Pugneys Country Park is situated to the west of Wakefield city centre, one mile from junction 39 of the M1. The 300 acre park provides a venue for formal and informal leisure and recreational pursuits. Sailing, windsurfing and canoeing are very popular and there are facilities for hire, tuition and for the public to launch their own equipment. Cycling is also very popular and the park operates a rental service. There are a number of walks with good footpath links to Sandal Castle where there are spectacular views to the west along the Calder Valley. Within the park is a lake which is a designated Local Nature Reserve which is enjoyed by bird watchers with a wide variety of bird visitors each year receives many varieties of bird species. The main reception building accommodates a café where visitors can enjoy views across the park.
Pugneys Country Park was officially opened on the 1 August 1985. The Park has two lakes; the smaller is a 24 acre Local Nature Reserve overlooked by two bird hides.
The larger of the two is a 100 acre water sports lake. This caters for non-powered watersports such as sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. A comprehensive range of equipment is available to hire or, alternatively, the public can bring their own craft to use on the lake. A comprehensive coaching program is planned each year in all the disciplines for both adults and juniors. The park is accredited to teach national coaching schemes by their relevant National Governing Bodies for those activities (Royal Yachting Association, British Canoe Union and British Rowing). Customer safety is paramount at Pugneys, safety boats are in place while watersports are taking place, manned by trained staff.
A track runs round the largest lake and is approximately 1.6 miles long, suitable for running or taking a stroll. The park is popular for informal leisure activities, such as walking, jogging and cycling and there are good links with Sandal Castle via a network of footpaths and bridleways. There are numerous access points from the adjacent residential areas of Portobello, Sandal, Crigglestone and Durkar.
A large capacity car park, and an ‘overspill’ car park are available; parking charges are in place for the main car park.
The park is host to a number of voluntary sports clubs including the successful Wakefield Triathlon Club, West Yorkshire Canoe Club and a number of young people’s organisations. The Water Sports facilities are utilised by a number of schools and further educational organisations.
The park also hosts a number of events, which includes Regattas, Triathlons, off road running and open water swimming events, these include support for a number of national and regional events and championships.
A new water sports centre was opened in early 2005 providing excellent facilities including; changing room, classrooms, meeting and conference facilities. The new facility cost £950,000 with grant aid from Sport England, WREN, CRT and from Wakefield Council. The water sports facility also provides excellent refreshment facilities in the modern cafeteria, where hot and cold food and drinks are available 7 days a week throughout the year. The cafeteria service is currently operated by an external provider under lease, Cream Catering, a Community Interest Company (CIC).
It is estimated that park has over with 500,000 visitors each year!
Watch out for the new children’s play area and fitness trim trail in 2016.