Sunnyhurst Wood in the Snow

Sunnyhurst Wood Visitor Centre in snow

As it snowed overnight, I thought I’d invite you to join me on a virtual stroll round Sunnyhurst Wood, an early Edwardian park in my home town Darwen, Lancashire.  

Sunnyhurst Wood bridge with waterfall

Snow resists us, helps us live in the moment. As long as you don’t need to get anywhere in a hurry, snow can be a good thing. Of course, here in England, we’re never really prepared for weather like this: roads were blocked, planes at Manchester airport grounded and schools were closed.

Sunnyhurst Wood, Darwen, in the snow

But in Sunnyhurst Wood, all that chaos seemed a long way away. My favourite part has always been the paddling pool, with its arched ‘fairy’ bridges. They’re not ideally suited to snowy weather but still passable provided you take a bit of a run at them. Twin bridges are behind, out of shot, with a small, ornamental weir that leads down to a waterfall.

A young dog was having a whale of a time playing in the snow. I can’t think how she’d stayed so clean. If I’d have turned the camera on myself you’d have seen I was a mucky pup myself by this stage, after scrambling up to viewpoints that turned out to be less easy to scramble down from.

Snowy branches

Sunnyhurst Wood bandstand in the snow

The snowy bandstand may seem deserted, but you may have noticed the paths are well trodden. You’ll meet friendly walkers, many exercising their children or  their dogs, year round, in all weather, here and on the footpaths that criss-cross the moors above. That’s just part of our Lancashire way of life.

Footpath through Sunnyhurst Wood

The footpath leads to The Olde England Kiosk, where I’ve enjoyed many a cup of hot chocolate.

Wintery leaves

I’m grateful for beech leaves in the winter as they provide a pop of colour while the other trees are bare. I spotted two or three trees covered with pale pink blossoms too, but couldn’t get close enough to get a decent picture with my iPhone without risking a tumble down the hillside.

Sunnyhurst Wood waterfall

The stream that flows through the steep sided valley, and the water features created by a different age along it, play a big part in the character of Sunnyhurst Wood. Unlike other parks built around the same time, the planting is naturalistic, without island beds lined out with annuals, and I like it the better for that. In spring, many areas are carpeted with wild bluebells.

Sunnyhurst Wood Visitor Centre and bridge

Ornamental stone bridges cross the river in several places including here by the Visitor Centre. This is one of my favourite walks: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know this place.

My route home took me up the path that winds up the hill to the right, then back into town.

25 Replies to “Sunnyhurst Wood in the Snow”

  1. I love new snow,but don’t care much for it if it is still on the ground a couple days later. Don’t like the tracks and ruts. New – it’s beautiful.

    1. This was a mixture of the two – pristine in places but grey and slushy where it had been well trodden. It had all vanished a day or so later.

    1. Darwen has three parks at Whitehall, Bold Venture and Sunnyhurst, but I like this one best. They’re all quite hilly in places due to our valley.

      1. I presume these were all Victorian creations? They seem to have been pretty good at parks, museums and libraries in those days.

        1. Pretty much. Sunnyhurst Woods dates back to 1903, so is just after Victoria, but it still has that feeling. The parks lead walkers up towards the moors and the Jubilee Tower at the top.

  2. I can almost smell the crisp, fresh air even in the 30 deg heat here on the other side of the world 🙂

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