In 1848, John Eglington, a local surveyor, valued the estate at £160,000. In the 1860s, E. A. Foden first mooted the idea of turning the estate into a park and in 1871, the Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company was formed and issued a prospectus for shareholders describing the principal features.
In 1873, a lease was drawn up for the creating of a park and the flooding of more land. The Arboretum was officially opened on May 4, 1874 by Lady Hatherton. The park consisted of two lakes, two lodges, a boathouse, bandstand, several summerhouses, a tree lined promenade, space for dancing, a flagpole, croquet lawns and a cricket ground. On May 20, 1875, severe weather caused extensive damage to the lake area.
In 1965, exploration began for underground tunnels connecting the Littleton Street mine workings, however none were found. In 1967, proposals for a new roundabout and flyover scheme that would have demolished the Clock Tower and lodge were rejected due to public pressure. In 1972, a proposal by Featherstone-Dilke to construct housing on the northern edge of the park was rejected following a public enquiry. On April 19, 1989, 31.32ha of land consisting of the original Arboretum and surrounding housing was designated a conservation area.
In 1995, a Charter Mark was awarded to the Arboretum for excellence and diversity in the services it offered. It was re-awarded in 1999 and in the same year, a rare species of white-clawed crayfish was discovered in Hatherton Lake