- Crow Nest Park in Dewsbury opened to the public in 1893, founded upon the landscaped gardens of a country house estate. The grounds have been landscaped since the 16th century, gradually transforming the area from farmland into parkland.
Green Flag Award winning Crow Nest Park in Dewsbury is one of Kirklees primary parks. It is set on a sunny south facing hillside with outstanding views over the surrounding towns and countryside and contains a number of major attractions including an adventure playground, museum, formal lawns, greenhouse with fernery, café, sports facilities, walled wildflower garden and an ornamental lake.
The park was designed to bring a feel of the countryside into what was, at the time, a very industrial area, with most of the town's residents employed in the many nearby textile mills.
The mansion house was opened to the public as a museum and tearooms together with a newly created ornamental lake. A conservatory was built, together with a bandstand, produce garden, 2 terraced walks, a woodland garden, and promenades. There was originally a park lodge at each of the four entrances, two of them still remaining. Over the next 40 years a cricket ground, tennis courts, bowling green, playground and allotments were added. Since this time the park has remained ever popular with visitors and has recently seen something of a renascence with tree, planting and pathway works having taken place along with the following new developments:
New Adventure Playground
A new Adventure playground was opened in the spring of 2011 and activities provided on site include the opportunity for children and young people to 'self-build' their own features and structures. This means that with the support of trained adults, they can help shape, transform and develop the adventure playground over a period of time. Additional traditional adventure playground activities include fire play, environmental activities, games, arts and crafts. The emphasis at the adventure playground is based upon the 'three frees' principle. This means that children are free to come and go as they please, children are free to choose what they would like to do and finally, the adventure playground is free of charge. The Adventure Playground is open on week day evenings until 7pm, on Saturdays and school holidays and is suitable for eight to thirteen year olds.
The glass house suffered from significant fire damage in the autumn of 2008 with one wing being destroyed. The glasshouse has now been rebuilt and working with the friends of group has been filled with a selection of temperate plants including a fern collection. New automatic venting has been installed and the electrics and plumbing updated. One wing has been arranged so that small classes and demonstrations can take place. The green house is open form 10 till 3pm on weekdays and at weekends when staff are on duty in the park.
The park is also home to Dewsbury Museum, originally opened to the public in 1896, the museum has recently undergone an extensive programme of development, refurbishment and restoration. Historic features of the grade 2 listed building have been revealed and restored (including wood panelling, ornate ceiling work and mullioned windows), along with installation of new galleries and improved visitor facilities. The museum is now fully accessible with the installation of a lift to all floors of the building.
The Friends of Crow Nest Park
The Friends of Crow Nest Park, a thriving group which is going from strength to strength, have transformed a neglected walled garden in the park into a wonderful wildlife garden, with seating, mosaic and new areas of planting. They continue to maintain and develop this area of the park to this day as well as contributing in many ways to the overall running of the park.