Home Page

Portland Park


Portland Park
Lindleys Lane
Kirkby in Ashfield
NG17 9AL

Grid reference SK 449 355

Portland Park is situated directly to the south west of Kirkby in Ashfield; approximately a 15-20min walk from the town centre. 

Portland Park covers 15.2 hectares of informal open space, including 10 hectares of woodland in the valley of a tributary of the River Erewash together with several areas of species-rich grassland and a number of wetland areas.  The site is partly bounded by used and disused railway lines that form part of a once extensive local and regional network.  The meadow area to the north west of the main car park was once a limestone quarry which was infilled during the 1950s. Parts of the woodland are thought to date back to at least 1600.  Some areas have been quarried for limestone and the park is known locally as ‘The Quarries’.

The site is unique in Nottinghamshire, being located on a band of magnesium limestone, part of a narrow band running northwards up the west side of the county.  This enables many rare plant species to grow, creating an area which is abundant with fascinating natural history and making it a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The limestone supports important 'calcareous' vegetation that is rare in Nottinghamshire and uncommon in Britain generally.

     Site facilities:-

  • Visitor centre providing a café, toilets, display areas & tea room facilities on the first floor
  • The Wild Rabbit Café – check facebook / website for seasonal opening times.  Current opening times are (changing end of June):
    Monday to Thursday - 9.00am to 3.00pm, Friday to Sunday - 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • 3 pond areas
  • Extensive footpath network around the park and leading further afield (various gradients due to nature of the local area)
  • Main car park
  • Disabled parking bays in front of the visitor
  • Secondary smaller car park adjacent to the lawn to the side of the visitor centre
  • A garden area to the rear of the centre consisting of lawn area, woodland edge, paths and old rare limestone quarry face (historically used as a rifle range)
  • A tenanted bungalow lies adjacent to the centre

Play Area



Site history
Portland Park was donated to the people of Kirkby by the 6th Duke of Portland as a series of gifts dating from 1910.  A small area of what is now the park was leased to Kirkby Urban Council from this date and in 1914 the Duke and Duchess of Portland celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary and the 21st birthday of their son, William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, (7th Duke of Portland) by gifting the remainder of the land.  The Council developed 'Portland Park' as a formal recreational area for local people and the park was a popular rendezvous on a Sunday, for church services, family walks and picnics, listening to the bands in concert, tennis and playing on the swings.  Other features included formal gardens, paddling pools (now ponds) and a bowling green.  The main pond known as Victoria Lake, named after the Duke and Duchess’s daughter Lady Victoria Alexandrina Violet Cavendish-Bentinck, was created in 1914 as part of the original development of the park as a formal pleasure ground.

Up until the 1960's all the paths within the park crossed over or under railway bridges.  The main pathway to the west of the park was originally an embankment built to carry the first railway within the district, which was one of the first pre-steam railways in the country.  The railway lines were built to serve the former local coal mining industry and the majority are now disused.

A shortage of staff after the Second World War led to less intensive management and areas of the park became less formal.  Over time all of the more formal features of the park were removed, such as the bandstand, bowling green and play area.  Following designation of the park as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1974, the park was transformed over time into a country park.

The park will eventually extend into an additional area of land known locally as the ‘Humps and Hollows’ up to the edge of the Robin Hood Railway cutting following the completion of the adjacent housing development.  This transfer of land from the developer to the Council forms a condition of the planning permission to build the housing development.


Site management
The site is managed by Ashfield District Council. 

To book an event on the park or to request a booking form please email events@ashfield.gov.uk or call 01623 457092

For sports and pitch bookings please call 01623 450 000 or email environment@ashfield.gov.uk

To report a crime (including anti-social behaviour) contact the Police on 101

To report damage to the facilities please call 0800 183 8484 or email environment@ashfield.gov.uk

Friends groups and website links

Volunteer Action Group
There is a committed group of local registered volunteers that are dedicated to undertaking agreed small scale environmental improvement works within the park.  Further details about volunteering are available here.  Alternatively, please email volunteering@ashfield.gov.uk 


Green Flag Award

The park has held this national award since 2002. To achieve a Green Flag award a park needs to meet 8 key criteria:

  • a welcoming place
  • healthy, safe and secure
  • clean and well maintained
  • environmentally sustainable
  • committed to conservation and heritage
  • encourages community involvement
  • well marketed
  • well managed

For further information about the award visit: