By Kit Sandeman, Local Democracy Reporter
A sculpture trail has been added to the list of attractions on a former coal mining site which has undergone a dramatic restoration.
Gedling Country Park opened in 2015 on the site of the former Gedling Colliery boasting views as far afield as Lincoln Cathedral and Belvoir Castle.
Now a new heritage nature trail, complete with handcrafted wooden sculptures and interactive booklet, has been opened to the public.
Labour Gedling Borough Councillor Peter Barnes, portfolio holder for environment, said: “The heritage nature trail is fantastic.
“The walk, the sculptures and the booklets will be great for children to enjoy over the summer holidays and beyond.
“I’d like to thank the Friends of Gedling Country Park, the artist Peter Leadbeater and all who have all been involved in making this wonderful interactivee nature trail.”
The trail features eight 3ft wooden sculptures of the wildlife found across the country park – a heron, badger, hedgehog, fox, rabbit, mole, pipistrelle bat and a green woodpecker.
Each carving has information signs with facts about each animal, set at wheelchair-friendly height, and interactive ‘rubbing plaques’ where children, using crayons, can create animal impressions in their booklets.
Fundraiser for the Friends of Gedling Country Park Sarah Benedek said: “This nature trail is something we’d hoped to develop since the park opened.
“As well as offering an additional activity for local children and visiting school trips it has been designed with wheelchair users in mind.
“This will complement the existing equipment in the children’s play area and the Changing Places toilet to make Gedling Country Park one of the most accessible destinations for wheelchair users in the Midlands.”
The trail follows the ‘High Hazels’ accessible footpath, a 1.4km wheelchair and pushchair-friendly circular route.
The trail was commissioned by the Friends of Gedling Country Park and Gedling Borough Council.
It is also part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which is money generated by players of the National Lottery, and is part of a wider £74,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to explore and celebrate Gedling’s heritage.
In addition, the trail has received financial support from Co-op Gedling’s community fund.