Hednesford Park, Rugeley Road, Hednesford, WS12 1TB.
Hednesford Park is in the middle of Hednesford Town; 2 miles from Cannock Town and 16 miles from Birmingham. The A460, Cannock to Rugeley Road runs along the Eastern perimeter of the park. The Cannock Chase Heritage Trail runs through Hednesford Park from its Northern entrance along the North West perimeter, where previously the coal lines ran in the early 20th Century. Hednesford Park is situated in the bottom of the valley and is overlooked by: Hednesford War Memorial, The Museum of Cannock Chase; Hednesford Hills and Gaskins Wood.
Hednesford Park and Hednesford War Memorial were improved between 2014 until 2019 by a £2.2 Million National Lottery Heritage Fund. Match Funding from Cannock Chase Council, Staffordshire Environment Fund and St. Modwens enabled the whole park project development.
Cannock Council had been collecting data from the residents of Hednesford for several years, regarding the use of council parks. To get a more detailed understanding about Hednesford park a more targeted questionnaire was sent out to 4000 residents within 2km of Hednesford Park.
The Friends of Hednesford Park were established to support the project and help guide the development of the park. The questionnaires used previously were shortened to 2 sides of A4 and used to target the younger audience and service users when surveys were undertaken by the Friends of Hednesford Park. The consultation with young people revealed a need for further consultation on key facilities, in order to ensure that the funds were best spent on the principal activities requested. Specific consultation workshops were undertaken for the parkour area and skate park, before and after each design stage was tendered.
Further consultations and workshops were carried out with local school children for the design of the new play area. These models / graphs and images together with feedback were forwarded to potential contractors for inclusion into their final design.
The improvements are a direct result of the public consultation and the success has been reflected in the visitor numbers. Hednesford Park had electronic counters installed on every entrance as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we registered 589,178 visitors for 2019.
Hednesford Park Car Park is free to park. The gates are left open 24 hours a day. Parking is only restricted for large public events such as Hednesford Festival.
The public toilet and Changing Place facilities room opening times relate to Park Keepers hours which run in line with British Summer Time Dates:
March–October 8.30am- 7pm (to allow for cleaning and locking up time).
November-March 8:30am- 3:30pm.
The tennis courts are about to be refurbished and will be available through a booking system when they reopen. Community tennis will be available through Tennis for Free.
If you would like to volunteer at Hednesford Park or get involved in any of the many weekly activities, please contact Lynn Evans, Hednesford Park Community and Education Officer.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 07855 099353
We would appreciate your feedback on your experience at Hednesford Park, please contact Lynn or the Parks and Open Spaces Department at Cannock Chase Council:
Email: email@example.com or Telephone: 01543 462621
History and Development of the Book and CD as part of the HLF funded project
Pools to Park, the History of Hednesford Park/ War Memorial documenting the history of the park has been a collaborative project with the local community. Work carried out with Hidden Gems, a local history group that meet at the Museum of Cannock Chase identified key people to interview and video. Capturing their evidence was particularly poignant with as one participant sadly passed away shortly after filming in 2018.
Local residents and local historians together with the Museum of Cannock Chase and Cannock Chase Council Research officers worked on providing the history of Hednesford Park and Hednesford War Memorial. Other information and photographs were obtained through social media and conversations during events / educational activities within the park. Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles Arts Coordinator Lisa Shephard worked with local schools, using the information gathered to represent key characters and places that contributed to the history and development of Hednesford Park and War Memorial
The Pools to Park book was launched on January 30th, 2019. A small celebration was organised in the community room for local councillors and those involved in the production of the book. Those present were able to see the final cut of video footage that is provided in the online version and CD within the front sleeve of the book
The online version of the book is a reference tool for future research. Also being online, should new information and photographs come to light, it can be updated. ‘Pools to Park’ book is available to purchase at events, the Parlour pavilion café, The Museum of Cannock Chase, Cannock Chase Council and the Prince of Wales Theatre
There is a passport within the book for children to mark off as they participate in these activities. The activities encourage children to explore the park as they travel through time. The journey inspires young minds to use their imagination to find natural materials to make pictures and role play.
