something for you here whatever your age. Kick a ball about, gather with your mates at a bench or just stroll through listening to the larks. Walk the dog or admire the wildflowers and ponds, butterflies and dragonflies. Or ride your horse or bike through to other nearby open spaces.'

Wheatacre woodland with Fiddlers Ferry in the background
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:
Clock Face Country Park gates sign
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:
 Tuesday December 30th 2014 - 1:30pm - Wheatacre Walk - Meet at Burtonwood Playground Car Park, Gorsey Lane, St.Helens - 2 hour health walk
 Wednesday December 31st 2014 - 1:30pm - Clock Face Country Park Walk - Meet at the car park in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 1 hour health walk
 Saturday January 3rd 2015 - 1:30pm - Walk From Clock Face Country Park To Dream - Meet at the car park in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 90 mins walk
 Tuesday January 20th 2015 - 1:30pm - Wheatacre Walk - Meet at Burtonwood Playground Car Park, Gorsey Lane, St.Helens - 2 hour health walk
 Wednesday January 28th 2015 - 1:30pm - Clock Face Country Park Walk - Meet at the car park in Gorsey Lane, WA9 4SE - 1 hour health walk
For more information contact the Mesnes Park Rangers on 01925 229021
Download December 2014 and January 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).
Teachers at Forest School in Clock Face Country Park
Teachers at Forest School in Clock Face Country Park
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: phil.lee@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Stephen Wainwright
This website has been written and researched and many mages photographed by myself, Stephen Wainwright, the Sutton Beauty & Heritage site owner. Individuals from all over the world have also kindly contributed their own photographs. If you wish to reuse any image, please contact me first as permission may be needed from the copyright owner. High resolution versions of many pictures can also be supplied at no charge. Please also contact me if you can provide any further information or photographs concerning Sutton, St.Helens. You might also consider contributing your recollections of Sutton for the series of Memories pages. Sutton Beauty & Heritage strives for factual accuracy at all times. Do also get in touch if you believe that there are any errors. I respond quickly to emails and if you haven't had a response within twelve hours, check your junk mail folder or resend your message. Thank you! SRW
Sutton Beauty & Heritage is written and researched by Stephen R. Wainwright ©MMXIV   Contact Me
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