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The Arboretum was England's first public park


Arboretum  - Late last century the park was in a  state of neglect with many of its buildings dilapidated. Frequent vandalism and other criminal activity made many potential visitors afraid to visit the park.

Derby City Council consulted local residents and found that although people were reluctant to visit it in its run-down state, most valued the park  and were aware of its history.

Funding was obtained from the Heritage Lottery, the Council and other sources and the park restored to its former glory early in 2007. 

History - Joseph Strutt a local mill owner and the first Mayor of the Reformed Borough, wished to give the people of Derby a free "Pleasure Ground" for exercise and relaxation.

He commissioned John Claudius Loudon a renowned writer and garden designer to draw up the plans. Loudon laid the park out with mounds planted with trees and shrubs to disguise the paths and park boundaries.

This was done to give the illusion of more space. To encourage people to walk all around the 11 acre site, where no two species of tree or shrub were the same.

On Thursday 17 September 1840, Joseph Strutt handed over the deeds of the Arboretum to the town council, in Derby.

This was followed by a large procession from the town hall to the Arboretum, which marked the beginning of three days of public festivities, following the birth of England's first public park.

Park Facilities - 2007


The newly refurbished children's play area has three zones to cater for different age groups:

  • toddler zone - with a pirate ship, sand area with construction equipment, climbing equipment and swings

  • junior zone - with swings, roundabout and climbing equipment    

  • senior zone - with challenging equipment for children aged 13 and over, including a zip slide and rotary cage.


  • tennis courts

  • cricket nets

  • ball court for five-a-side, basketball and netball.

Other facilities

  • tree trail - leaflets available from Tourist Information Centre, or from the Park Office at the Arboretum.

  • sports block - with changing rooms, toilets and baby changing facilities.



For more information/update - contact the Arboretum park office.
Telephone 01332 292612.


Or contact Derby City Parks.

Telephone 01332 715507 - during office hours
Park Rangers 01332 367800 every day, including weekends, from 9am until 9.30pm.

Fax 01332 716512


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Arboretum The park's main entrances are on Reginald Street, Grove Street, Rosehill Street and Arboretum Square, off Osmaston Road.

Park Rangers are based permanently at the park and are on duty during the park’s opening hours.


The park is included in the English Register of Parks and Gardens and  attracts Visitors from all over the world.

For further information please refer to the excellent website set up by Chris Harris. Click here to go to the site.


A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

 Click below for details.

Discover Derby


The new HEART OF THE PARK building includes a Community and  Sports block.

GROVE STREET LODGE is the main historic and educational resource centre in the park.

ROSEHILL STREET LODGE is now used as a gallery.

At each entrance to the park, a "Welcome Panel" explains the park’s importance to visitors.