The beauty of University Park is one of the main reasons why generations of students choose Nottingham.
Many University Park landmarks are well-known and easy to spot, but could you point out the house owned by Jesse Boot or the historic ha-ha? Fortunately there is a dedicated group of volunteers focused on bringing the park’s hidden treasures to light for all to enjoy, helping make this the only university campus to have won a Civic Trust Green Flag Award every year since 2003.
Through tours and events, the Friends of University Park guide visitors through more than 200-years of history, teasing out a landscape of private gardens, the historic homes of Nottingham’s forebearers and introducing people to the flora and fauna of the grounds.
"When I look at the houses and wonder about all the people who have passed through the doors, my imagination just runs riot!"
“Our whole aim is to welcome members of the public on to the park,” said former Sutton Bonington student David Pinney (Agricultural Sciences, 1967).
“It’s great fun planning the annual event programme – we do everything from tree and heritage tours, to foraging and bat walks. The highlight is the Picnic in the Park in the Millennium Garden and last year we had about 300 people attend.”
Former staff member Pam Brown and alumna Janet Jones (Local History Diploma, 1992) are founding members of the group, which works under the guidance of the University’s ground staff in the Estate Office.
“I’ve worked here since 1966 and the whole campus is just lovely. I especially love it in spring when the daffodils and the cherry blossom are all in bloom. When I look at the houses and wonder about all the people who have passed through the doors, my imagination just runs riot!
“Campus has changed so much over the years, it’s lovely to share memories of how it looked in times past,” said Pam.
Janet added, “I was introduced to the historic houses on campus in my student days, as part of a local history course run by my tutor, Dr David Markham.
“His enthusiasm got me hooked – this is history on your doorstep but so many people don’t know what to look for.
“People think they’re not allowed on campus but they are. We want everyone to know that they are welcome to enjoy these beautiful grounds and to discover the joy of spending time here just as we all have.”
Current law student Simon often takes a study break in Hugh Stewart’s sunken garden; “I’m writing essays so it’s great to get out of the Hallward library and into the fresh air. I had no idea about the history of this garden – or how the group worked so hard to revive it after years of neglect. Now I appreciate it so much more”.
Be inspired - view upcoming events and more about the Friends of University Park.
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