Another blast from my past. Except I never spent much time at this park in my youth. There are two parks in Wall Heath and the other one (“top park”) was a one minute walk from my house, whereas this one (“bottom park”)takes about five.When I was a “youth” hanging around the park of an evening with my fellow teenage miscreants friends, you were either a “top park” or “bottom park” type – I was usually to be found at “top park”. These days though, “top park” is just a playing field and home to the Scout Hut, Community Centre and Tennis Club, the swings having long ago been removed.
It is “bottom park” that I now find myself frequenting when I visit my parents, as this is where the playground is. Sadly, this playground leaves a lot to be desired. Anyone who regularly reads this blog might think that I am totally incapable of giving a bad review and am permanently positive and cheery. Prepare yourselves. I am about to be negative.
Wall Heath park itself is rather lovely as you can see above. Leafy, grassy, perfect for chilling out or running around with your kids or dog. The playground though, has seen far better days. It is decent enough; swings, climbing frame, roundabout etc, all present and correct. The safety matting has been touched up with repairs, but at least it’s there and safe. But it just seems so unloved and unkept. Graffitti is etched into the metal seats and the play equipment. Paint is peeling. Autumn leaves are strewn with litter. Worst of all, night time visitors had clearly lit themselves a fire under the slide, the charred remains of which sit in the middle of the playground.
This playground compares unfavourably to pretty much everywhere I’ve featured here. Look at Truffet Park in Middleton, or St Mary’s Park in Prestwich. Princes Park in Irlam or Moses Gate in Bolton. Just 4 examples from 4 different boroughs that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with CJ recently. It’s fortunate that the surroundings of this playground are so pleasant, otherwise it would be a rather depressing place to visit with your tot. Admittedly, the previous time I visited, there was no evidence of twisted firestarting and much less litter, but this is a playground that feels neglected. It could at least do with a lick of paint or maybe some new benches.
All children deserve to have easy access to the kinds of facilities I feature here every week. I feel very lucky that I live in an area where such play areas are commonplace and sad that I’m yet to find something as fabulous in the borough I used to call home. I’ll keep searching and hoping and working my way through the list on the website above. In the meantime, I hope that someone at least manages to clear it up a bit.