The Canch Park
Address: Priorswell Road, Worksop, S80 2BU
Opening Times: Owned and managed by the Council (with the support of other organisations), The Canch is open to the public every day, 365 days a year.
An Award Winning Park
The Canch in Worksop is celebrating its status as one of the very best parks in the UK, after retaining its Green Flag Award again this year.
The award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
The criteria for receiving this award area:
- A welcoming place
- Healthy, safe and secure
- Clean and well maintained
- Conservation and Heritage
- Community involvement
Features and Facilities
Located just to the east of Worksop Town Centre, The Canch is a five-minute walk from Bridge Street, the town’s main shopping area. Close to the park is the historic Worksop Priory which is nationally acclaimed and dates back to 1103.
The park itself which is owned and managed by Bassetlaw District Council, covers an area of 4.8 hectares is known by two names and has two distinct parts. Divided by a watercourse the area to the north known as ‘The Canch’ was provided for public recreational use in 1912. The area to the south originally named ‘Memorial Avenue Gardens’ was an addition to the park in 1938 and was laid out in a more traditional formal parkland design to accommodate the new library and museum building at the time.
The layout of the park has many features and facilities including;
- Children’s Water Fountain Splash Pool*
- Plaza-style skatepark
- Adizone Outdoor Gym Area (with performance area)
- Junior and Toddler Play Equipment
- Multi-Use Games Area
- Formal Gardens
- Sensory Garden
- Aurora Wellbeing Centre (former Library)
- Public Conveniences*
The Memorial Gardens
The south side’s formal landscape features include a sunken rose garden, a sensory garden and impressive stretch of seasonal display beds set in well maintained lawns. Shrub border plantings punctuated by mature trees form prominent features around the southern edge of the garden. Lawns, specimen trees and an informal pond make up the rest of the south side landscape which also accommodates the old Carnegie Library building, currently occupied by the Aurora Wellbeing Charity.
The original gardens are situated around the Carnegie Library, which was opened in 1938 by Colonel Mitchell. This area offers a quiet area set amongst seasonal bedding displays. A plaque commemorates those who died in the First World War.
Priorswell Entrance Area
This paved area with benches has a variety of trees and shrubs which provides a quiet retreat with all year round interest with stunning views across to The Priory.
The sensory garden replaced the disused lido in the 1995 with its built up beds, pergolas, trellis and plants chosen for their texture and smell and provides a stimulating experience for all visitors.
The Main Events Field
An open grassed area edged with mature trees provides a location for the staging of community events and activities. The remainder of the north side landscape is occupied by lawns, mature trees and the former bowling green area which awaits redevelopment.
The Splash Pool
The extremely popular outdoor splash pool attracts many visitors from both within and outside of the District.
This fenced-off safe area is further enhanced by a desert island theme which includes a ship-styled and other equipment for younger children.
The Splash Pool operates on a seasonal basis and will be open daily from May to September. Please note that the operating times may be subject to change at short-notice due to maintenane or adverse weather conditions.
The junior play area adjacent to the spashpool provides more stimulating and challenging integrated play in the form of a zip wire, basket swings, climbling frame and much more.
The Adidas branded Adizone 'outdoor gym facility was an addition to the park in 2011.
This area is open all year round come rain or shine so a walk or jog in the park can be simply followed by some toning activity to provide you with a whole body work out, at any time of the day, completely free of charge.
The ‘plaza style' skate park was constructed in 2011 after wide-spread consultation with local users and community groups. now a firm favouriate for skaters and riders of all abilities its features include; big red banked wedge, pole jame, euro gap and much more.
Bassetlaw District Council encourages community involvement within The Canch and our Parks and Open Spaces Team stage a variety of activities throughout the year from bulb planting and litter picking to assisting with events in the park. If you are an individual or group interested in volunteering then please see our information sheet contained on this webpage.
Sprucing up the borders
Our Parks Team had some help in adding colour and interest to the Priory entrance section of the park in May, Thank you to the Muddy Fork and the Rotary Club of Worksop for your help in planting the new shrubs and herbaceous plants to the previously sparce borders.
'Wildlife/Educational Zone Planting
A number of planting initiatives have taken place in the park involving local school children with partner organisations and groups.
New and existing habitat areas have been created and improved for wildlife to benefit. Some of these initiatives have seen the planting of native hedgerow and woodland plants in certain areas of the park, which also involved an educational element with the identification of plants and wildlife.
Various bird nesting and bat boxes have also been installed around the park. Grant funding was awarded by the Environment Agency through Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to improve wildlife habitats, alongside the River Ryton, which runs directly through the park and beyond. This work included the installation of pre-planted coir rolls of native water marginal plants alongside the banks of the River Ryton within The Canch and also some tree planting on the adjacent Jubilee Field, (previously known as Bracebridge Field), to the park.
Activities and events in The Canch
The Canch/Memorial Gardens have become a popular venue to host many events, activities and fundraising initatives throughout the year.
For a full list of activities planned for 2017 please see the Council's Events Diary.
Individuals or groups interested in using the park for an event or activity can submit a request to the Parks and Open Spaces Team by completing the 'Host an Event' form which can be found on this web-page.
A Brief History of The Canch
The word ‘canch’ was first referred to in Harrison’s survey of 1636, who names two meadows in the area as “Great Canch” and “Little Canch”. The term ‘canch’ is often attributed to mining although for this site it may in fact be related to some form of quarrying (possibly of the red sandstone) or the construction of fish ponds in the medieval period.
This area of Worksop known as The Canch has a long history originally being associated with the former Augustinian Priory (founded c1100) to the east. A water mill and fish ponds are likely to have been constructed on the site in the early-12th century with an operational corn mill present on the site until 1876. When the mill was constructed (possibly 12th century) a mill leat was dug out diverting the water from the River Ryton. These water courses still exist although much altered. The mill was destroyed by fire in February 1907 and was later demolished in the same year. Remains of the original mill structure brickwork and stone features are still evident on the site today.
Swimming baths were located on the site of the former Priory mill buildings (now Sensory Garden area). The swimming baths referred to locally as the ‘Canch Lido’ was officially opened on 9th June 1910. In 1995 the lido was filled in and replaced with a sensory garden.
The Carnegie library was officially opened on the 24th March 1938 although the new Memorial Avenue Gardens (not officially open) were finished later that year as an extension to The Canch Park.
In 1916 the Worksop Urban District Council agreed for the Recreation Ground to be used for the growing of potatoes as a result of the food shortage caused by World War One. This use ceased after the war ended. Shortly after in 1919 a British tank was presented to the town and was put on display at the eastern end of the Recreation Ground. The tank was scrapped in 1935.
Further Information on The Canch
A Management Plan for The Canch has been produced by Bassetlaw District Council and covers the period January 2013 to January 2019.
The Management Plan will be used to:-
- Assess and evaluate the current value of the park as a community facility
- Establish opportunities for future improvements to its facilities and features and formulate actions accordingly
- Monitor the management of the park in respect of its on-going maintenance and future development potential.
The Plan also identifies how The Canch and its management relates to broader policies and strategies at local, regional and national level.
It is also intended that the Management Plan will assist Bassetlaw District Council in retaining Green Flag status for Worksop’s premier park.