Park Watch: Ropner Park, Stockton-on-tees, Summer 2010.

“In Angle Park the lights are dimmed, the statues grin. In Angle Park the fountains crack,in Angle Park” (Angle Park, Big Country 1983)


Whether or not Angle Park is about a real park or not I don’t know. Stuart Adamson is not around anymore to ask. But the images he conjures up in the song always come back to me when I visit a park. Especially if its got a fountain. This summer at The Northern Line we have spent a lot of our time in parks. Now before you get the wrong idea this is because we have 3 girls 5 or under. This means that during the school holidays they need to be occupied. And parks are the perfect place. Free to enter, wide open spaces to run around, play areas to climb in, ice cream vans, lakes, ducks, dogs and the occasional chav to avoid. So as not to completely waste our time this summer it was decided to report back on all the different parks that we have visited. It’s August, you cry. Why has it taken so long to do the first Park Watch? Well, mainly laziness but also the lack of sun has meant our park trips have not been as plentiful or fruitful as expected. Anyway, I digress. The first park to get The Northern Line treatment is, Ropner Park in Stockton. Which is, at the moment, top of our poll of best park of the summer, so far.

Shark Life!

Welcome to Ropner Park!

 If you agree let us know. If you don’t tell us why. Or better still do your own Park Watch. Get in touch and your report could be presented to the world.

Well here we go; Ropner Park, Stockton-on-Tees was opened to the public in 1893. The park was named after the wealthy shipowner and builder, Sir Robert Ropner. He was also MP for Stockton but don’t hold that against him! He donated the money to buy the land. It soon became an important open space on the edge of an expanding town for the locals to enjoy fresh air, relax, play and generally enjoy. In recent times it has fallen into disrepair but with the aid of £2.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund it has now been restored to its original Victorian splendour. And some splendour that is. It is truly a magnificent park. It has large open spaces which are well looked after and cared for. It also has sculptures, fountains, flower displays and lovely walks. At the far end is a beautiful lake with swans and ducks.


 A word of warning to parents: the lake is open and has no railings. If your children are anything like mine you have to watch they don’t fall/jump in. (Other parks have railings but this presents a different problem which you will discover in a future Park Watch!!!)

There are also bowling greens, tennis courts and an elegant bandstand. The bowling greens date back to the earliest days and the club celebrated its centenary in 1995. Visitors are welcome. (see the link below) The childrens play area is brand new and one of the best, if not the best, we have visited. Climbing frames, a pirate ship and a zip line are just a few of the attractions. All safe and well looked after. A pavillion serving refreshments is open all day.

As a family we have thoroughly enjoyed our visits to Ropner park this summer and it is fast becoming the favourite of our 3 girls. Well 2 of the 3. Rosie is 6 weeks old so probably doesn’t know or care which park we are in.

Up At The Lake

Reel around the fountain

Over the next few weeks we will be posting more from Park Watch so keep an eye out.

As we have already said we would like others to get involved. The only criteria is that the park is in the North of the British Isles. Basically anywhere above Midlands but we find it difficult to work out where The North begins and ends so we wont be too pedantic unless you send in a glowing report from some park in Brighton!!!!

So the standard has been set very high with Ropner Park. Look out for the next instalment of Park Watch.

Adventure Playground


More photos can be found of this beautiful park on our Facebook page;


Stockton Borough Council

Friends of Ropner Park

Bowling Club

Heritage Lottery Fund


By peter on August 18, 2010

Check out all the pics

2 Comments » RSS Comment Feed

  1. Pete

    Hardly Rock n Roll is it? Next week Pete talks about his favourite fuel stations followed by his top 10 pavements ;)

    Comment by Simon — August 19, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  2. Peter,
    Thank you for your interest in Ropner Park. I enjoyed your article, particularly as there is quite a lot of detail in it.
    I hope you and your family continue to enjoy our local attraction, even during the winter months.
    Being churlish, “Friends of Ropner Park” did not get a mention. If you visited the cafe, you should have found that the cooking is all done in house. My wife says that Ruth`s (our cafe manager) carrot cake is to die for. Personally I`ve fallen for the corned beef pie. We also organise the band concerts every summer Sunday, and other events throughout the year.
    Details of these can be found on our website at
    I will be happy to help if you want any further information.
    Brian Scrafton,
    Friends of Ropner Park

    Comment by Peter Martin — August 19, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

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