Carlisle City Council has many hectares of parks and open spaces

Sailing, fishing and canoeing are some of the varied activities at Talkin Tarn Countryside Park

Sailing, fishing and canoeing are some of the varied activities available at Talkin Tarn

Carlisle has maginificant green spaces to enjoy

Our open spaces are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike


We have many miles of cycling and walking trails

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Pettril Valley Park

Pettril Valley Park

Petteril Valley Park, situated on the southern edge of Carlisle City

17 May 2016/Categories: Trails and Nature, Parks

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In Petteril Valley Park you will find:

  • Open parkland with great views over the Petteril Valley.
  • Two children's play areas.
  • An enclosed ball court with an all weather surface.
  • Petteril Valley Cycle Way.
  • Riverside Footpaths.
  • Hay meadows.
  • Wildlife.

Park opening times

Petteril Valley Park is open all day, every day, all year round.

Petteril Valley Natural History

The River Petteril rises near Greystoke at the north eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. From there it heads north on its descent to the Carlisle and Solway Plain.

Throughout most of its twenty five mile journey it runs between the M6 Motorway and the A6 from just north of Penrith, crossing under the M6 near Wreay.

From there it meanders into the City between Harraby and Upperby and on into Melbourne Park. The Petteril runs under the Warwick Road and through the Stoneyholme Golf Course where it meets the River Eden.

The Petteril flows through what was once the great Forest of Inglewood, the eleventh century King William Rufus' hunting ground. Inglewood sprawled from Carlisle to near Caldbeck in the south west, then eastwards to just north of Penrith, and further eastwards onto the River Eden, then northwards back to Carlisle in a giant triangle. Timber from the Forest of Inglewood was repeatedly used to rebuild the City after the border raids and incursions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

In 1400, The Bishop of Carlisle instructed the waters of the Petteril to be diverted down the newly dug Thacka Beck into Penrith to ensure that the towns people had a supply of freshwater. 

Over a hundred years ago, the Petteril was the source of power for a number of mills in both in Carlisle and on the outskirts. As the River snaked its way past what was then Carlton village, it powered the Carlton Corn Mill. The old mill buildings, the sluices and the mill race are all still there next to the A6, just south of the City.

Further north, on a river terrace below Low Woodbank Farm, between Upperby and Carlton, there once stood the Woodbank Iron Works, again drawing its power from the nearby River Petteril, the area is now farmed.

Continuing northward, near Gifford Park, another weir served to divert the Petteril down a mill race to the skinnery which once stood where Harraby Green Business Park is now. The line of the old mill race is now the access road to Harraby Green Business Park.

The Petteril runs underneath the A6 London Road at Harraby Bridge and under the railway into Melbourne Park where once stood the Raven Nook Woolen Mill (off Jesmond Street, Greystone Road) and Botcherby Mill. The river continues north under the Warwick Road and into the Eden near the suspension bridge which links Rickerby Park to St Aidans Road.

Petteril Valley Park provides a snapshot of the river's journey, and a quiet and peaceful  haven amidst the wildlife on the outskirts of our Great Border City. 

The Petteril Valley can be accessed from either Upperby Bridge off Petteril Bank Road, or through Dale End Park off Welsh Road or London Road.  There are pedestrian entrances off Dale End Road, Woodsghyll Drive and Clifford Crescent.

Petteril Valley Park Wildlife

The naturally meandering river and its floodplain are brimming with a wide variety of wildlife species.

Brook Lamprey

The river is home to Brook Lamprey, a primitive eel like fish which spends much of its life with its body buried in the silty bed of the slower moving parts of the river. With just its head protruding, the Brook Lamprey feeds on organic detritus floating in the water column.

The sexually mature adults emerge from the silt and congregate over the gravelly parts of the river bed in large numbers. Using their sucker like mouths, they build 'nests' by moving stones to create a shallow hole in the gravel river bed. The eggs are laid in the 'nest' and fertilised simultaneously by the wriggling mass of silver bodies, the fertilised eggs are then covered with a layer of gravel.

Mating normally takes place around late May and early June, this is the time to see writhing masses of silver eel-like Brook Lamprey on the gravel beds of river.

River Wildlife

The river is also home to many other aquatic species, including Bullheads, Atlantic Salmon, Brown Trout, and plants like the Stream Watercrowfoot.

The river corridor provides habitat and feeding opportunities for many bird species, like the brightly coloured Kingfisher. There is no mistaking this bird with its electric blue back, orange breast and long beak, darting up and down the river. Although you are more likely to hear the call of the Kingfisher, a series of quickly repeated short, shrill notes.

Hiding amongst the reeds at the river margin, standing stock still, is the Grey Heron anticipating the next meal of trout or some other fish. Be on the lookout too for Otter, or rather signs of an otter. Like five toed footprints in the sand and mud, or 'slides' where the animal has entered the water. Otters mark their territories with dung or 'spraint', left in prominent locations; on the foot of bridge piers, or on a rock in the river.

Hay Meadows

Flanking the river are herb rich meadows with Ox Eye Daisies, Wood Cranesbill, Cornflower, Yellow Rattle, and Common Spotted Orchid to name but a few.

The herb rich grasslands provide habitat and feeding opportunities for Linnets, Reed Buntings, Gold Finches, and Greater Spotted Woodpecker, as well as many others


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