About Newtons Corner

Step into a world of tranquillity and charm, in a secluded spot, surrounded by stunning countryside views.

History 

Originally an open-fronted field barn; Newtons Corner appears maps dated 1881, but may be older.  The dilapidated barn was carefully converted into a house in 2019, preserving its character features.

Newtons Corner is located on the Donington Park Estate, which has a rich history.  The Park was founded in 1100s by King Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, as a Royal Deer Park.  The Deer herd remains to this day.  The Estate was purchased from Queen Elizabeth I by the Hasting Family, who at the turn of the 19th Century building Donington Hall as it stands today (the inspiration of landscape designer Humphry Repton and architect William Wilkins).

The link with your hosts, the Shields family, began when Alderman John Gillies Shields JP, came to Donington Park in 1877 as chief agent to Lord Donington (of the same Hastings family). In 1929 he acquired it and ran the Hall as a hotel, the bed and breakfast rate being five shillings and sixpence (27p).

It was the Alderman, in partnership with Fred Craner, secretary of Derby and District Motor Club, who saw the potential in running race meetings at Donington and it was in 1931 that the first race, for motorcycles, took place on the unsurfaced carriage tracks in the grounds of Donington Park. The crowds were massive, well over 30,000 attending that first meeting.

In 1933 the first car races took place and the circuit was then extended several times, culminating in the Melbourne Loop which still survives, and is visible from Newtons Corner. Between 1935 and 1938 the Donington Grand Prix was staged here, ultimately seeing the mighty works “Silver Arrows” teams of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz dominating the proceedings, the brilliant Italian, Tazio Nuvolari, driving to victory in the final pre-war event.

After eight seasons as a motor race venue, the circuit was closed. The Hall, together with the circuit, was again taken over by the War Office at the outbreak of World War Two. The Hall was used as a billet and officers’ mess; the race circuit and parkland became the largest military vehicle depot in Europe, over 50,000 vehicles being stored here.

In 1956 the Park was handed back to Major John Gillies Shields, who inherited the estate from his grandfather. The Hall had been stripped of furniture, and the estate was littered with scrap metal, abandoned vehicles and army buildings. It took seven years to clear the fields before they could be used again. The Hall was used to house refugees from the Hungarian Revolution and was then sold to British Midland Airways (later known as bmi) for their headquarters.

In the early 1970s, Tom Wheatcroft, who had watched those pre-war Grands Prix as a boy was in a position to purchase the circuit from the Major. Within a week, the acquisition was complete and Tom invested millions to upgrade the track.

Donington Park as a motor sport venue was saved! Tom opened his magnificent Grand Prix Collection in 1973 and in 1977 racing returned. The circuit became the home of the British Motorcycle Grand Prix for many years and in 1993 he realised his ambition to bring a World Championship event back to Donington, Ayrton Senna winning the European Grand Prix.

The circuit still belongs to the Wheatcroft’s but is leased to Jonathon Palmer’s Motorsport Vision.  MSV purchased Donington Hall in 2022 and is in the process of converting it into a 40-bedroom hotel.   The modern Donington Estate comprises 635 acres of Parkland, farmland and woodland and remains in the hands of the Shields family.

Sustainability
Sustainability is a priority throughout the Estate and our hospitality business has won awards for its commitment to the environment.  Newtons Corner is no exception, with solar panels integrated into the roof.  Spring to Summer the holiday let is energy self-sufficient, and solar even powers the air-source heat pump.  We do not weed-kill or strim around Newtons Corner’s fences, which may look a little scruffy, but is beneficial to the wildlife and reflects our policy minimising use of chemical throughout the Estate. 

Wildlife
We wish for our guests to immerse themselves in the rural setting of Newtons Corners, and to reconnect with nature.  On early mornings you may see wild fallow deer grazing on the surrounding fields, as well as foxes and badgers going about their business.  Pheasants reared by the nearby shoot inhabit the area, as well as a great number of wild birds, including Buzzards in abundance.