Ball Grove Park

Trawden Forest Parish Council took ownership of a large part of the park in 1st November 2023.

The Parish Council negotiated with Pendle Borough Council for over four years to ensure that the conditions of transfer were beneficial to both the Parish Council and the parish as a whole.

Included in the transfer was:

- Car park at Winewall Road

- Children's Playground

- Lake

- Car Park at Keighley Road

- The building and café

- The picnic area

About the park

The transfer of the park included the building known as Ball Grove Hall or Ball Grove Recreation Centre.

Within part of the building is a café.  The tenant has operated in the building since 2015 and runs a very successful business. The café is known as Lakeside café.  Within the café are the current only usable toilets; hence toilet facilities are only available when the café is open.

Part of this building is currently unoccupied and the Parish Council are starting the process of upgrading it with new electrics, heating, windows and doors.  This will be an ongoing project, but the works are scheduled to start soon.

The whole park currently offers a children’s play area, a millpond and lake, a nature reserve and seven hectares of community woodland, plus the Bronte Way, which runs through the park and continues through to Wycoller National Park. In addition, a footpath was added along the edge of the upper lodge in the late 90s and this forms part of the Ferndean Way - a three mile route from Waterside in Colne to Wycoller.

​Colne Water flows through Ball Grove Park and is an important freshwater habitat for a number of fish species, including brown trout.  A diverse number of bird species frequent Ball Grove and deer are known to visit in the early hours.

History of Ball Grove

In 1260 Winewall was one of five vaccaries or cattle farms in Colne district and lay within the Clitheroe Estate.

The firm of W & J Sagar was started by two brothers, William and John Sagar who began by fellmongering (cleaning and selling sheep and cow hides) behind the family farming business at White Walls, which later became the Boundary Mill Retail Outlet. They soon moved to Heifer Lane in east Colne near the Craven Heifer Inn where they washed the skins in the “brook” and in 1860 they took over a small mill at Ball Grove which had a water wheel for power. The business rapidly increased to 15 acres with power supplied by a modern steam turbine. 100,000 gallons of water were needed daily for the process of skin-washing and three dams were linked to satisfy this requirement, two being fore-runners of the main and upper lakes (lodges) and in order to preserve the supplies of water the owners bought up all of the farms (with their water rights) up the valley to the Moss.

The Brothers invented a de-greasing machine in 1895 which became world-famous. In 1897 they dropped fell-mongering and turned to leather tanning and by 1927 were exporting hat-leathers, chamois, clothing leather, roller skins for industry, footwear and glove leather, glue and gelatine world-wide. They employed over 400 people at that time and it was the largest tannery in Europe.

In 1932 a major fire wrecked the main building. It started in the spraying booths at 0940 and in spite of the Colne fire brigade arriving within eight minutes of the alarm, followed by the Nelson engine, the five storeys of the main building were completely gutted; fortunately no-one was injured and the firm rebuilt and continued, becoming a public company in 1946.

In 1969 they succumbed to a take-over bid and were confined to hat and shoe leather. In 1970 it was declared bankrupt and the mill was demolished between 1971 and 1974, the land reverting to the then Borough of Colne. The land was turned into a public park which it remains to this day.

Higher up the Colne Water valley was another mill known as Bough Gap Mill, founded around 1785, in what is now known as the pasture field at the foot of Spring Grove; this was one of five cotton mills using the power loom and the derelict stable-house for the horses has been rebuilt as Spring Grove Cottage above the field.

Seven hectares of community woodland and the Bronte Way, which runs through the park offer attractive walks from Ball Grove right up through the nature walk and continue through to Wycoller National Park.

Green Flag​

As new owners of the Park, we have continued to apply for the Green Flag.  This is an annual inspection of the Park to which a number of criteria are judged, and then the decision is made as to whether the park should be awarded or not.  The judging for 2024 took place on 23rd April and we eagerly await the outcome.

As the new owners, we had to create our own Management Plan, and with help from the Friends of Ball Grove Chairman, we managed to pull together an interim plan to submit with our entry.  This can be found in the link below.  Once the Parish Council have decided whether to continue with the Green Flag, a Management Plan of 5 or 10 years will then be produced.

Ball Grove Park is primarily used by local people for quiet recreation pursuits such as walking, exercising dogs and informal games. However, as part of the Ferndean Way, the park also attracts visitors from outside the local vicinity and the Borough. 

Ball Grove Park has its own website which can be accessed via BALL GROVE COUNTRY PARK - Home

Friends of Ball Grove

There is a very active group of volunteers who carry out works around the park.  They are Friends of Ball Grove.

They have recently been issued with hi-vis safety vests so that visitors to the Park can appreciate that they are there carrying out works to maintain and improve the Park.  The group has recently had a recruitment drive and increased their membership 6-fold.  This is very impressive and the Parish Council support the group with their projects around the park.  We have a fantastic partnership with the Friends group.

The group of volunteers meet every couple of months to decide what works they would like to carry out on the park and bring any capital spend suggestions to the Parish Council for consultation. The general grounds maintenance is carried out by Pendle Borough Council - this job is far too big for any volunteer groups to be expected to carry out.



Take a look around the park.  Click on the images to maximise.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.