Please click on the link below to see the online book and order a copy of the book:
If you have or have any information, anecdotes, comments or queries then please contact us via the email address:
or telephone: 01543 462621 and ask for Parks and Open Spaces
National Lottery Heritage Fund
In the photograph, Sue Beadsmore (Chair of the West Midlands Committee for the National Lottery Heritage Fun) Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin and Councillor Christine Mitchell (Portfolio holder for Culture and Sport) declaring the Park open in December 2015.
Hednesford park is a town centre park with local football team fixtures, however other than through traffic on cycle, foot and dog walkers, Hednesford Park was probably underused. Hednesford Park had a new play area in the 1990’s, which became outdated and not ideally located close to the toilets within the park. Hednesford War Memorial is extremely popular on Remembrance Service, but other than the small group of volunteers that established the Society for the Preservation of Hednesford War Memorial in 2003, the memorial was mainly left unattended.
In 2009 Hednesford Park was pivotal to the 2nd phase of the regeneration of Hednesford Town which included the Rugeley Road and Victoria Street end of the Park. The Drill Hall was rebuilt in Hednesford Park, which improved the Army Cadet training and facilitated a new rifle range. The bus station and ATP Industries factory was relocated to make way for a new Tesco Superstore. Pool cottage was demolished to make way for new shops. In order to renovate the park a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid was achieved in 2012.
Heritage Lottery Fund five key outcomes for the project:
- Increase the range of audiences using and enjoying the park.
- Conserve and improve the heritage value of the park
- Increase the range of volunteers involved in the park
- Improve skills and knowledge through learning and training opportunities
- Improve the management and maintenance of the park
The project was been delivered successfully through a dedicated CCDC Parks and Open Spaces Team in partnership with The Friends of Hednesford Park.
For more information about The National Lottery Heritage Fund please see: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/
Hednesford Park Pavilion
Hednesford Park was originally opened on May 11th, 1931, incorporating a park keepers’ residence within the new pavilion. At this stage of development, the only recreational resources within the park were Tennis courts and bowling greens. The park keepers were tasked with maintaining the park and growing the plants required for the park, in the greenhouses.
Work started on the refurbished pavilion in September 2015. The old roof was removed, and the building was stripped down to the external brick walls. A steel frame was installed internally to house a new lift shaft to the 1st floor. The new pavilion has a reinstated upper floor accommodating a community facility. The Friends of Hednesford Park obtained funding from Staffordshire County Council to add a Changing Place facility to the building, so that it is now a fully inclusive park.
The Community Room has a calendar full of activities throughout the week, all year round. Including but not limited to:
Monday: Sidney’s Sight Support Group am, courses from outside providers pm
- Tuesday: Cannock Knit and Chat Group & Courses from outside providers
Wednesday: Toast Shop vulnerable adults’ group
Thursday: South Staffordshire English and Maths course through art (Funded through the Adult and Community Learning program)
- Friday: Braille class
Regular community events / meetings which are also held in the community room include:
- Cannock Chase Mental Health Hub
- Cannock Chase Dementia Action Alliance
- Time to Change Cannock Chase
- Hednesford Festival and other event meetings
- The Friends of Hednesford Park
The architectural plan of the new pavilion is attached below:
Hednesford War Memorial Works
April 2015: Overgrown shrubs were removed, Holly and yew reduced in height, whilst maintaining the structure of the planting.
May 2015: The selected contractor replaced the existing gravel driveway with a new resin bound non slip surface. The standing area at the top of the driveway was enlarged and the gravel recycled for surfacing.
Landscaping works entailed replacing the over mature shrubs either side of the main path, digging out the smaller shrubs and preparing the area to receive new shrub planting.
The memorial was cleaned appropriately without the need to resort to chemicals. The stone pillars holding the entrance gates, had all the existing layers of mortar removed to expose the original stone. The unique railings were removed a few panels at a time, sand blasted, repaired repainted and re-installed using traditional techniques. Gold leaf names on the gates were repainted and the unusual hinges on the pedestrian gates were preserved so the gate can continue to open in both directions.
In 2018 for the Centenary Remembrance Service for the end of WW1, Hednesford Lions achieved funding to install a sound system. The Remembrance service is so well attended that the sound system was necessary to enable local families to hear the service towards the entrance gates.
