LINCOLN is a city blessed with several parks and green spaces used by thousands of people each year – here are three of our favourites, all of whom have just been awarded a Green Flag award.
Hartsholme Country Park and Swanholme Lakes
Covering more than 200 acres, Hartsholme Country Park is situated in the southwest of Lincoln, adjacent to Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve, approximately three miles from the city centre. The site comprises Victorian landscaped gardens, a large reservoir, woodlands and grasslands. Many features, both natural and built, survive from the original landscaping of the 1860s.
Hartsholme Lake was constructed by the Lincoln Waterworks Company which was set up in 1846. Joseph Shuttleworth bought the land on the shores of the Lake and built Hartsholme Hall in 1862. In the same year the gardens and park were laid by Edward Milner (1819-84). On the death of Joseph Shuttleworth in 1883 his son Alfred sold the property to his father’s business partner, Nathaniel Clayburn Coburn. Colonel Thomas W Harding became the owner of Hartsholme in 1902 and improved the gardens. Hartsholme Hall was put up for sale in 1906 and was purchased by Lord Liverpool in 1909. Thomas Place of Northallerton purchased the estate in 1939 but appears not to have taken up residence. During the Second World War, the Hall was an Officers’ Mess and the estate was used for military training. By 1947 it had been taken over by squatters, which caused serious deterioration of the building. The Hall and 130 acres (c 54ha) of land were sold in 1951 to Lincoln Corporation; most of the Hall was then demolished in the 1950,s and 1960’s. The park was designated as a Country Park in 1974.
Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve is accessible through Hartsholme Country Park. It is an important wildlife site for Lincoln and was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1985. Formally a gravel quarry the 63-hectare site comprises dry heath, wet heath, sphagnum bog and open water habitats.
Boultham Park is a 50-acre grade II listed historic park in Lincoln. In 2018, the City of Lincoln Council and learning disability charity Linkage completed a five-year, £4 million project to restore Boultham Park, supported by grant funding of £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ initiative, raised thanks to players of The National Lottery.
Boultham Park is a special place to many residents and this project has revitalised the park, restoring key features such as the bandstand and developing new facilities such as the Boultham Park Café, as well as encouraging community involvement and creating lasting memories for local people and park users.
Boultham Park was acquired by Richard Ellison III (whose father founded the first bank in Lincoln – more latterly National Westminster Bank) for his son Colonel Ellison in 1830. A manor house already existed on the site.
In 1857 a large ornamental lake was excavated and the hall rebuilt and enlarged in 1874. After the house was passed to Colonel Ellison’s son in 1881 it subsequently became vacant in 1909 after his death.
During the First World War, the house served as a convalescence home for soldiers and in World War Two, areas of the park were planted with sugar beet as part of the Dig for Victory campaign.
After the war much of the land was sold for new housing. The remaining grounds were finally secured by the City of Lincoln Council in 1929. The grounds were laid out as a public park with the hall being demolished in 1959.
There is an abundance of woodland birds and waterfowl. Some of Lincoln’s famous swans are regular visitors to the park’s lake, as well as geese and coots. The lake is also home to large pike.
The Arboretum is a park of Grade II historical importance, containing beautiful gardens, lakes, fountains and a children’s play area. It was originally designed and laid out between 1870 and 1872 by Edward Milner, one of the most celebrated Victorian gardeners of his time.
Following the national trend of providing public parks and with the closure of the nearby Temple Gardens, which had operated on a semi-public basis, the Lincoln Commons Act (1870) was passed and Monks Leys Common to the east of the city was purchased by the Corporation through Act of Parliament. Authorisation was also given to sell three acres of the land for residential building purposes to help fund the layout and construction of the Arboretum which would become Lincoln’s first truly public park.
In July 1870, Edward Milner was employed by the Corporation to inspect the new site and to develop a design. Milner was no stranger to Lincoln, and possibly gained this commission through the strength of an earlier piece of work in the city, when he laid out the grounds of the then privately owned Hartsholme Hall in 1862.
Milner’s design was considered by Council and unanimously approved on 13th September 1870. A sum of £500 was handed to the Arboretum Committee by the Treasury and works commenced immediately.
The Arboretum was finally opened in August 1872. The opening ceremony was attended by 25,000 people and attractions included brass band recitals, Professor Renzo’s Performing Dogs and Mr Emmanuel Jackson, the Midland aeronaut in his new balloon.
Get exploring in the amazing green spaces Lincoln has to offer today!