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24 September 2014

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You are in: Manchester > Places > Manchester places > Park life: Blackleach Country Park

Park life: Blackleach Country Park

In ten years, Blackleach Country Park in Walkden has been transformed from an industrial site with chemical works into a green oasis and reservoir. Phil Hagerty of the Friends of Blackleach celebrates the nurture of nature:

Friends of Blackleach Country Park, in Walkden

Friends of Blackleach Country Park

"I remember a derelict site, badly polluted from its former industrial use, with a reservoir rumoured to offer illicit bathers more chance of poisoning than drowning.

"It was crossed by a disused railway line and towered over by a chemical waste heap known as 'Stink Bomb Hill'. Whose favourite place would that be?

Oxeye daisies in Blackleach Country Park

Oxeye daisies in Blackleach

"Come back a few years later. Trees and bushes have replaced derelict buildings. Grass and flowers cover what was a toxic waster heap. The rubbish filled reservoir is now a lake with plenty of fish and water birds.

"The woods provide a safe haven for lots of bats. Swifts and swallows fly over the water in summer whilst tufted ducks and black-headed gulls are winter visitors, as well as the year round presence of swans, coots and Canada geese.

Oxeye daisies

We enjoy a good hillside display of oxeye daisies while orchids brighten up the nature reserve area. I can enjoy all this beauty close at hand or climb to the highest point in Salford and look out to Holcombe Hill, Holme Moss, the Derbyshire Hills or the Lions Head at Helsby.

Blackleach Country Park (c) Roger May

Blackleach Country Park (c) Roger May

"I can stride along a network of footpaths, some made from the old railway lines or I can relax in a quiet shady corner.

"If I was still a child I could use my agility on the adventure playground but now it is more appropriate to share with the Health Walkers in an hours brisk walk followed by half an hour of coffee and chat back at the visitor centre.

Other friends produce watercolours with the Art Club or make and sail vessels on the reservoir with the Model Boat Club.

"There are lots of things to do. Or I can just sit on a bench and enjoy the peace and beauty where once was ugliness."

last updated: 15/05/2008 at 18:16
created: 08/05/2008

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