The site is dominated by a 30 hectare (74 acres) lake, surrounded by grassland, woodland and wetland.
In 1974 this originally farmed landscape was dramatically changed when it became one of the deepest opencast mines in Europe, reaching a depth of 250 feet. The mine closed in 1982 and restoration works began with the creation of the lake taking two years. Huge sheets of polythene (10cm thick) were welded together and sandwiched between layers of clay and mudstone. Finally, 275 million gallons of water were pumped from the disused Walton Colliery. The works were completed in 1984.
Since the opening of the park in 1986, it has become one of the most important inland bird sites in Yorkshire, the lake being a haven for migratory birds, particularly wintering wildfowl.
Wintersett reservoir has been popular with fishermen for well over a century. When the local public house was built in the 1850s it was named “Anglers Retreat”. The opencast workings adopted the “Anglers” name in the 1970s and this stuck when the Country Park was created.
Anglers Park has been designated a Local Nature Reserve by Wakefield Council, which means it is a place with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally. LNRs offer people opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it. They range from windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows to former inner city railways, long abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife. They are an impressive natural resource which makes an important contribution to England’s biodiversity.
The Friends acknowledge the support given by council staff at the Discovery Centre.