Witton Park history

Witton Country Park is 480 acres of mixed woodland, parkland and farmland, and is to the west of Blackburn.

The estate was once owned by the Feilden family, who built and lived in Witton House (1800-1946) and created the park at the same time.

From approximately 1900, the house was empty for long periods and during both world wars the house and estate were used by the army. At the same time, dry rot was attacking the property.

Sadly Witton House was demolished in 1952, after being sold to Blackburn Corporation in 1946. The Witton Estate, including around 485 acres, was included in this sale. The price of £64,000 seems ridiculous by today's standards but was a fortune just after the war.

The corporation raised £30,000 with the remainder being generously donated by the local business man, Mr R E Hart. The estate was acquired in perpetuity for the local people, with the provision that no property development could take place in the future.

Mr Hart's legacy was one of many to the town, and his collection of art treasures (particularly illuminated manuscripts) can now be seen at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

In 1973 the estate was designated a Country Park, with grant aid from the Countryside Commission.

Fortunately, the outbuildings of Witton House survived and these former stables and coach-houses were renovated in the late 1970s. They were officially opened in 1980 as the visitor centre for the country park, and remained as a visitor centre until 2013.