Covid-19 January Update

We would like to reassure our park visitors that your health and safety is of utmost importance.

We have had to make some decisions in the best interest of our visitors and staff.

  • Vicar Water Country Park is open
  • Fishing is currently suspended by the angling club
  • Rumbles cafe is offering an outdoor 'take-away' service and reduced indoor seating
  • The toilets are open and being cleaned regularly
  • The play area is open but please see the extra safety advice on this page
  • Our volunteer working groups are taking place again following strict Covid-19 safety precautions 
  • Forest Schools and many park events have been cancelled

We believe these are the most responsible decisions to make at this time. We will continue to monitor this developing situation and share updates as soon as they are available via our website and social media channels.

In line with Government guidance

  • if you have a high temperature, or new continuous cough, please postpone your visit to the park and stay at home for 14 days
  • Please also ensure that you practice good hand hygiene
  • Stay 2m apart from one another and be considerate of others
  • Do not visit the park in groups. You are allowed to exercise within your household or bubble
  • No team games or large groups activities
  • Use the park and open space responsibly for your daily exercise
  • Please do not drop litter but use the bins provided to reduce the spread of germs

Using playgrounds during Covid-19 

  • If the playground is busy, consider coming back at a later time. Talk to your children about this possibility before visiting
  • Social distancing should be followed and families should stay 2 metres apart if possible
  • The virus can be transmitted when you touch surfaces. If children use a playground they should be extra careful about hand hygiene and everyone should use an alcohol based hand sanitiser immediately before and after using the play equipment
  • Do not use playgrounds if you have Covid-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath or lack or taste or smell
  • Face-coverings are recommended for parents but not children under 3 years old. Dispose of used face-coverings properly
  • Encourage children to catch coughs or sneezes with a tissue or on their sleeve, not hands. Put tissues and used gloves in the bin
  • Remind children not to touch their face, eyes, nose or mouth
  • We recommend no eating and drinking in the play area for safety
  • The play equipment is inspected regularly but it is not sanitised
  • Consider bringing your own hygiene products to clean touch points such as swing chains and equipment handles
  • Do not drop litter, use the bins provided for all waste
  • We need all parents and children to behave responsibly in our playgrounds to prevent the spread of the virus

COVID-19 Fishing 

Please find below the rules and guidelines. 

  • Fishing is open to season ticket holders of Clipstone Angling Club
  • All people fishing will be expected to comply with social distancing rules
  • Day tickets are available but fishermen will need to park in the top carpark and walk to the main lake.
  • Night fishing is not available
  • No fishing matches or events at the current time 
  • There are only a certain number of pegs available to fish in order to help maintain social distancing
  • Season ticket holders can request a key for the vehicle barrier from the top car park to Vicar Water Lake
  • No other public access via vehicle will be allowed via the vehicle barrier at the top car park
  • These rules and regulations will be under regular review between Newark and Sherwood District Council and Clipstone Angling Club and we will update site users when changes will be made
  • No BBQ's
  • For more information on fishing at Vicar Water please email:

Park facilities

At the centre of the park is Vicar Pond, a large fishing lake that was created by the 5th Duke of Portland in the 1870s. In the past the lake has been used for boating and swimming but today it is a thriving course fishery (day tickets available). The park is also a designated Local Nature Reserve.

The Green Flag awarded park has been transformed to heathland, woodland and grassland and offers spectacular views across to Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

Entry to Vicar Water is free of charge although there is a voluntary car park donation charge of £1 if visitors so wish to donate. 


  • Large lake and abundant wildlife‌
  • Footpaths and cycleways suitable for all abilities including the Sustrans National Route 6 and the Timberland Trail
  • Visitor centre and Rumbles Café
  • Toilets located in the visitor centre
  • Children’s play area
  • Small pond (for model boats and duck feeding)
  • Golden Hand sculpture

Recyclable packaging at Rumbles CafeVisitor Centre and Rumbles Cafe

The Rumbles team welcome you to the park cafe.

An outside and take-away service is being offered and there is some inside seating for wet days. If you wish to avoid disappointment you can book a table in advance by phone, email or Facebook.

The autumn menu includes breakfasts, lite bites and winter warmers. The scones and cakes are legendary! 

There are plenty of healthy menu choices and there is new recyclable and compostable packaging for take-aways.

5 star hygiene rating and Healthy Options Takeaway (HOT) including vegetarian options.

The cafe is a run by Rumbles Catering Project, which is a charity providing education and training for people with learning difficulties.

For further details of Rumbles menus and services or to enquire about hiring the Visitor Centre facilities please call 01623 424836 or e-mail

Wildlife, habitats and education

The park is available for use for environmental education purposes, any enquires should be directed to the Ranger who can be contacted via 07980 610 308 or email:

The pond, stream and lake at Vicar Water all provide homes and food for a variety of birds, waterfowl, aquatic nests, amphibians and dragonflies including kingfishers, herons, grebes, tufted ducks, water scorpions, frogs and newts, along with emperor dragonflies and common darters.

Vicar Water's heathland was transplanted from Budby Heath in 2000 and includes a mosaic of bell and ling heather, cross-leaved heath, along with gorse and broom. This heathland supports a wide range of birds, reptiles, butterflies and beetles.

Key species to look out for include:

  • Green woodpecker
  • Tree pipit
  • Nightjar
  • Common lizard
  • Green tiger beetle
  • Dingy skipper butterfly

Species rich grassland is another rare and important habitat. It can support a large number of rare grasses and flowers, keep an eye out for bee orchids, harebell, field scabious, and common centuary.

