Just after the start of the 1900s, land owned by the Peel family was donated to the people of Accrington by William Peel. Although he lived at Knowlmere Manor in the Hodder Valley, his family had a long association with Accrington, having been pioneers of calico printing in the area. Peel donated 14 hectares and the council bought an extra 23 hectares from him at a “favourable price”. The area was named Peel Park and was opened on 29th September 1909 by William. To commemorate this, a memorial was installed on the summit of The Coppice. It is known locally as The Monument and stands 830 feet above sea level.

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The opening procession consisted of 5000 Accrington school children, three bands and a host of local dignitaries walking from Avenue Parade to the top of The Coppice. Commemorative medals were given to the invited guests and to each pupil in the borough. A competition was held by the Accrington Members of the School’s Football Association and the winners received silver medals.

Nine years later, William Peel donated two 64 lbs cannons. Unfortunately, these were later melted down for scrap metal during the Second World War.

In 1916, the 11th Service Battalion (Accrington) of the East Lancashire Regiment, known as The Accrington Pals, were involved in training on The Coppice and some of their practice trenches still exist there today, although they are difficult to locate. In the Second World War many anti-glider trenches were dug on the summit, and these can easily be seen when visiting today. See the page on our companion site Lancashire at War for more on this here.

In 2009, the Peel Monument was restored and the commemoration from a hundred years before was re-enacted. Visitors today will see that the area is a fantastic one for nature, and there are plans to turn it into an official Country Park. Over half of the area is a Biological Heritage Site and Accrington Council and local volunteer groups work hard to keep it in pristine condition.

Site visited by A. and R. Bowden 2016

Access

There is a car park at BB5 6HF or park on plantation road at BB5 6RU

For a host of information about the animals and plants at Peel Park and The Coppice click here

For more on the anti-glider trenches see Lancashire at War here

Just a short walk away

Arden Hall ruins

Plantation Mill

Just a short drive away

Gatty Hall, Elmsfield Park (upcoming)

References

Explore Peel Park, Hyndburn Council online pdf leaflet available online

Peel Park and Coppice Management Plan 2015-2020 Hyndburn Council available here

Past Present and Future of Arden Hall, Peel Park & The Coppice document available here

Peel Park and the Coppice

Peel Park including the local nature reserve (downloads)