Lying two miles to the south of the centre of Leicester this beautiful 78 acre park offers colourful shrub borders, water garden, heather woodlands, two well-equipped play areas and a rock garden. It has become one of the city’s most popular amenities.
Knighton village appears in the Domesday Book under its Scandinavian name of Cnihetone.
In the 1720’s, Edmund Cradock, a woollen draper of Leicester bought Knighton Hall and its associated farmland. In the years that followed, the family acquired almost all the land in the parish. Knighton Hall is now the official residence of the Vice Chancellor of Leicester University and the name of the Cradock’s is preserved in the partially thatched Cradock pub.
The City Council bought land from the Cradock-Hartopp trustees just before the Second World War with the intention of establishing a park but work was not begun until 1953.
The Wash (or Saffron) brook flows through the park and is bordered by trees and herbs in the northern area. Many formerly common birds such as the song thrush are becoming scarce in the countryside and large mature parks are important refuges for them.
Squire Cradock-Hartopp planted oak trees to form the enclosed Spinney in 1840 to help provide oak wood for future shipbuilding. To make the oaks grow tall and straight, ash were planted in between them. Later Cradocks decided to keep the woodland as a fox covert and in 1932 a covenant was published declaring that the spinney should be a nature reserve for all time. The spinney is fenced off from the rest of the park and is open to the public for guided walks by arrangement with ENVIRON.
The Heath Garden near the Woodbank Road entrance has rockeries and ponds and is designed for the visitor to be surprised by beds planted with heathers, annual and water plants. It attracts a large number of frogs and other water creatures.
There are various avenues in the park, including the laburnum avenue close to the Spinney and the gingko (maidenhair) avenue in the Heath Garden. A charming path bordered by magnolias runs across the middle of the park.
In addition to the Spinney there are blocks of newly planted woodland consisting of a lime wood, a beech wood and a willow wood.
An attractive and much-valued feature of this park is that it has a circular path, enabling visitors to see all these features without getting too muddy. Many of the paths are edged with beds planted up with spring and summer bedding flowers.
Parks Sporting Facilities
Knighton Park offers a 9 hole pitch and putt course. All equipment can be hired from the Sport On Parks member of staff and opening hours are every day during the school summer holidays, weather permitting.
Other facilities include:
2 5-a-aside football pitches
2 Football pitches
2 Hard surface tennis courts
1 rounders pitch
Kingsmead Road off the main Welford Road
Map of the Area
Leicester City Council Parks
Leicester City Museums
Leicester Through Lens