Salisbury Woodland is bordered by East Park Drive and Woodside Drive and links Blackpool Zoo with Stanley Park
In this Google map below, the big green area on the left is Stanley Park, the road running through the centre from top to bottom is East Park Drive, and the entrance to Salisbury Woodlands is marked to the centre right of it. Click on the image to go to the Google map.
Salisbury Woodlands Today
Blackpool Council’s Ranger Service manage and protect the gardens. They took them over in September 2006 and have been funding and undertaking the restoration of the woodland. They have been helped by Volunteer Rangers, Millennium Volunteers and MBW Training.
The woodland has significant local and regional ecological value and was designated a County Biological Heritage Site in 1993 for its epiphytic flora, which includes lichens, fungi and moss species.
Many native and exotic trees and shrubs can be found here. You can find the species of many countries within a few acres of land.
The gardens are designed into the landscape. It’s somewhere in the centre of Blackpool where you can find nature at its best. Walk the winding paths and listen to birdsong and see insects.
A wide range of wildlife lives in Salisbury Woodlands. Look carefully and you might be lucky enough to see Kingfishers darting along the stream. There are Tree Creepers, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Blackcaps.
The woodland supports colonies of Pipistrelle bats that feed on insects at night. In the daytime you’ll see butterflies such as Orange tip, Speckled Wood and Peacock as well as dragonflies who lay eggs in the ponds at the nearby golf course.
The Friends of Stanley Park and Salisbury Woodlands contribute towards looking after this public green space, through fundraising and practical support.
War Time History around Salisbury Woodlands
The area surrounding the gardens has a fascinating history – many thanks to the Friends of Stanley Park for providing this information.
Blackpool Municipal Airport was built in 1931 on the land now occupied by Blackpool Zoo.
At the time you could get a return flight from there to the Isle of Man for jusr £1.80. When other companies started flying from Squires Gate Airport in 1936 it closed.
In 1939 it became the Stanley Park Aerodrome. After World War II broke out on 3 September 1939 it was requisitioned as an RAF parachute-training centre.
Initially it was the air traffic control building and one hangar, now known as Hangar E. Four more large hangars were later added where Wellington Bombers were assembled and flown off site.
This airfield was a very important part of the war effort. Aircraft flew from there to the Atlantic to search for submarines, and a night fighter squadrom was also stationed there.
The famous aviator Amy Johnson flew from Blackpool Airport to deliver aircraft to an airfield near London, but tragically ran into difficulties and disappeared near the Thames estuary.
You can still find clues of the areas history today. Look for the garden’s wartime Pillbox to the east of the site.
Learn more about the Salisbury Woodlands Pillbox
See the old aircraft hangers at Blackpool Zoo facing the car park, which became the large animals and elephant house.
History of Salisbury Woodlands
Known as the ‘Woodland Gardens’ to local people, the site of Salisbury Woodlands was acquired in 1924 by Blackpool Corporation and was originally developed as a shelter belt for the neighbouring Stanley Park Golf Course.
The gardens were later developed in the 1940s as an arboretum and public open space for all to enjoy, and was once a popular location for wedding photographs.
In 1967, Parks Director Norman Leach appointed gardener Pete Perry and his Flying Squad of gardeners to plant up the gardens.
All the plants, (primulas, meconopsis, etc) were grown from seed in the greenhouses at Stanley Park, and extra shrubs, including azalea were also planted.
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Salisbury Woodlands Pillbox