Early rain cleared to leave a bright day for the opening of the new path through Millennium Wood, near Heatherton, on Friday 15th March. As its name suggests, the park has been there for nearly 20 years, providing a valuable green space for people in the south west of Derby.
The new path, funded by contributions from the Heatherton developers, has opened up the park to people living in the Oaklands Avenue area to the south. The route has been built wide enough for walkers, cyclists and even horse riders and is being used by pupils at nearby Derby Moor School and commuters, for example to Rolls-Royce.
Cllr Mike Carr, the Mayor of Derby, gave a short speech before ceremonially cutting a green ribbon. He said “I’m absolutely delighted to be here with you today. For many years it has been an aspiration for the City Council to be able to develop this route linking the green network of Littleover Parks with the estate on which Oaklands Avenue is located.
“The Section 106 funding has also being utilised to lay, and in time rejuvenate, an ancient hedge, [and] to create a wildlife pond here in Millennium Wood Park.
“I would like to thank Friends of Littleover Parks, the Derby Parks Volunteers and Council Staff who have worked to bring these projects to successful completion.”
Cllr Ruth Skelton, who represents the area which includes the park said “At long last we’ve got here. It’s been around 15 years in the making from concept to reality. Feedback from local people has been very positive.”
Littleover resident, Danielle Lind, is a campaigner in the local area, she said “My thanks go to all the local residents and community groups who’ve worked together to make this happen. This will open up the park to further improvements in the future.”
Councillor Alan Grimadell, the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said “I’m extremely impressed by what has been achieved by everyone concerned, especially Friends of Littleover Parks.”
Chair of Friends of Littleover Parks, Nigel Staunton, worked hard with the Parks team and in the local community to achieve not just the path, but other new features for the park. He is delighted at the opportunities the new path provides for local people and said “The new bridleway is opening up the park to new users, including the four horse riders from a local stables whom I met last week.”
Trevor Taylor of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said “The new path creates new habitat as a woodland ride suitable for wildflowers and butterflies. With the ponds and hedge-laying it should mean a welcome increase in biodiversity.”
Mr and Mrs Dolman also live in Littleover, they said “We walk along here quite often and it’s wonderful to be able to walk through the park and make it a circular walk. We’re delighted with the whole scheme.”
And it is not just about the park itself, Howard Williams who works at Rolls-Royce said “I used Blagreaves Lane to cycle to work for years but the new path takes a few minutes off my journey. I hope that Sustrans make it their official route as it’s also safer and nicer for cycling.
However due to the strong winds, the path was nearly blocked for the opening event. David Winslow, one of the Parks team said “We were doing final checks on Wednesday and found a great branch across the new path. We just had time to clear it before rushing off to the match!”