I’d seen the large sign on the unclassified road opposite Tynwald Hill in st John’s and went to investigate…
Cooil y Ree translates as ‘Nook of the King’ and was opened in 2001. According to one of the websites I found it is a “parkland area which was developed with the history of the Isle of Man in mind, from its culture through to its future. The walk through the park includes art, features and plantings all linked to the island’s changing culture.”
Apparently “The park will be further developed with the placement of art, features and plantings to represent the changing culture over time”, but I think they have forgotten about this…
The small viewing area by the sign is supposed to represent the first Millennium because if you turn round, you can see Tynwald and St John’s Church. Actually most people may not do this and assume the viewpoint is looking down at the vegetation in an overgrown glen.
A wheelchair friendly path drops down to the bottom of the glen where there is a large open area with grass and what is referred to as the ‘Avenue of Time’ (a long tree lined avenue). This is supposed to form an extension to the line of poles linking Tynwald and St John’s Church.
The vegetation on either side of this is supposed to represent the thickets which were gradually cleared during the Celtic and Viking era. They have now reverted to natural scrubland…
At the end of the Avenue of time is Millennium Point and the Circle of Infinity. I’m not sure what this is and didn’t manage to find it, although I must admit I didn’t try very hard.
There is a large ‘story chair’ massive viking sword and carved wooden plank near the bottom of the steps from the A1, apart from that, the only other ‘Art bit’ seems to be the splendid Wallaby which is part of the ‘Wallabies gone Wild Trail’ designed to raise awareness and funds for the Isle of Man hospice.
I passed a Walking for Health group as I dropped down the ramped trail who were very amused when I asked how long the walk would take as there was no information on the display board. I was told 5 minutes. They weren’t far out either!
Forget about the culture bit and just enjoy this as a very short walk. It is popular with local families with young children who come to find the wallaby and scamper among the trees.
Access is either by the ramped access opposite Tynwald or from steps by the bus stop opposite the inn. The western entrance is a couple of hundred yards down the A1. There is on road parking near by. The nearest post code is IM4 3NA and the grid reference is SC 277 819.