Liverpool Parks
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A view of Dove Park, the mansion house of Reynolds Park, 1949

A view of Dove Park, the mansion house of Reynolds Park, 1949

Historical background
The Park as we know it today, with the addition of Dove Park in 1907, has developed over the past years and now stands within the boundaries of the 1929 bequest. Unusually for its period the 14-acre park has not been eroded by land sales and provides a key asset to the immediate local community.

The original parkland was of fairly modest proportions until that date having been sub-divided in accordance with the requirements of the Enclosures Act 1805, to provide common grazing lands.

Several mansions have stood on the site adjacent to Church Road over the past 200 years. In many cases they were owned by great 'Victorians' who contributed in a variety of ways to the development of the City of Liverpool and its heritage, which enhanced its reputation as being 'the Second City of the Empire'.

The park takes its name as the legacy of the Reynolds family. James Reynolds was a wealthy cotton broker, owning not only Reynolds Park but also a Welsh castle and Levens Hall, Cumbria.

James Reynolds, although beyond military age, served in France during the Great War and was awarded the DSO. He was knighted in 1920 and was bestowed with a Baronetsy. During the 1920s he was elected as MP for Liverpool Exchange and died in 1932, being buried in St Mary's Churchyard, Woolton.

Leila Reynolds continued to live at the park and together with Prof. Sir Charles Reilly (Head of the School of Architecture at Liverpool University 1904-33) designed the Yew Garden and the outdoor dining area, in a fashionable 'European Modernism' style. This unique topiary feature was laid out in the late 1920s and was a renowned centre for the gatherings of the academia of Liverpool University and the literary/arts set of the time, echoing the 'modernism movement' and the attendant life style.

The park today
Informal woodland areas and Rhododendron-lined footpaths open out onto swathes of lawn, that in the early years of the 20th century hosted grand tennis tournaments for local residents, but now have become enticing havens for picnics and family entertainment.

The main feature of the park is a walled garden, which probably serviced the mansion house with kitchen produce. The garden was constructed with the ha-ha by 1840 remains partially intact and forms an interesting feature of the classic country mansion. The garden is known as being a prestigious area for summer bedding plants, herbaceous borders and in particular is noted for its dahlia displays.
Recent innovations have included the development of the Poet Tree trail, a self guided walk between labelled specimen trees and the creation of a Dove sculpture fashioned from a beech habitat stick, by the local artist John Merrill, supported by The Windows Project.