Vicar Water has a large amount of woodland that contains both broadleaved and coniferous trees along with scrub. These wooded areas are also full of wildlife.

Spring is a great time to see traditional woodland plants such as snow drops, bluebells, and wood anemones. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for birds including great spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls, treecreepers, jays, goldcrests, and nuthatch. Woodland thinning work has take place annually to add more diversity to the woodlands. Areas are opened up to provide space for the better trees to thrive along with allowing understory and ground layers to develop naturally.

Friends of Vicar Water Country Park

The Friends of Vicar Water volunteer group is involved in helping us to look after the park. The group meets regularly and welcomes new members. Call ranger Matt for further details on on 07779 327 471


Based in west Nottinghamshire? Want to meet new people, keep fit, help to conserve and enhance your local country park whilst having fun? Then why not join the Newark and Sherwood Western Reserves Volunteers? No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm!

Tasks will vary from scrub bashing, fencing, visitor surveys, repairing footpaths, woodland thinning and habitat surveying so there is something for everyone! You will get the chance to work at Vicar Water Country Park and Intake Wood in Clipstone and Sherwood Heath in Ollerton.

Full training and tools will be provided but please bring suitable old outdoor clothing and stout footwear. Any hours and days that you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

For more information please contact Park Ranger Matt Smith via email: or via telephone on 07779 327 471. 

‌Voluntary parking charge

The park has a voluntary pay and display scheme. If you drive to the park you can, if you wish, make a parking donation of £1 for a day, or buy a season ticket for £20.

No-one is under any obligation to make a donation but any donations will be reinvested in the park. Everyone is still welcome to use the park, regardless of whether they make a donation or not and you won't be charged or fined if you don't buy a ticket.

During the winter months the car park barrier is closed at 4pm.

New play area

Zipwire at Vicar Water Country ParkThe new play area includes a giant zipwire, climbing frames, swings and roundabouts.

We have added an accessible swing seat for ease of use by all abilities. 

Please follow the Covid-19 signage and stay safe.

Please keep the playground clean and safe and use the two litter bins provided.

Winter update from Ranger Matt

Ranger Matt and the park volunteers always do some tidying up at this time of year. It’s safe to prune back hedges from pathways as birds are no longer nesting and long grass can be strimmed in the wildlife sections once all the wild flowers have gone to seed.

An on-going winter job is thinning out the younger woodland plantations. This involves selecting some of the poorer, struggling trees and removing them. This allows other trees to grow up healthier and stronger. All the wood is left in the woodland or made into habitat piles which helps mimic the conditions in natural woodland.

Other autumn jobs include repairs to footpaths and the removal of invasive brambles and wild roses from the heath to prevent them from overpowering the special ling and bell heathers. 

You may also notice that the visitor centre and toilets have been redecorated and revamped to help with the extra Covid-19 cleaning measures that are in place.  

We have undertaken an end of year butterfly survey and we’re planning new signage to help park visitors identify and log the butterflies they see in the park next summer.

Helping hedgehogs in the autumn

Before a hedgehog goes into hibernation they need lots of food in order to store fat, this is why it’s important to carry on providing a shallow dish of food and water for hogs in your garden. You can buy hedgehog food or use meat-based cat or dog food. However not bread or milk.

Also at this time of year is very important to check bonfires. Either dismantle and rebuild the fire just before lighting or light it the same day as you build it.

Try not to be too tidy in your garden and retain twigs and leaves in a quiet corner at the back of a border. Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest. Check compost heaps for nesting hogs before forking over.

Why not buy or build a hedgehog house. This five star hedgehog accommodation was built by Emma Gilbert from Newark.

If you see a hedgehog during the day and have doubts about its wellbeing contact Tiggywinkles or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Both websites have lots of information about helping hedgehogs in trouble

Hedgehog house created by Emma Gilbert from Newark

Forest school

Available in our parks in Newark, Ollerton and Clipstone

Book places for our fun outdoor learning programme with park rangers George and Matt.

Miner 2 Major

Miner to Major is an exciting five-year land management project (2019 to 2023) supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The scheme is delivering a range of projects that celebrate and help protect the diverse wildlife, important habitats and rich heritage of Sherwood Forest.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with volunteering, have-a-go activities, restoring natural habitats, monitoring threatened species, planting hedges and trees, improving walking tails, free training and up-skilling courses, surveying historic buildings, learning traditional crafts and learning about local legends and heroes.

There are opportunities to take part in activities at locations including Rainworth Heath, Budby Forest, Sherwood Forest, Vicar Water Country Park, Intake Wood and Sherwood Heath.

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Vicar Water Country Park events 2020

Our regular events include bird walks, wildflower walks, nature walks, bat walks, school holiday activities and fun days

  • All park events currently cancelled due to Covid-19

Follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out about our events and join in the conversation!

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Vicar Water Angling Club

For fishing enquiries please call the fishing bailiff on 07595 834 209


How to Find Us

Vicar Water can be reached via public transport by using Stagecoach travel and catching the number 14, 15, or 16 bus.  A bus stop is located at the top of the entrance drive.



Sky lantern and balloon release ban

Sky lanterns and helium balloon releases are now banned in our council parks.

The decision has been made due to concerns about the environmental impact of the balloons and risk to the public and animals.

Help us to protect the park

Help us prevent fire, litter and wildlife damage.

BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are not permitted in the park.

BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are NOT permitted in the park

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