This place doesn’t sound very inviting does it? Apparently, a “boggart” is a mischievous spirit and there are plenty of (tall) tales about the how this clough got its name. I ran cross country here last winter, but until yesterday I hadn’t been for a proper look around.
The best place to arrive is the Charlestown Road entrance – buses pull in here and there’s a carpark. Toilets, the park ranger base, running track and playground are all sited here. This playground is fairly new and pleasantly laid out – it has a separate sand pit with a mechanical digger in, if you can manage to get a go in it! It was a bit big for CJ to operate, which meant that I just HAD to help her. So I can confirm – it’s fun! There are some tree trunks laid out next to sand pit that can be climbed over or walked along – a nice touch. I also liked the collection of toadstool seats, adding to the woodland vibe.
The playground itself has witches and ghosts painted on the flooring, no doubt as a reminder of the spooky myths surrounding the clough’s name. We hardly had chance to spin in a teacup or try to walk on the spinning barrel, before the rain started. I felt somewhat foolish folding myself up to take shelter in a mini train, but needs must.
When the rain stopped, we headed off for a ride on big bike, taking the path to the left of the track which quickly comes out by the boating lake and cafe. The cafe has been done up recently and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11.00 until 3.30. We didn’t go in, but it seemed quite popular.
My advice here is “persevere”. This area is not massively inspiring, but if you carry on around the corner, past the lake it really is. The path (pictured left) leads you past beautiful trees and wooded areas until you reach a clearing with a number of tracks leading off. We headed towards the second playground and sports area, on the far side of the park. There’s a large playing field, tennis courts and bowling green here as well as the play area. Whilst there’s a good range of equipment here, it’s seen better days – there were also a few people hanging around drinking nearby and a bloke pushing a shopping trolley, which just made me think of “Bubbles” in “The Wire” (if you don’t know what I’m on about, get yourself a boxset.) We didn’t stay here too long, preferring to head back for more walking through the clough with the promise of a second trip to the other playground for CJ.
You’d have an amazing time exploring the woods with older children. For younger ones like CJ, the main paths are great for bikes or walking and if you’re pushing a pram, it’d be a good workout, but not too vertical – in most places!
We got back to the witch themed playground just as the skies were darkening again. Time for a quick play before the sky turned almost as black as the safety flooring, accompanied by loud rolls of thunder. We bid the boggarts a hasty farewell as I was starting to feel like I was in an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” with an apocalypse approaching. (Again, if you don’t know what I’m on about….)