Originally the site of the former Sutton Colliery, the park has been transformed into a wildlife haven with nature walks covering over two miles. The park’s 100 hectares (250 acres) provide many trails, nature conservation areas, recreation facilities (such as a golf club and a football pitch), art and sculptures, and areas of local historical interest.
Brierley Forest Park was officially launched in May 1994. The park takes its name from the colliery, officially known as Sutton Colliery, but known locally as Brierley Pit, after the Staffordshire miners who came from the area of Brierley Hill to sink the pit in the early 1870s.
The most outstanding feature of Sutton Colliery was the pit tip that smouldered and glowed red at night time. Buried deep under the spoil heap was Brierley Pond which was once alive with minnows, sticklebacks, newts, tadpoles and frogs. Take a walk up Rooley Lane towards the site of the old railway bridge and the former mine. The miners would walk this route each day up to Sutton Colliery.
The grey spoil mound that was clearly visible from around the park has now been transformed by the planting of trees.
The winding wheels from the colliery have been installed on the path to Brierley Waters, a large pond created in 1998 and planted with range of floating, emergent, marginal and submerged plants. A picnic area is sited adjacent to the pond.
Wildflower meadows have been sown with native species such as yarrow and ox-eye daisy, and wetland areas created. A wide variety of wildlife now flourishes in the park, for example a large population of skylarks nest on the spoil heap. Other residents include foxes, owls, meadow pipits and lapwings.
(Image courtesy of Shane. All rights reserved)