'Lest We Forget'
On 7th July 2018 The Society for the Preservation of Hednesford War Memorial arranged for the rededication of Hednesford War Memorial and invited the present (8th) Marquis of Anglesey as a VIP guest as it was his grandfather that donated the land for the park and the war memorial.
The old play area was out of date and did not support any form of disability: Equipment was worn and needed replacing. The age appropriate equipment was too close together and the toilets were located too far away from the play area. The new play area was re-located in front of the pavilion which incorporated activities that related directly to the history of Hednesford Park such as:
- Working water pump that fed into a stream bed.
- Mining wheel design on the floor in the patio seating area.
- A new train feature accommodating 18 children aged 2-6 years, including features for role play, a crawling tunnel, and climbing frame.
- The train is linked to the relocated signal box through wooden sleepers sunk into the ground and these then travel around the mining wheel to the Signal Box.
- Different levels of the playground reflect the surrounding topography inspires imagination, promotes learning and enables those less able to access slides with minimal support. The roundabout is also wheelchair accessible.
Work commenced on the new play area in August 2015, the original playground was left in-situ for the young people to use whilst the new one was being constructed. The new play area was officially opened on Friday 4th December 2015. Once the pavilion had been renovated and the café had officially opened, the new play area was formally opened by Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin (2015 BAFTA award winning film ‘Marvellous’). Neil has huge optimism and positivity, despite having a learning disability and has an attitude about going out and seizing life. Hednesford Park is now a fully inclusive and implicitly safe, inspiring facility for all our community to enjoy.
The feedback from the comprehensive consultation process with young people, was developed into a winning design by Proludic. Please see the original play design below:
The Friends of Hednesford Park
The Friends of Hednesford Park established in September 2011 and work very closely with Cannock Chase Council Parks and Open Spaces to achieve the aims of the voluntary organisation. If you would have some time spare, would like to develop your skills, please contact them on the following links:
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles (IHL)
IHL manage Cannock Chase Council sites such as The Museum of Cannock Chase, our 2 local leisure centres (Cannock and Rugeley) and The Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock. IHL lead many leisure programs such as Grow Up Great and many other leisure and wellbeing services in our local communities. As well as supporting our events, they also deliver thei own activities in Hednesosrd Park. For more information please see:
Tennis for Free
In 2016 Cheslyn Hay Tennis Club coaches established a Tennis for Free program in Hednesford every Sunday from 10am - 12noon. Hednesford Park won the National Tennis for Free Award for the 'Site of the Year' in 2017 and 'Player of the Year' 2016 for The Friends of Hednesford Park volunteer 'Wolfie' John Jones. For more information please see:
The Forest of Mercia CIC
The Forest of Mercia CIC support us throughout the year with free courses through the Staffordshire Adult and Community Learning Program for Staffordshire residents over the age of 19 years. If you would like to know more about their other courses and provision, please see:
Hednesford Lions are a passionate group of local people that work closely with Cannock Chase Council and The Friends of Hednesford Park to maintain Hednesford War Memorial, since it's renovation through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If you would like to know more information about their work throughout Hednesford, please see:
Hednesford Signal Box
Hednesford Park’s Western border is defined by the rail line. The railways were intrinsically linked to the development of Hednesford in the 19th century as a Mining Town. Following the decline of the coal industry in the late 1900’s many of the original tracks had been removed.
The Signal box was brought into Hednesford Park in 2014, it was an unforeseen opportunity that has greatly added to the heritage value of the project although not included directly in the HLF Programme.
There is video footage of the Signal Box removed from its original position to Hednesford Park on Youtube:
YouTube 1minute 54 seconds edited version of the Signal Box being moved:
YouTube 23 minutes version:
The Signal box has offered the National Lottery Heritage Fund Project much added value:
1. Match Funding from Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase Council Wellbeing Fund to the value of £50,000 to renovate the Signal Box to its former condition, renovate 2 of the 38 signal arms and to install the modern facilities that it needs to enable it to be used as a community facility such as water, heating and lighting.
2. With the Signal Box being included in the development in the early stages, it was incorporated into the historical theme of the play area and pathway structure. The train in the play area is linked by railway sleepers in front of the seating area around the mining wheel, and across to the signal box, linking the train to the heritage of the park.
