Willow Park historically formed a part of the Legh family estate. In the centre of the park, there once stood a prominent house known as The Willows or The Priory, originally two semi-detached houses which were later combined. This was the property of George McCorquodale, the local printing company owner.
The house was unfortunately demolished in the 1930s (as can be seen from the photograph above) with only some parts of the footings of the house still visible.
After the war, the former Newton Urban District Council leased die site, and shortly after, opened the site as a public park.
The park today provides a network of tree-lined footpaths, with areas of amenity grassland giving access to a variety of habitats such as woodlands, meadows, wetland and a 6.5 hectare (16 acre) lake.
The park forms part of the Mersey Forest, the largest of the 12 community forests in England. This is a joint initiative between local authorities, the Forestry Commission and the Countryside Agency promoting increased woodland cover.
The park also provides part of the Newton Heritage Trail, a 10 kilometre circular walk introducing the history of Newton-le-Willows; a rich and varied tapestry of ancient settlements and industrial evolution.
Jays, Woodpeckers, and even Treecreepers can be spotted at various times throughout the year, with regular sightings of Kestrels hovering over adjacent farmland hunting for small mammals such as voles and mice. The wetland and lake provide a habitat for a variety of aquatic insect life, ranging from Dragonflies and Whirligig Beetles which provide food for amphibians such as frogs and newts.
Improvements around Willow Park and Newton Lake have been undertaken by Groundwork St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton & Liverpool and St Helens Council Ranger Service, via funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the Government’s Single Regeneration Budget and Allied Domecq.
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