Sunnyhurst Wood

85 acre wooded valley, a prime location for family walks and picnics

Sunnyhurst Wood is is an 85 acre wooded valley and is a prime location for family walks and picnics.

The site won the prestigious Green Flag Award status in 2005 and has retained it since. It was also declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2005 and was designated a Biological Heritage Site in 1993 by Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

A wealth of wildlife, both woodland birds and plant life, can be found in the wood. Some 702 species of plant, bird, invertebrate and mammal have been recorded or observed in the wood.

Water is a special feature of Sunnyhurst heron and kingfisher can often be seen at Dingle Lodges and the Moat.

The community is very much involved in the wood through the Friends of Sunnyhurst Wood



A whole range of events take place in the parks and are open to everyone - guided walks, family fun activities, conservation days, story telling, art workshops, music festivals and many more fun events.

The Herbert Parkinson wildlife trail, is a fun, easy to follow family trail around the wood. Along its 1.5 mile length clues have to be solved and animal artwork discovered along the way. There is also a version of the trail that has no stiles or steps along the route. Free leaflets are available from the visitor centre.

The Tacklers Trail, a ten mile circular walk, starting at the visitor centre. This is one of the four walks that make up the Witton Weavers Way, a thirty-two mile Borough-wide walk. Leaflets for the four circular walks and the complete walk are available from the visitor centre.

Footpaths lead up through the wood to

  • Earnsdale reservoir,
  • Darwen Tower
  • nearby Roddlesworth woods
  • the historic village of Tockholes 
  • the unspoilt West Pennine Moors


Drinking fountain

Adjacent to the visitor centre is a stone drinking fountain. It was presented by Mrs T Lightbown in 1907 and has recently been restored by monies secured by the Friends of Sunnyhurst group.

Cottage bridge

This bridge is just in front of the visitor centre. It bears two inscription tablets, one commemorating the opening of the wood and the other acknowledges the efforts of Alderman John Tomlinson in acquiring the wood.

Commemorative tree

Between the visitor centre and the kiosk is one of the most important trees of the British woodland; the mighty oak. This particular tree was planted in 1913 to commemorate a visit by King George V and Queen Mary. An inscribed stone provides the details.

Olde England Kiosk

The Tudor style tea house was erected 1911-12 by public subscription to commemorate the coronation of King George V. The cost of the build was £1,550.

The kiosk is now licensed function rooms, cafe and ice cream shop

The Huntington bridge

This stone carved bridge is just beyond the kiosk. It was a gift in 1912 from The Wallpaper Manufactures company (WalPaMur) in remembrance of William Bailey Huntington.

Paddling pool

Just up from the Huntington bridge Sunnyhurst brook is dammed to form a large paddling pool with ornate bridges at either end. This was constructed in 1905 by voluntary labour of J B Kershaw, R Preston, E Gibson, C Fish and J Walmsley.

The Greenway Shelter

It is commonly known as the bandstand. It was a gift of Charles Spencer Greenway in 1912. The area around it was used for café chantante.

Lychgate on Tockholes Road

This elegant entrance is opposite the Lychgate Hotel and beyond the Sunnyhurst pub. It was presented by Mr John Chadwickin 1903.


A short distance through the lychgate is the site of a stone sundial. It was a gift of Mr James Hodkinson, but unfortunately destroyed in 1981.

Potters gate on Earnsdale Road

Just beyond the main driveway on Earnsdale Road is the Potters Gate, it leads down a flight of steps to the kiosk.