3. The Signal box garden has been designed to link in with the mining theme and has been planted as a sensory garden to link all ages and abilities. The garden design includes different herbs and textures of plants in each section of the mining wheel. The sensory garden is used to support the national campaigns of Dementia Friendly with the Dementia Action Alliance and the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friend campaign.
Access Improvements to Hednesford Park
Through the National Lottery Heritage Fund we have been able to make most areas of Hednesford Park accessible:
July 2015: footpath that follows the old colliery track that went from Pool Pits (Valley Pits and now the Museum of Cannock Chase) was relevelled to make it more accessible to park users.
- November 2014: extension of the Rugeley Road car park
- December 2014: installation of an access road from the car park to link to the main tree avenue
- June 2015: line segregation of bays painted on the car park surface that included mini-bus and disabled spaces with 2 electric car charging points.
- October 2015: Outdoor Gym equipment installed in the circular tree avenue
We also received match funding from Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase Council under the Wellbeing Fund to add a Changing Place facility to the Pavilion.
In the photograph above left: Marquis Court Residential home taking part in 'Potter in the Park' gardening weekly sessions.
In the photograph above right: Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles ran a project called 'Wheels for All' throughout the warmer months. They ran out of funding and available volunteers to transport the bicycles down to Hednesford Park, however it is a project we are hoping to revive in future funding applications. If you are interested in sponsoring this project or volunteering please contact:
Wheeled Sports Area Development
Hednesford Park has always been a popular area for teenagers, this was reflected in the consultation process in 2012. Further consultation workshops were held in Hednesford Park one the main contractors were appointed to finalise key features that were required in the design of the parkour and skate park.
The playground contractor, Proludic installed teen apparatus including a basket swing, 2 x Rodeo Board Windsurf Simulators, and a ‘Climb the Flagpole’, these added physical challenges to the teen area. A local company called Natural Sports designed and installed the Parkour, the nearest Parkour local to Hednesford is in Birmingham, so this was a much-appreciated facility.
The old double ramp / skate park was removed in early July 2015 and replaced with a new skatepark in May 2016 by CANVAS Spaces Limited. The design incorporated the mining wheel theme into the key aspects that had been requested by the young people. The final scheme was an amalgamation of all different sports; scooters, bmx and skateboards, for all abilities and ages. The scheme was designed to accommodate the changing needs in the future as well as the present need.
The Friends of Hednesford Park sourced additional funding through the Police Commissioners Community Fund in 2014 to install additional lighting for the skate park and teen shelter. This has been requested from local young people so that they could access the facility in the winter months. We have since helped to establish a Basketball team playing weekly in the MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)
How the National Lottery Heritage Fund increased audiences to Hednesford Park
In 2013 the pavilion was only being used for few hours on a Wednesday morning to host the vulnerable adults Toast Shop and for occasional public events. The key factors enabling us to now deliver a much wider variety of activities to a greatly enhanced audience are the following:
- February 2014: Education and Community Officer employed to deliver the activity program
- February 2014: WW1 2014-2018 We supported the Centenary commemorations working group.
- August 2014: Hednesford Park was established as a Dementia Friendly Park
- January 2015: Launch of Chasefit Walks to Health in partnership with Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles
- June 2015: Hednesford Park registered as a Forest School site / member of Staffordshire Forest Education Cluster Group
- June & September 2016: Part time posts Community Gardeners post filled
- June 2016 Opening of Hednesford Park Café and community room
- November 2016, essential tree works commenced on the tree avenue where sixteen, large, mature trees were felled. Some of these felled trees have been used and turned into beautiful woodland art pieces. Robot Cossey, an artist from Wolverhampton who is well known for his timber sculptural works completed the first four sculptures which now take pride of place in the park. These include an owl, a lizard, a squirrel and a woodpecker.
- March 2017: New Sculpture by Robot Cossey funded through Cannock Chase Dementia Action Alliance to link Hednesford Signal Box sensory garden to the Blossom Garden to develop a Dementia Friendly walk. The Blossom Garden project was funded through the Post Code Lottery.
- July 2018: Launch of Cannock Chase Mental Health Hub
- March 2019: Launch of Time to Change Cannock Chase Organic Hub
- August 2019: Robot Cossey started a totem pole that reflects the history of Hednesford Park. The totem pole has been funded through Staffordshire County Council’s Building Resilient Families and Communities fund project working with The Friends of Hednesford Park.
