The Country Park is located in a section of Billingham Beck Valley that has traditionally been referred to as ‘Billingham Bottoms’. For hundreds of years several areas of the valley have been used for hay making and seasonal grazing, agricultural practices which still continue today. Many of the fields have very old names which feature on tithe maps of the valley dating as far back as 1673.
A water mill powered by the beck existed in the valley up until 1918. Part of the building survived until 1980, but was subsequently demolished to make way for the new. A19. The mill owner was responsible for managing fields including Mill Bottom, Mill Meadow, and Mill Batts, (the latter an old name for an area of land between two watercourses). The Glebe also refers to the landowner, as it is an old English name for church-owned land.
Other field names here refer to the fact that the valley floods very regularly. These include Flutter Carr (flooded wet land) and Rushy Carr, which is where part of the Ecology Park is now located. The Willowgarth is an old enclosure surrounded by willow trees and Willow Crook refers to the large bend in the beck. The name Frognell probably indicates that there were always a lot of frogs!
Billingham Beck Valley Country Park is managed by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for the public enjoyment of the countryside, for environmental education and in the interests of nature conservation.
Notes: This country park is practically on our doorstep, and we love visiting with our children and friends. After having had a good look at the map we’ve realised there’s still so much to explore. The photo of an information board was taken with the ‘Google PhotoScan’ app and the text extracted with the ‘Google Photos’ app.