Blog post

My favourite places for nature in Derby

By Abrar Siyam - 17 November 2021

The calming effect

Since moving to Derby, I’ve found the nature surrounding the city to be fascinating and I’ve enjoyed going to the parks in Derby especially Darley Park since I live close to it so I visit it quite often. As I’m someone who loves sports and a big fan of football, I go to the park to do some light jogging or 5k runs in the morning while enjoying the picturesque view. Even though it’s close to the city centre, I go to the park to escape the busy life of the city.

After lockdown, I endured a difficult time with my mental health, which shows how much we miss nature sometimes. The calming environment that Darley Park provides helps relax my mind. The park boasts beautiful gardens with glorious, exotic flowers including the largest hydrangea collection in Britain. And recently won a Community Green Flag this year.

Another park that I enjoy going to is Markeaton park which is one of the most popular attractions in the East Midlands. The park covers over 207 acres of beautiful green spaces. It has a quaint environment full of lovely scenery and plenty of activities and a fascinating history.

The park has a pitch and a golf putting course, rowing boats, fishing, and tennis courts plus a refurbished Grade II listed Orangery Cafe and craft village. Children's activities include playgrounds, Skyline high ropes, a paddling pool, donkey rides, a light railway, and crazy golf. You can visit Markeaton craft village which houses a range of little shops and café. This is set in an old stable yard and is lovely to wander around.

The Orangery is a quaint little café around the back of the craft village which serves an array of food, drinks, and ice creams. Markeaton Park is only a stone's throw away from the Kedleston Road campus. Cross the road at the bottom of the University driveway, and you’re there. It’s a perfect location to take a break between lectures and no matter what the weather it always looks beautiful.

Trees outline grass. A quaint brick building sits between the trees.

And there are more… 

There are other parks in Derby which I’m yet to visit that I know have beautiful green spaces and offer a wide range of activities and events for everyone. 

Derby Arboretum is famous for being Britain's first public park. This modern-day park boasts a beautiful heritage landscape, a superb collection of trees, the Heart of the Park community building, various sports facilities, and holds events throughout the year. 

Alvaston Park is a picturesque, riverside park covering 85 acres. It's situated in the south of Derby, about two miles from the city centre. Alvaston Park offers a wealth of activities from fishing, exploring the science garden, riding your BMX, playing football to enjoying a leisurely walk around the historic lake. So, whether you want to learn, be active or relax, there's something for everyone. The most prominent feature of the park is its lake, which provides a home for a large number of swans and other wildlife. Both native and exotic trees are to be found in the park. 

Chaddesden Park is an important focal point in the local community and offers an extensive range of sports and recreational facilities set within a mature and attractive parkland landscape. There is a lot to do in the park, including visiting the popular park café, children’s play and water play areas, the newly refurbished BMX track, King George V football fields, a multi-use games area, the friend's group pavilion, Chaddesden bowls club, Chaddesden library and much more. 

Sunnydale Park is a local nature reserve located in Blagreaves Ward of Derby that covers 13.2 hectares and consists of a variety of habitats. The park features a large balancing pond that provides a home for a whole host of wildlife. At present, major habitat restoration works are taking place, cementing its status as an example nature reserve for years to come. 

Green flag award 

Six of Derby’s Parks have been given a green flag award which is a prestigious award given to public parks in Britain for the management of the parks in order to promote standards of good management and best practice amongst the green space sectors. The contribution made by volunteers and local people has also been recognised with the awarding of Community Green Flags to eight gardens, allotments, open spaces, and nature reserves including: 

This shows how well the parks in Derby are managed and the hard work and effort provided by volunteers and staff to maintain the standards of these parks. As you can hopefully tell from this blog, the parks in Derby really are all a real gem. 

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About the author

Mechanical Engineering student Abrar Siyam looking upwards.

Abrar Siyam
Mechanical Engineering student

I'm currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Derby. I also work part-time as a marketing rep.