The Snibston Colliery Park has officially reopened following an ambitious £3m regeneration scheme carried out by Leicestershire County Council.
Building work for the project started in February 2020, incorporating a range of developments that reconnect the heritage of the site with the local community.
By opening up access to the area around the colliery buildings visitors can learn more about the story of Coalville. There’s also a host of new features including the Colliery Café, Snibston Heritage Trail, a play area and Grange Nature Reserve.
County council Leader Nick Rushton said: “This has been an ambitious but carefully considered regeneration project. Not only does the site honour its mining heritage roots, but it’s also a commitment to the future, securing long term benefits for the local area.
“The redevelopment of this site intended to make the park more attractive for families, dog walkers and cyclists to explore. Visiting the site now, and seeing all the new facilities, including the cycleway which reconnects the former colliery with the town, there are lots of different things to discover with something for everyone.
“We are delighted it is now open and we look forward to seeing visitors enjoying everything it has to offer for years to come.”
Working closely with Snibston Heritage Trust and North West Leicestershire District Council, care has been taken at every stage on the site to respect its rich ecology and mining history. Important artefacts have been preserved and a new home has also been found for the old railway track, which is now being cared for by Great Central Railway.
Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said:
“This is a big day for Coalville, for the first time in 40 years the front gates of the former Snibston pit are open and people are pouring in to use the new cycle tracks, play equipment and café. Adding the new pedestrian and cycleway link to the town centre for all the residents on that side of town is also a big plus. We’re on a journey of regeneration in Coalville and this excellent county council project is another welcome step towards this goal.
“I’m pleased that people will now get to see the world class heritage at Snibston, which is considered as important as Stonehenge. It’s also great news that the new car park is to be linked to the football pitches which will take the pressure off Owen Street.
“With Newmarket nearing completion, the Belvoir Centre set for a major revamp and a multi-million pound Future High Street Fund bid being considered by Government – potentially opening the door to lots more regeneration opportunities – the future is looking bright for Coalville.”
Mick Williamson, managing director at Fortem, said: “We are extremely pleased that Snibston Colliery Park is now open to the public. It has been a pleasure working with Leicestershire County Council to deliver this landmark project at a site with such rich history. It is clear that the regenerated park will play an important role in the community, helping to tell the story of Coalville while providing new and exciting amenities.”
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the project for their hard work and commitment, in particular our committed and dedicated supply chain partners. It has been a partnership between all parties and we hope that visitors from the local community and beyond enjoy the new park.”
Outdoor activities are an important feature of the development including a new play area, a cycleway connecting Coalville town centre to the Colliery Park and a 4km mountain bike trail (opening Spring 2021) which, it’s anticipated, will attract cyclists from across the UK.
Snibston Colliery was redeveloped in the summer of 2020 with an aim to bring together Coalville’s industrial heritage and vibrant natural landscape to create a destination prepared for the future. It includes:
- Colliery Café – environmentally friendly and designed and built to complement the park’s industrial heritage and natural landscape.
- Snibston Heritage Trail – offering a glimpse into the history of mining and the story of Coalville through a range of buildings and machinery
- Grange Nature Reserve – with a Victorian arboretum, wetland area, boardwalks, wildflower meadow and two fishing lakes.
- Sculptures – including those created by local artist Sally Matthews using recycled and reformed metal and representing elks which roamed the area before the Ice Age.
- Mountain bike trail – a challenging 4km blue grade route, with options for younger or less experienced cyclists to build confidence in a dedicated skills area.
- Play area – with equipment for children of all ages to enjoy and a pump track for budding mountain bikers.
- Century Theatre – Britain’s oldest surviving travelling theatre, renovated and reassembled on a purpose-built site adjoining the former Snibston Colliery
Supporting Leicestershire County Council’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, the site also features solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.
Leicestershire County Council is very grateful to the following organisations for their help, advice and support in developing Snibston Colliery Park: Snibston Heritage Trust, North West Leicestershire District Council, Snibston Country Park Volunteers, Great Central Railway, British Cycling.Further information about the park