I love the number of nature reserves near us which have risen, phoenix like, from a grey and smoky past, reclaimed from the clutches of industry to become green and tranquil havens once more. We’ve driven past Blackleach Country Park in Walkden too many times for my liking. Time to stop and check it out. Not as tranquil as it might be, due to its close proximity to a motorway (like so many places in the Greater Manchester, where every town has its own motorway) but a pleasant place for a wander round.
It’s fortunate that I am unable to pass an information board without reading everything posted on it. According to the main map of the park, there’s no playground here, but I spotted an “adventure play area” marked on a hand drawn map on the noticeboard. From the carpark, keep turning right, and you’ll find it if you look hard enough. Charmingly, the play area is almost totally hidden in a little copse on the hill. It’s just about visible though naked winter trees, in summer it will be completely camouflaged.
Lucky for us, CJ’s coat is a particularly vivid turquoise, so no danger of losing her.
I prised her from the logs to go and have a look at the lake, and we were both delighted by the variety of waterfowl here, your usual Canada Geese, swans, moorhens, coots and mallards, but also several more unusual types of duck that I couldn’t name.
Finally, we popped into the Visitor’s Centre, next to the car park. A haven of warmth, with nice, clean toilets.