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Opencasting of the 300ha site began in 1976, and removed a total of 1.7 million tonnes of high quality coal, the last being taken off site in 1981. Throughout this period public consultation on the final shape of the park continued with a Development Options report being published in 1977. Following extensive public consultations a Development Proposal was published in 1978 which shaped the final form of the park. Following the ending of coal extraction restoration work began in earnest, areas for the lakes lined with a metre thickness of compacted mud stone and filled with clean water pumped in from the Moss Brook 2.5 km away. In total 480 000 trees and shrubs were planted on site and Bedgreave Mill together with its associated farm buildings, was restored to form a centrepiece to the park. On 27 May 1983 Rother Valley Country Park was officially opened by Mr Derek Barber, chairman of the Countryside Commission. The finance for the project had amounted to £4 million, the Countryside Commission providing £1 million of grant aid, the Sports Council £ 50 000 with the rest being contributed by the councils of the Joint Committee. In the years following the opening of the park visitors have continued to visit in large numbers, now averaging 750 000 people per year. As the site has matured it has become more valuable for wildlife and conservation and further recreation facilities continue to be added.