Vicar Water Country Park

Vicar Water country park (NG21 9AA) is just to the south of Clipstone village. It has been created on the site of a former colliery, transforming this former industrial site into a heathland, woodland and grassland, offering spectacular views across to Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

At the centre of the park is Vicar Pond, a large fishing lake created by the fifth Duke of Portland in the 1870s. In the past the lake has been used for boating and swimming. Today it’s returned to its original use and offers a thriving coarse fishery. For more information on fishing at Vicar Water, email vicarwaterangling@gmail.com or call 07595 834 209.

The park has been awarded Green Flag status in recognition of its excellent range of facilities, maintenance standards and opportunities for community involvement. The park is also a designated Local Nature Reserve.

During the autumn months the main vehicle gate to the park closes at 6pm.

Park facilities

  • large fishing lake and abundant wildlife‌
  • footpaths and cycleways suitable for all abilities including the Sustrans National Route 6 and the Timberland Trail
  • visitor centre with toilets
  • Rumbles Café
  • children’s play area
  • small pond (for model boats and duck feeding)
  • Golden Hand sculpture

Play area

The play area includes a giant zipwire, climbing frames, swings and roundabouts. We’ve added an accessible swing seat for ease of use by all abilities. 

Tree Plantings at Vicar Water Country Park

In association with our partners we have planted 4.4 hectares of native woodland on previously grazed land at Vicar Water Country Park. This area of the park is called Vicardale.

The tree planting forms part of the Defra funded Trees for Climate project and is being delivered in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and the Sherwood Forest Trust.

This map of Vicardale shows how the new tree planting will help to join up two existing woodland areas to create a wildlife corridor. 

Vicardale plan showing new tree planting joining up two existing woodlands to create a wildlife corridor

Our greening agenda recognises the urgent need to plant more trees to help with climate emergency and biodiversity loss.

We have planted 4000 new trees to create a mixed broadleaved woodland providing benefits for people, wildlife and the landscape. As part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, the new wood has been called ‘Platinum Jubilee Woods’ in tribute to Her Majesty.

Rumbles cafe

Rumbles cafe is run by Rumbles Catering Project, a charity providing education and training for people with learning difficulties. It has a five-star hygiene rating and Healthy Options Takeaway (HOT), including vegetarian options.

Outside seating and a take-away service is offered 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Menu deals include:

  • Tea and cake £3.50
  • Coffee and cake £4
  • Meal deal - fresh roll, crisps and cold drink £4.50
  • Tea and cream and jam scone £4.50
  • Soup of the day and a roll £2.50
  • Specials board for home-cooked meals

For further details on Rumbles menus and services or to enquire about hiring the Visitor Centre facilities, call 01623 424836 or e-mail rumblescateringproject@yahoo.co.uk.

Park events

  • The Big Draw, Thursday 20 October, 11am to 3pm. Free relaxed drawing and painting event. All welcome.

Follow the Vicar Water Country Park Facebook page for more information about our events and to join in the conversation.

Wildlife, habitats and education

The pond, stream and lake at Vicar Water all provide homes and food for a variety of wildlife. You’ll find birds including kingfishers, herons, grebes and tufted ducks as well as water scorpions, frogs and newts, emperor dragonflies, common darters and more.

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 here 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 containing both broadleaved and coniferous trees along with scrub. These wooded areas are also full of wildlife.

Reporting problems

In the past few months, incidents of fire-setting, vandalism and anti-social behaviour have occurred on the park.

As you are enjoying the park you may come across anti-social behaviour or incidents that require an immediate response. Please follow this guidance on who to contact in relation to problems on the park.

In order for us to effectively protect the park and provide the best possible visitor experience, we rely upon your support. Making the right call assists the police, fire service and council to tackle problems, bring those responsible to account and, in some cases, keep people safe.

Fire Setting

Vicar Water is subject to a Public Space Protection Order that prohibits park users from using a BBQ, fireworks or smoking (unless in a designated area), etc. A copy of the Order is displayed on the park.

If you see or suspect anyone of creating a fire hazard, please dial the police on 101.

In the event of seeing a fire unattended, please call the fire service immediately on 999 with the location so they can take action. Embers can smoulder and ignite many hours after the fire has been allowed to die down. Please do not try and control the fire yourself.

Anti-Social Behaviour

If you witness anti-social behaviour taking place on the park please report to the police on 101.

If you come across any damage or evidence that ASB has taken place, please report to the Park Ranger on 07971 486301 (during normal work hours) or to the council’s environmental services team on 01636 650000.

Wildlife Crime

If you suspect any wildlife crime please report all wildlife crime to the police on 101.

Uncontrolled Dogs

If a dog bites or attacks a person please report to the police on 101

If a dog appears to be stray or causing nuisance to other dogs please report to the district council on 01636 650000.

Off Road Bike or Vehicles

If you witness off road bikes or vehicle nuisance please report to the police on 101

Please note the park’s social media accounts are monitored regularly during normal office hours only. Thank you for your support.

Environmental education

The park is available for use for environmental education purposes. 

Any enquires should be directed to Park Ranger Alex Gunnell via email alex.gunnell@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

Conservation volunteering

Live in the Sherwood area? Want to meet new people, keep fit, help to conserve and enhance your local country park whilst having fun? Then why not join the Sherwood Heath 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 also get the chance to work at Vicar Water Country Park and Intake Wood in Clipstone.

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 Alex Gunnell via email alex.gunnell@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

Friends of Vicar Water

The Friends of Vicar Water is an informal group involved with nature walks and talks and volunteer tasks on the park. Group members help out when they can at Vicar Water and Intake Wood and we welcome new members. To be added to our email list please contact Park Ranger Alex Gunnell via email alex.gunnell@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

Forest school

Our park rangers offer a forest school featuring a fun outdoor learning programme for children aged five to ten. It’s available in our parks in Newark, Ollerton and Clipstone.

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.

Find out more about how to get involved on the Miner to Major website.

Voluntary parking charge

The parks have a voluntary pay and display scheme. If you drive to the park you can make a parking donation of £1 for a day, or buy a season ticket for £20. Donations will be reinvested in the parks, but charges are not compulsory and you won't be charged or fined if you do not buy a ticket.

Park rules

Help us prevent fire, litter and wildlife damage. BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are not permitted in the park.

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

Dog owners must ensure that their dogs are safe at all times and not creating a nuisance or danger for anyone else.

Dogs must not harm or worry the park’s wildlife.

It is the law for dogs in public spaces to:-

  • be microchipped
  • wear a collar
  • wear an identity tag

It is an offence to not pick up dog mess in the district with penalties of up to £1000. Dog mess is a health hazard.

Our park rangers and council public protection officers can request that dogs are put on their lead if they feel a dog is not under control or causing a problem.

Public Space Protection Order for Vicar Water Country Park

Public Space Protection Orders are designed to promote responsible behaviour and restrict behaviour that is anti-social, in parks and other public open spaces.

A Public Space Protection Order for Vicar Water Country Park has been implemented in relation to combating fire-related nuisance on the Park. The terms are:

”A person or persons are prohibited from the following activities being: the lighting of fires; barbecues; Chinese lanterns, fireworks; or using any article/object which causes a naked flame and which poses a risk of fire”

Notices are in place around the park.