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: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
Download December 2014 and January 2015 Health Walks Brochure with details of all St.Helens walks