161.13 ha (398.15 acres)

Grid reference:


The Young People’s Forest at Mead is being planted on an extensive former open cast mining site near Heanor in Derbyshire. It has an incredible history with links to the National Coal Board, DH Lawrence, the renowned Miller-Mundy and Leche families, a Sheriff of Nottingham, through the Knight’s Fees of the Norman Conquest and even back to the Vikings!    

As part of the #iwill campaign to promote youth social action, we are creating a new Young People’s Forest here by planting over 250,000 trees. Children and young people will help shape the future of this amazing place, creating a forest for themselves and their community. We’ll be asking young people, in particular aged 10-20, to get involved and help us make decisions on how the site develops, and to roll up their sleeves up and help plant those trees. Once complete, it will be thriving new woodland scattered with biodiverse ponds, open spaces and species-rich grassland. Bordering Shipley Country Park, and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodside farm, these three areas provide over 500 hectares of accessible landscape for local people to enjoy.

We have received fantastic support from Pears Foundation, the Pears #iwill Fund, the Veolia Environmental Trust and Biffa Award, as well as Nationwide Building Society, local supporters and a gift left by a Trust supporter in their will. The Pears #iwill Fund is a joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Pears Foundation, supporting the goals of the #iwill campaign. This funding has enabled the project get off to a flying start. Thank you to all those supporting this wonderful project.

How to get to Mead

The Young People’s Forest at Mead is located right on the southern edge of Heanor and Smalley, close to Shipley Country Park, which itself is next to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodside Farm.

It is also close to Derby and Nottingham, with almost 1.3 million people living within 20 minutes’ drive of the wood.

Follow directions for Shipley Country Park, which is well signposted from Heanor and junction 26 of the M1.

The nearest train station is at Langley Mill, approximately 3 miles away from site.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stops are on Roper Avenue, a walk from Shipley Country Park.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

Public access to the Young People’s Forest at Mead is predominantly via Shipley Country Park, which is located off Slack Lane, Heanor, DE75 7GX. A large pay and display car park is available for visitors, along with play parks for families with children, a visitor centre, toilets and café.

To access the site from the car park at Shipley Country Park, follow the track that runs adjacent to the visitor centre on its western side (to the right of the visitor centre if your back is facing towards the car park). Access into the forest itself is via a metal bridle gate on a surfaced track with a loose stone surface – look out for the Woodland Trust signage.

Several public rights of way intersect, with the surfaced track that goes around Mead tying the site in well with other surrounding public footpaths. The 5km (3 miles) of surfaced track can be accessed by pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists.

The site is linked to Derbyshire County Council’s Shipley Country Park and Derbyshire Wildlife

Trust’s Woodside Farm, giving over 500 hectares (1,300 acres) of connected open space for you to enjoy.

Currently, the best place to park is at Shipley Country Park car park (DE75 7GX). The car park has space for 250 cars which our visitors are welcome to use. It is pay and display, costing from £1.60-£4.80 and only takes card payments.

Alternatively, you can park at Mapperley Reservoir car park (access via Mapperley village only), DE7 6BR. Please don’t park on the village roads.

The nearest toilets are at Shipley Country Park. They are fully accessible to people with disabilities and have baby changing facilities. The toilets are open from 9am to 4.30pm every day, but please check the opening times on the Shipley Country Park website before visiting.

Wildlife and habitats


Mead is already home to more than 40 bird species, including red-listed linnet, lapwing and skylark. There is also evidence of badger and water vole nearby; while fox, barn owl, grey squirrel and brown hare have been seen during site visits.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Flora on the site is quite varied, with common spotted orchid as well some ancient woodland indicator species such as bluebell, dog’s mercury and yellow archangel, on the edges of Bell Lane.

There are also a number of large, mature trees – predominantly oak – which survived the open cast mining and quarrying that once took place here.

Look out for:


The scarred landscape has been restored to farmland with paths, fencing and the occasional pond. The former mine, however, is barren and has low ecological value.

As part of the project we’re planting over 250,000 native trees and creating 63 hectares (156 acres) of florally rich meadow habitat and wetland, which will make a huge contribution to habitat diversity in the area.


History of Mead

This land is known to have belonged to the Vikings over 1,000 years ago, and has changed hands many times since.

Mead once sat within the Shipley estate, an ancient manor mentioned in the Domesday Book. The land that is now Shipley Country Park also sat within this area. Coal mining began around the 16th century and Shipley Hall was built in 1700. By 1722 coal mining had become an important activity on the estate, and when the hall was bought by the Miller-Mundy family, they started running the mines themselves.

A number of remnant features from the estate can be found locally, such as old lodge houses and access roads, including Bell Lane which runs through the site east/west, dividing the property into a northern and southern section.

Support us

Your support matters

We couldn't have secured the future of Mead without your support. Discover how you helped us bring another incredible place safely under our wing, and what the future holds for the Young People's Forest. 

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Things to do at Mead


There is loads to do at the Young People’s Forest and lots of opportunities for volunteers to make it happen. If you would like to get involved in the project then please do get in touch especially if you are between 10 and 20 years old! We want local young people to be at the heart of this project and ensuring the site and activities within it help establish a long lasting relationship and sense of ownership.

Contact us

This special place will become a giant outdoor space for children and young people with events and activities throughout the year, find out what’s coming up by contacting