Manchester’s industrial past has left little room for green spaces within the centre of the thriving hub. But “the city of Manchester has 138 parks, 31 of which have been awarded green flag status and a walking route has now been identified that links these green spaces. The Green Corridor is made up of 14 routes with each route averaging 4 miles”*. Little pockets pop up in between the cracks of forgotten spaces but to enjoy the true victorian ideal of manicured gardens, boating lakes and beautiful wooded areas, you must venture a little further to appreciate what Manchester has to offer.
Fletcher Moss botanical gardens in Didsbury is perhaps the most lush example. Tennants of the Old Parsanage, Moss and family, maintained its lawn and eventually gifted it to Manchester City Council in 1915 on condition that he could live their until his death. Much of the layout was planned by Fletcher and his mother although some editions have been added by previous gardeners employed by the council. This garden is very much alive and maintained to a beautiful standard, only a 20 minute bus ride from the centre towards Didsbury village.
Just behind the gardens is a wooded area with signs pointing towards Manchester’s health walks programme set up by the council to promote movement and connection with urban spaces. I honestly have no idea what route we took but stumbled upon but it’s very easy to direct yourself back to the gardens. Be sure to walk along the wooden path above flood plains which is a beautiful Secret Garden-esque delight.
If you’re near the Curry Mile on Wilmslow Rd, make sure you visit Platt Fields park, a once flourishing Victorian hub, it’s now slightly run down but Friends of Platt Fields are slowly restoring the park to it’s glory days, reflecting the restoration work of its much more grand brother, Heaton Park. The boating lake, now filled with poison algae, prevents any boating activity in the park which is a real shame, but events such as Holi, and the travelling fair brings the masses to Rusholme. If only to watch the Canadian Geese and Heron’s live peacefully within it, it is a beautiful place to come on a sunny day.
And of course Heaton Park, new home to Parklife (sadly) but a much loved green space only 30 minutes from the centre. Complete with farm, working boating lake and a few cafes, this once privately owned land is a beautiful space to come to soak in Manchester history at its finest. Be sure to find the old facade of the Town Centre that was rescued from scrapping and bought to the park to be resurrected next to the lake.