The combination of having a passionate educational team, all year-round facilities and effective community networking partnerships has enabled us to hit targets in the activity plan and develop a legacy for Hednesford Park.
The inclusive facilities of the play area, access paths, Changing places and lift facilities in the pavilion have enabled Hednesford Park to establish weekly support groups for all ages and abilities. The Chasefit weekly activities has now extended from walks, running, cycling, gardening and now weekly bowling; OurParks offers 3 weekly exercise classes.
Classes of children are using the public network to access Hednesford Park from outside the area on an annual basis and local organisations that support learning and physical disability are regularly bringing service users down in mini-buses because they have the Changing Places and parking facilities to accommodate the larger wheelchairs.
Establishing a year-round Forest School programme and work experience programmes with local schools has allowed access for vulnerable young people and effective integration of the minority groups into the community. This means people feel safe and know where to access help should they need it. When we have had any antisocial behaviour issues, we are able to identify individuals, work with parents, schools, CCTV and the police with swift effect and target individuals and issues before they escalate. The HLF project has therefore been a catalyst for a more cohesive community.
Hednesford Park News
In November 2019 a Defibrillator was added to Hednesford Park Pavilion in Memory of Neil Bradbury
Pictured Amy Windle and Lesley Yates from Hednesford In Partnership with the Defibrillator In loving memory of Neil "Shrek" Bradbury 1980 – 2015. Neil and his partner Amy were Hednesford people, when Amy lost Neil suddenly, she has been campaigning ever since raising funds for defibrillators locally and training to be a councillor to help other bereaved families.
Building Resilient Families and Communities Project January 2019 – December 2020
The Friends of Hednesford Park (TFoHP) gained funding from Staffordshire County Council to ‘Build Resilient Families and Communities in December 2018. The project has funded lots of different small projects:
Hednesford Park Totem Pole
The Education and Communication team, work in partnership with TFoHP and local schools. Organisations that have developed a more effective community in inspiring learning and community cohesion. We have 10 Story Walk Frames in which we deliver treasure hunts in every school holiday throughout the year. We also work in partnership with Hednesford Library and The Reading Agency with their themes to encourage children and families to use the library and to love learning.
The totem pole is a 2-year project that is the 6th sculpture along the accessible tree avenue that circles the southern section of the park. The sculptures encourage children and walkers to walk in all weathers all year round.
Treasure Hunts have proven to be our most successful events and the Building Resilient Families and Communities fund has paid for prizes and Dennis Bowen and his engine ride, which was so well received, especially the Lantern Story Walk. Prizes had been funded previously through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Forest School Sessions delivering the National Curriculum to local schools to inspire learning
We have been delivering Forest Schools to St. Peters Primary Academy since we first introduced our Forest School program into Hednesford Park in 2015. On September 3rd, 2019 we were asked to deliver a Forest School session with The Forest of Mercia CIC and Cannock Chase Council Countryside Team to all the teachers during a teacher training day. Our brief was to show how the teachers could use the Forest School program and Hednesford Hills to inspire learning through outdoor and meaningful activities. Hednesford Hills is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and protected through Natural England, by working with the Countryside Team, the teachers will be teaching the children the history and geography of the local area. The children will be working with the Countryside Team to remove invasive species and use the natural resources to make items in school to develop their learning through Mathematics, English and Creative projects. Forest School by its design is superb at developing Personal, Social and Emotional skills.
Since October 2019 we have been delivering the Stone Age through Forest School activities in Hednesford Park with all of year 3 children from Pye Green Primary Academy.
The children have been doing practical activities to try to move heavy logs to gain an understanding of moving heavy stones a long distance. We were supported by 9 local councillors from different parties within our local district, including all 3 candidates in the forthcoming election for the new Member of Parliament. The curriculum requires the children to debate the different theories on how Stone Henge was built. The councillors and children chose which theory they wished to discuss. After 20 minutes we all came together to present each theory to the rest of the group.
Amanda Milling and Kathryn Downs explained to the children how debate works from its lowest form at the Town Council to the Houses of Parliament. Then the children all had a ballot paper with a choice of 2 crosses out of 6 and a ballot box to put their vote in to. The teachers took the ballot box back to school to extend their learning through displaying the results.
Last Updated: 09/11/2023