Brierley Forest Park is located on former farmland and the site of Sutton Colliery. The Sutton Colliery was originally called ‘The New Skegby Colliery’. The pit shafts were sunk in 1873. Locally, it was known as Brierley Hill as the shafts were sunk by miners from Brierley Hill in Staffordshire, who had relocated to the local area seeking employment.
In the late 1970s, the old colliery spoil tips were regraded, partly re-soiled and grassed, although Sutton Colliery itself did not close until 1989. Demolition of buildings and capping of shafts was completed later, together with final land re-profiling and soiling. The bulk of the tips were grassed over and the lower slopes planted with a variety of predominantly native broadleaved trees and shrubs, but also including a non-native element.
Ashfield District Council purchased the spoil heap and surrounding farmland to create the park. Development began in 1992 with the aim creating Brierley Forest Park as a gateway site within the Greenwood Community Forest.
There are permanent reminders of the site’s industrial past, through the timber sculptures outside the visitor centre, the commemorative stone on Rooley Tops, and the pit wheels along the main path to Brierley Waters. Within the visitor centre, there are permanent displays illustrating the site’s history.