Region: North East & Yorkshire
Elba Park in Sunderland boasts 53-hectares of public green space, providing a rich haven for wildlife.
Elba Park is becoming an increasingly popular place for wildlife and for people to visit and enjoy their local environment.
The park is home to a number of fascinating, original pieces of artwork commemorating the site’s industrial and mining heritage. Including a large metal entrance banner which tells the legendary story of the Lambton Worm which, according to local folklore, grew to an enormous size and terrorised local villagers until is was slain by John Lambton on his return from the crusades.
In the five years since the park has been open to the community further infrastructure has been added to the site. There are four picnic tables, five additional benches, an additional 1,800 metres of foot paths and a 10 bay car park. Our managing partner Groundwork hosts a variety of events, activities and education sessions throughout the year and engage directly with thousands of people from the local area.
Elba Park, Fencehouses, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, DH4 6GB
Site size: 53 hectares
Open all year round
Capacity for around 10 cars
An extensive network of footpaths comprise a mixture of tarmac and non-bonded crushed material. Most are in excess of 1.5 metres wide, but there are narrower trails through wooded areas. Paths vary in gradient from flat to 1:12. There are a limited number of seating areas at varied intervals throughout the woodland, most in excess of 200m apart. Access onto site is through access control barriers which permit motorised buggies. There are two parking bays for people with disabilities.
Yes - Please ensure they are under constant control
Walking, cycling, horse riding and wildlife watching, orienteering Events programme – check website for details
Herrington Country Park, Rainton Meadows Durham Wildlife Trust, Penshaw Monument, Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Beamish Musuem
The Elba Park comes from the hamlet which once stood on the site. There are several theories behind where the name Elba originated but two of the more popular possibilities are that the hamlet was next to a bend or ‘elbow’ of the Durham Junction Railway or that it was built around about the time that Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. The village disappeared in the 19th century as industrial activity, including the cokeworks which was located on what is the now the park, expanded and swallowed it up.
Coal mining started on this site around 1600, and industrial activity continued until the closure of the cokeworks in the mid-1980s. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), with funding from the National Coalfields Programme, reclaimed the site over a period of almost 10 years – during which time almost two million cubic metres of soil was moved, 77,000 trees planted and 3,700 of multi-user footpaths created.
Elba Park is a vital component of a significant new development that will see 359 new family houses built by David Wilson Homes North East. The Park is located on the site of the former Lambton Colliery. Operations at the Lambton Cokeworks ceased in the 1980’s. Buildings were demolished at that time and the land was left derelict for many years, a poor reminder of past industrial activity.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has invested in reclaiming the heavily contaminated site, creating a 53-hectare country park featuring new footpaths and a stunning range of community artworks.
To contact the Land Trust about this site or how we could help manage your space please email our Estates Manager Ian Kendall or call 07786 748985.
To enquire about holding an event on a Land Trust site, please click here.
This site has received the following awards:
Elba Park holds a Green Flag Award.
We are always on the look out for enthusiastic, committed people who want to make a real and lasting difference in their local community.Get Involved