Sutton Park National Nature Reserve, Park Road, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B74 2YT
- How to get there and parking
Situated six miles north-east of Birmingham city centre. There are six vehicle entrances at Streetly Gate (Thornhill Road), Banners Gate (Chester Road) Boldmere Gate (Stonehouse Road), Town Gate (Park Road), Hartopp Gate (Blackroot Road) and Four Oaks Gate (Four Oaks Road). There are a further 20 pedestrian gates at various points around the perimeter.
Free car parks can be accessed through the vehicle gates but travel between these gates internally is not possible. Sutton Coldfield Railway Station is close to the Town Gate entrance and Four Oaks Station is a short walk away from the north-east side of the park.
Buses 6, 935, 937, X3 and X5 pass near Sutton Park.
- About the park
Sutton Park delivers a sense of wilderness within an urban environment. Visitors can enjoy captivating scenery across a wide range of unspoiled green spaces, using an accessible network of paths. The historic landscape covers 2,000 acres and attracts more than two million visits every year.
Sutton Park is an important site for wildlife and conservation, containing fine examples of natural countryside that have survived for hundreds of years. The area is a mosaic of open heathland, woodlands, wetlands, marshes and lakes each with their own rich variety of plants and wildlife, some rarely seen in the region.
In 1997 the site was designated as a National Nature Reserve in addition to its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is managed through the Ranger Service whose members work with site operatives, contractors, volunteers and stakeholders to safeguard the ecological and historical features of the unique park. Cattle and wild ponies can be seen grazing during the year helping to retain a working landscape.
The site is included in Historic England’s list of historic parks and gardens and most of the site is also a Scheduled Monument due its many points of archaeological interest. This former royal deer park has retained many ancient features including prehistoric mounds and a Roman Road. Following a Royal Charter granted in 1528 the Park was run by a Warden and Society which means it has been available as a ‘public’ space since that time, potentially making it one of the oldest parks in the world.
- Video introduction
- Facilities at the park
There are opportunities to enjoy walking, jogging, angling, nature watching and orienteering
- Picnic and play areas
- Two children’s playgrounds (near Town Gate and Banners Gate entrances)
- Sporting activities, including:
- Canoeing (organised through the Royal Sutton Canoe Club at Blackroot Pool)
- Fishing on Blackroot, Bracebridge, Keepers and Powells pools. (Tickets from the bankside or bought from the Visitor Centre. Close season from 15 March to 15 June inclusive due to status as a National Nature Reserve)
- Model Aircraft Flying Field (only for use of members of the Sutton Park Model Aero Club)
- Sailing on Powell’s Pool (Sutton Sailing Club)
- Several options to purchase food and drink from restaurants, cafés and ice cream vans.
- Visitor Centre (400 metres from the Town Gate entrance)
- Awards and status
- National Nature Reserve
- Registered Historic Park
- Scheduled Ancient Monument
- Site of Special Scientific Interest
- Toilets are available at the Visitor Centre during opening hours.
- Points of interest
- A landscape covered in archaeological features that reveal the history of the site
- A stone commemorates a camp for 35,000 scouts from 37 countries set up in the park for the World Jubilee Jamboree in 1957.
- Other features
There are a range of volunteering opportunities available through the Park Rangers
- Two and five kilometre walking routes as well as numerous paths including Walking through Time, six self-guided routes created by the Friends of the park which showcase its archaeology through information panels and pyramid markers.
- Designated cycle routes using main paths
- Permissive Bridleways for horse riding
- A freight railway runs through the park, occasionally used by steam trains
- Year-round grazing by Exmoor ponies and in summer by cattle
- Donkey Sanctuary – online booking required
- Park friends group
- Parks friends group activities
FOSPA, which is affiliated to The Conservation Volunteers, was founded in 1950 to forestall rumoured plans for building on Sutton Park.
The Friends work closely with the Sutton Park Ranger Service in line with management plans agreed by Natural England.
FOSPA is represented on the Park’s Advisory Committee.
The FOSPA Conservation team is a group of volunteers dedicated to improving the environment of the park.
Conducted walks are organised through the year, including archaeology walks led by Archaeologist Dr Mike Hodder in spring and autumn.