With its sloping woodland set around a central lake, Newmillerdam Country Park in Wakefield makes for a pretty - and popular - walking spot year-round.
In Spring, a carpet of bluebells on the forest floor sits at walkers’ feet but in Autumn, the beauty is in the yellow and orange hues of the trees’ falling leaves and, too, in their mirrored reflection in the water under the light of the low winter sun.
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Captured in this photograph, is the country park’s historic boathouse, built in the 1820s as a venue for entertaining.
The park was once part of an estate owned by the Pilkington family and the Grade II-Listed boathouse was a space where they could host family and friends, the men often shooting wildfowl from punts on the lake, whilst the women joined them for lunch.
Fifty years later, the family also built nine lodges, to house the gamekeepers who protected the site from poachers.
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Today, two of the lodges can still be seen guarding the Dam, whilst the boathouse hosts a cafe run by the Friends of Newmillerdam Country Park during the site’s busiest season.
With three wardens and countryside officers, the group also maintains and improves the park, which is now in the hands of Wakefield Council.
It is an important breeding site for the Great Crested Grebe and is also home to wildlife including the Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, bats and squirrels.
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The area of Newmillerdam itself was once called Thurstonhaugh, an old Norse name, but it became known as New Mylle on Dam when a new corn mill was built in around 1285.
Once a small hamlet of worker cottages, the village is now an attractive place to live, with the country park run for the benefit of wildlife and for the leisure of people in the Wakefield district.
Designated a local nature reserve, it was originally managed for game and commercial forestry but is now much-loved by walkers and popular with dogs too.
With its colourful beauty during this season, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice for a spot of fresh air.