Work is underway to transform a disused Nottinghamshire colliery into a country park which is said to have inspired Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
The plans to build this £1 million country park have been in the pipeline for 10 years and were approved in April earlier this year.
With a 25 year lease of the site, which boasts views of the whole county, Gedling Borough Council are aiming to make the 300 acre park one of the best in the East Midlands with a target of opening in March next year.
Friends of Gedling Country Park, who are working alongside the Council, are urging local residents to get involved in the park’s development.
Although the site ceased mining activity in 1991, the ‘Friends of’ group and the council are keen to retain the colliery’s diverse heritage as well as offering a range of new paths, trails and wildlife.
One member of the ‘Friends of’ group, Terry Lock, said: “We have to keep the colliery heritage, it’s vital because the colliery is what has made this.
“Tolkien also stayed at his aunt’s farm here and wrote the first of his poems which started the whole Lord of the Rings cycle.”
For some, the site’s transformation brings back vivid memories of times when the park was a centre for mining activity.
No more so than for Graham Taverner, who worked as an electrician at the colliery for 35 years.
“Finally in Gedling we’ve finally got a country park and the start of a country park” he said.
Plans to build access roads, a solar farm and set up a visitors centre are only some of the ideas this newly formed team has for the attraction, with many more to be revealed on the park’s opening.
Leader of the Gedling Borough Council, Cllr John Clarke, described the park as a ‘massive asset’ to the area.
“We are so close to the city and we have to have all these attractions to get people to come” he said.
“Here is an attraction, on the doorstep in Gedling, it’s first class.”