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Walks in Sutton Park

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Introduction | Visitor Centre Walk | Blackroot Walk | Two Pools Walk | Longmoor Walk | Bracebridge/Pool Hollies Walk | Map

Two Pools Walk

Map of Sutton Park
map of walk

[The original of this image was produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.]

This walk is marked in ORANGE on the map above. The marked route is approximately 2.7 km or 1.7 miles.

If coming by car, enter by the Four Oaks Gate and park where marked on the map above.

1 The walk starts at the end of Blackroot dam nearest the Blackroot car park. At this point you can see the saw mill where timber produced within Sutton Park is brought to be made into timber products to be used around the park. The mill site is an old sand and gravel quarry which was cut into the deposits of 'Bunter' sands and gravels that were laid down by a large river existing in this area during the Triassic age, some 200-250 million years ago.

At certain times of the year you may see Swallows flying. They return here each spring to nest in the roof space of many of the out-buildings. Also, watch out for Kingfishers. These beautiful birds are known to breed close by.

Blackroot Pool
Blackroot Pool

Take the main path along the dam. This dates back to the 1750's when its construction provided water power for the old mill at the site of the present work-shops. The woodlands to your left consist of mainly Alder, a species suited to the wet conditions. On some of the trees there are boxes for bats, which at dusk and dawn may be seen skimming over the pool feeding on insects. On the Pool itself, watch out for various water birds. These may include Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Coot. Many other birds have been recorded on this pool, which is also the home of other forms of wildlife such as crayfish, mussels, dragonflies, etc. Fish include Roach, Perch, Bream, Pike and Carp.

2 At the end of the dam you will reach the pool outlet. White Waterlily may be found here in summer.

After passing the pool outlet at the end of the dam, turn sharp left and follow the broad path through woodland. To your left, the trees are mainly oaks, Holly and the inevitable birches. To your right, there are also stands of Beech. This species is not native to the Park, but was planted when the woodland was more extensively managed for timber.

Continue along the path, ignoring smaller side paths, until you see Keeper's Pool in front of you.

3 As you approach the Pool, the area to your right is now an open grassy bank. This is the former site of an outdoor swimming lido, built in 1887. Its buildings were destroyed by arson in 2003 and it was finally closed in 2004.

Keeper's Pool
Keeper's Pool, showing the now grassy area where the lido stood
Keeper's Pool was originally built as a fish pond within the mediaeval deer park. The Pool is said to have been constructed by John Holte, Keeper of The Chase in the mid-15th century under Henry VI, hence the name Keeper's Pool. The pool was formed by the damming of a stream.

Walk straight ahead until you meet the road, now closed to traffic. Turn right, alongside Keeper's Pool, and follow the road. The area to your right was once dominated by rhododendrons. They were deliberately planted in the past, but can be very harmful to native plants, and have been cleared from many areas. Rhododendron roots produce toxic chemicals which prevent other plants growing near them – the ground is around them is usually bare. Since they can regenerate from stumps, simply cutting them down is not enough to remove them: they have to be completely dug up or pulled out.

4 When the area beside the right of the road opens up, a short distance from the road you will see a circular structure called Keeper's Well. This is not a well, but a spring, one of several in the park which have been enclosed. In summer if you carefully turn over a stone, replacing it afterwards, you may see an number of invertebrates or their larvae.

5 Continue to follow the road. Watch out for the archaeological interpretation sign (on a low triangular pyramid), which marks where an ancient ditch and bank meets the road. The road turns slightly, with a steeper uphill stretch. As of 2021, the area to the left is mainly "scrubby" with tall gorse bushes and birches. The area to the right has been cleared mechanically, as part of the manaagement of the Park, which aims to keep a substantial area of open heathland, along with the wildlife it supports. Left alone, heathland turns first into birch scrub and then into woodland.

6 Eventually you will reach the Jamboree Stone, set in the centre of a triangle of roads.

The Jamboree Stone The Jamboree Stone

In 1957, the Scout Movement held its World Jubilee Jamboree event in the park, with camps set up for some two weeks. The 'Jamboree Stone' was erected to commemorate the event. The plaque states that there were 32,000 scouts from 87 different parts of the world.

Now take the broad track which was sharp right as you walked up the road to the Jamboree Stone. It heads across open ground towards woodland. Notice the difference between the areas on your left and right. On the left is an area which was cultivated towards the end of the Second World War. It remains grassland. To your right is an area of cleared heathland.

7 After a straight section of about 400 metres (yards), the main path turns slightly right. At many times of year you will see sky directly ahead of you, as the path drops sharply ahead. Continue along this path, taking care as there are loose stones and it can be slippery when the ground is wet, until you see Blackroot Pool immediately ahead.

8 When you arrive at the Pool, turn right and then left across the dam to your starting point.

Introduction | Visitor Centre Walk | Blackroot Walk | Two Pools Walk | Longmoor Walk | Bracebridge/Pool Hollies Walk | Map

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Visitor Centre Wallk Blackroot Walk Two Pools Walk Longmoor Walk Bracebridge/Pool Hollies Walk