I had a glowing recommendation for Clifton Country Park from the writer of the excellent My Shitty Twenties blog when I met her at the Manchester bloggers meetup last week. Not one to ignore a park tipoff, I packed CJ’s wet weather gear and headed over to Kearsley.
I recently visited Salford Museum and Art Gallery (highly recommended) and was amazed looking out of the window at the back of the museum at how much green space there is in Salford. Clifton Country Park is even more proof of this, as it’s nothing but green space.
We had a poor start to our visit – we started off at the playground, which is just past the Visitor’s Centre. CJ couldn’t go on the swings as there was a man fixing them. I tried to distract her by pointing out the striking black and white horse in the next field heading over to see what we were up to. “Mummy, mummy, cuddle, cuddle, cuddle” was the whimpering response I got. As much as CJ likes looking at horses in fields, the reality of their size when up close turned out to be quite scary. However, I am sure lots of youngsters will love looking at the horses and donkeys in the fields next to the playground. We agreed to go for a ride, on the understanding that when we returned, the swing would be fixed and the horsey would be gone. Thankfully that turned out to be the case.
We followed the “easy” 2.5 km loop around the lake. This was marked very clearly on a large map at the Visitor’s Centre. It’s flat with fairly smooth paths, great for bikes, buggies and wheelchairs. You are near the lake all the way round and we saw a variety of ducks, geese and swans on the water. To your right as you walk along are woods and we saw plenty of squirrels on our travels. The lake is also very popular with local fishermen and dog walkers, so there are lots of people around.
Back on the playground maintenance work had finished, resulting in 2 brand new seats on the (toddler) swings, both of which CJ christened. She loved this playground and we were there for ages. It has 2 climbing frame and slide combinations aimed at younger and older children, a “spiders web” rope climbing frame and a wooden “balance challenge” (I don’t know what else to call it) with various logs, planks, bridges and ropes to try and walk around without touching the floor. CJ managed parts of this with my help. If I’d had someone else with me to keep an eye on her, I’d have been on there myself, I must confess. Particularly as we had the place to ourselves for a good half hour, so there’d have been no-one to laugh at me, apart from CJ.
Having to negotiate with CJ to get her back in the car is always the sign of a good park – and I had to use all my skills to tear her away from this one. We saw a poster on the information board for “tiny tots rambles” meeting Fridays at 10am at the Visitor’s Centre – so we may well be back soon!