Black Park is a country park in Wexham, Buckinghamshire, England to the north of the A412 road between Slough and Iver Heath. It is managed by Buckinghamshire County Council. It has an area of 250 hectares (618 acres), of which a small area of 15.3 hectares has been designated a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). and a larger area of 66 hectares is a Local Nature Reserve.
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Black Park SSSI has heath, alder carr – both rare in the county – mixed and coniferous woodland and some areas of acid grassland. It has a varied fauna, and insects include the nationally rare Roesel's bush cricket. There are eighteen species of butterfly, birds including hobbies and nightjars, and snakes and lizards.
Black Park is adjacent to Pinewood Film Studios and has been used as an outdoor location for many film and television productions. The woods and lake featured prominently in the Hammer Horror films from the late 1950s to the 1970s, including The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) and Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966). In these films the location was often used to represent Transylvania. The park has also been used in film productions such as the James Bond film Goldfinger, where it was used for a night car chase scene (actually set in Switzerland and featuring Bond's Aston Martin DB5), and the 2006 version of Casino Royale, plus several Carry On films, Fahrenheit 451, Wombling Free, Batman, Hawk the Slayer, Sleepy Hollow, Bugsy Malone, the Harry Potter film series, Captain America: The First Avenger, Robin Hood, 47 Ronin,Eden Lake, and the Monty Python film And Now for Something Completely Different.
In television, Black Park, together with its lake, was used extensively in location filming for the planet Alzarius in the 1980 Doctor Who serial Full Circle, and was employed again two years later in the recording of the Restoration-era set serial The Visitation. Dressed with fake cobwebs, it was also used for the filming of the early Blake's 7 episode The Web.
Recreation and sports
Black Park is popular with walkers and dog owners due to the wide open spaces and well-maintained routes. During summer 2010 a 'Go-Ape' activity centre was established in the park with the construction of climbing rigging and zip lines between the trees. The area is properly supervised by park staff during opening hours. The Go Ape team now offers cycle hire.
Runners are commonplace within the park and the increase in private persons using the park for exercise/training has led to the establishment of a Parkrun event on Saturday mornings. The professionally organised events are free to enter and form part of a network of nationwide parkruns.
Mountain biking is popular in the park as the combination of dense woodland, open plains, technical sections and narrow but quick draining trails make for exciting riding. Beyond Black Park XC10 is an annual event organised in conjunction with Black Park staff by West Drayton Mountain Bike Club and Beyond Mountain Bikes of Surrey. The event attracts riders of all ages and skill levels.
The lake is open for fishing during the normal rod licence season, though pre-baiting, keep nets and night fishing are all forbidden.
Black Park at war
During both World War One and Two the Park saw service for the Empire with troops from the Canadian Forestry Regiment helping to farm the Park and harvest the wood, for use in the trenches of France or building air strips in France for the Royal Flying Corps. To this day the lines of trees they planted can still be clearly seen.
Sadly one of the Forestry Regiment never went home after being killed in a road traffic accident on the nearby Crooked Billet Roundabout. He is buried in the nearby St Margaret's Church, Iver Heath. Since 2007 the local Scout Group, 1st Iver Heath have laid poppies on his grave, as part of the Centenary of Scouting and an event called 'Uniform Day 007' that featured a representative of the Canadian Army who helped the Scouts' routine of laying a wreath for this young soldier many miles from home.
On the fields between the park and Iver Heath near Pinewood Studios, a World War One fighter crashed on its way to France after stopping off in Iver Heath. In World War Two a V2 rocket fell very close by the site of the fighter's location.
The Park was also used to store military supplies hidden amongst the trees from enemy surveillance, as was nearby Langley Park.
- Country Parks - Buckinghamshire County Council
- "Meeting of Overview & Scrutiny Committee for Community and Environmental Services: Agenda Item, Country Parks". Buckinghamshire County Council. 21 November 2007.
- "Black Park citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- "Map of Black Park". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- "Black Park". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England.
- "Map of Black Park". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England.
- Wayne Kinsey (2002) Hammer Films: The Bray Studio Years. London: Reynolds and Hearn ISBN 1-903111-44-7
- http://www.parkrun.org.uk/blackpark/ Park Run Black Park events
- "Black Park Gravel Member". The BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units — Result Details. British Geological Survey. Retrieved 10 April 2016.