Welcome to Newmillerdam Country Park. This sprawling 95-hectare site, a designated local nature reserve, is just 3.5 miles south of Wakefield city centre. Featuring a variety of different habitats as well as coniferous and broadleaf trees, it’s an ideal destination for wildlife-spotters, walkers, cyclists, families and anyone looking to enjoy the scenery and serenity of this special place.
Take a stroll along the circular lakeside route beneath ancient woodland. This wide, flat path is very accessible, making it a great choice for wheelchair users, booster scooters and pushchairs. The lake, covering an area of 30 acres, is an important breeding site for the great crested grebe, and in spring they can be seen performing their ritualistic courtship dance. Other water birds, including mute swan, mallard and coot, can be seen throughout the year. Bats feed here during the warmer months, with tiny pipistrelle, larger noctule and Daubenton’s bats able to be seen.
The Newmillerdam Arboretum, located at the top of the hill at the far side of the lake, is a fantastic place for nature lovers. With more than 100 species of tree, the area is also home to a wide range of ground-based woodland plants and flowers, including selfheal, ragged robin and spear thistle.
Look out for the identification signs in front of specimen trees, stating the trees’ common and scientific names.
Intrepid little explorers will love Newmillerdam’s Gnome Roam. Follow this simple walking trail to help Tony the gnome find his friends and the bear that has scared them all away – find the gnome sculptures as you walk around the park, using signs and clues to complete activities and challenges as you go.
After your walk, why not stop for a little treat at the Boathouse café? Situated in the historic Georgian Boathouse, the café offers barista coffee, locally-sourced produce, tempting cakes – and even some of your favourite tipples.
The Boathouse itself was built in the 1820s by the estate’s then-owners, the Pilkington family. It was originally used as a venue for entertaining friends and family, with the men shooting wildfowl from punts launched from the Boathouse, with the ladies joining them for a picnic lunch.
The size and layout of the park means it’s perfect for taking a short, relaxed trip, or for longer rambles – and if you really want to extend your walk, you can explore nearby Seckar Woods, too.
Please note: Newmillerdam Country Park has a pay and display car park onsite (postcode: WF2 6QQ).