Today was an interseting day for me. I made my first trip to Middleton Park in about a year, and was pleasantly surprised with the changes.
As you drive in through the gates and come down the hill towards the car park nothing much is different but, as you park the car and have a second look there are a few obvious differences.
The first thing you notice is the new visitor centre which, to be honest looks very much out of place. This is a perception that only lasts so long though because, as you walk around, it quickly “grows” on you which I didn’t expect at all. Having spent so long bemoaning the loss of the old cottages, I fully expected to hate the modern structure. It is brick and glass with big hydraulic arms to support a solid awning, which gives some shade/shelter from the elements.
As you will see from the photos, this doesn’t look as industrial as it sounds and actually modernises what is otherwise a very traditional park.
Then you look a little further and notice the new benches and bins that sit at regular intervals around the lake, and these are reminiscent of the types you used to get at the seaside towns. They add a certain vintage feel to the park and add to the nostalgia I felt when I arrived.
The most noticeable change for me was the cleanliness of the whole area! I stopped visiting Middleton Park a few years ago because it had an almost grubby feel to it, with lots of litter and broken benches. It now feels like a different place and there’s a pleasantness about it that makes me want to take my kids back there.
The play area is small but it has new equipment and it is well maintained is feels more welcoming than the old fenced-in area.
To finish off though I absolutely must mention the efforts made to show some of Middletons’ historic importance. I was glad to see the reconstuction of a Horse Gin, which was used from the 1700’s to raise coal, men and water from the pits dug throughout the park. It’s a part of our history that is often forgotten and it will be nice to be able to show my children a visual depiction of how times have changed.
This article was written by Craig Sweaton using our Community Reporters website