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Colony's Top 10 Green Spaces: In and Around the City

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6 April 2022

Manchester is without a doubt one of the fastest developing cities in the UK – if not the World! Everywhere you turn there’s guaranteed to be a crane or two with new office blocks, co-working spaces, and residential flats popping up left, right, and centre. So, in the beating heart of a city that is ever-growing and with that summer sun fast approaching, where do you go for a bit of green space? We’ve put together a list of our favourite areas of natural beauty to help get you up and away from that desk and get your fix of green!

Colony’s Top Green Spaces: In and Around the City

We know as well as anyone, that although it is amazing to live in the bustling centre of one of the UK's fastest developing cities, working in some of the best co-working spaces the country has to offer, it's still necessary to catch a break, take a step back and enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds of nature. So, come away from your desk and feast your eyes on this; we've put our heads together and compiled a list of some of our favourite places to get some well-needed head space.

1. Peel Park, Salford

Location: M5 4PD

Found just off Chapel Street, next to the University of Salford, Peel Park is arguably Manchester’s nicest park. Aptly named after former Prime Minister and founder of the modern police force, Sir Robert Peel, it was the first park of its kind in the UK, funded entirely by the people’s subscription, the park was free for everyone and has been since it opened in August 1846.

From Chapel Street to Frederick Road, the park spans around 25 acres and is equipped with a children’s playground, football pitches, flower gardens, as well as Salford’s Museum and Art Gallery. The River Irwell meanders it’s way through the park on the east side, splitting it into two; an adjoining set of bridges connects the smaller green space, The Meadow, which, incidentally, has a small waterfall, to the main body of the park.

Peel Park is open all year round, including public and bank holidays, so come rain or shine, whether it’s a stroll, a run or a cycle, on your own, or with your team, you can enjoy the spectacular greenery whichever way you want!


2. Philips Park and Clayton Vale, Clayton

(Image credit: David Dixon)

Location: M11 4DQ

Lying in the shadow of what used to be the old Manchester United stadium on Bank Street, and Manchester City’s newly developed Etihad Campus is Philips Park and Clayton Vale. Much like Peel Park, Philips Park is teeming with wide, open spaces and decent facilities across 31 acres of woodland, flower gardens, grassland, play areas, football pitches, allotments and another notable Mancunian river on the north side – the River Medlock.

Philips Park is intertwined with both Philips Cemetery and Clayton Vale. The cemetery, although typically a bleak place to visit, has a rather serene and calming atmosphere with dedicated war memorials for those who died at the infamous Battle of Rorkes Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Clayton Vale, found to the east of the park, is a local nature reserve built upon a number of old buildings such as the Bank Bridge Works, Tannery and Clayton Infectious Diseases Hospital, better known as the Clayton Smallpox Hospital. Now, the semi-mature forest that stands there is home to blackbirds, squirrels, silver birches, willow trees and a series of mountain bike trails. The Vale has been described by The Heritage Trail as, “A shining example of urban country parkland and a haven for wildlife.”

Both Philips Park and Clayton Vale are open to the public from dawn until dusk, so get down before work, after work or even on your day off from work and admire all of what it has to offer!


3. Heaton Park, Prestwich

Location: M25 2GT

Heaton Park is one of the more well-known and larger green spaces in the Manchester area, predominantly because it plays host to some of the biggest names in the music world every year at the Parklife festival. However, the park had a reputation long before Parklife was nothing but a pipedream.

Originally home to the Holland family (pre-1684) and later the Egerton family (post-1684), Heaton Park boasts both a grade-I listed building, Heaton Hall, and a grade-II listed building in the tram museum as well as, an orangery, observatory, 18-hole golf course, boating lake, woodland, ornamental gardens, and animal sanctuary – some of which are part of the £10 million Heritage Lottery renovation scheme.

The park covers an impressive 600 acres and has had many different uses over the years. In the First World War, it served as a military training camp and hospital grounds. During the Second World War, the RAF trained roughly 130,000 troops at Heaton Park, all of which lived in purpose built prefabricated houses to the south that were later demolished sometime in the 1960s.

Nowadays, the life and soul of the park is worlds apart from many of its former uses. Families, friends and colleagues alike visit from far and wide to soak up the sun, join in on the number of activities on offer and to admire the beautiful scenery that encompasses the area. Whatever your reason for going, it’s certainly worth it.


4. Kersal Wetlands, Kersal

(Image credit: Place North West)

Location: M7 2FX

Located a stone’s throw out of the city centre, the Kersal Wetlands are an area of natural beauty that is part of the £10 million flood protection scheme. Built upon the site of the old Manchester Racecourse, it is now a honeypot for all kinds of weird and wonderful wildlife including deer, kingfishers, and woodpeckers all of which have been spotted up and down the ever-present River Irwell.

We recommended that you dress weather appropriate as the Wetlands are open and exposed and so, on those chillier or wetter days, you’re guaranteed to feel it. With the area being so readily accessible, it is also advised to avoid swimming in the water and to be mindful of the wildlife that inhabit the Wetlands as they can be easily disturbed – particularly the ground nesting birds that make their nests between mid-March and June.


5. Buile Hill Park, Salford

(Image credit: Manchester Evening News)

Location: M6 8GL

Buile Hill Park is the largest park in Salford and second oldest after Peel Park, spanning around 86 acres, it has spectacular views of the city centre and a now disused grade-II listed building, Buile Hill Manor House. Incidentally, the park itself is registered as a grade-II listed space on the English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest and was the second in the city to do so.

Well-renowned artist, L.S Lowry, used to frequent Buile Hill Park in the days that he was a local rent collector. Another notable friend of the park was Frances Hodgson Burnett who wrote a number of works including Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.

Within the park there are tennis courts, a multi-use games area (MUGA), outdoor gym equipment, picnic spaces and a children’s playground, as well as a pavilion that serves hot and cold drinks and community allotments overlooking the central Manchester cityscape - although sadly we couldn't spot any of our co-working spaces!.

Buile Hill Park is open with pedestrian access 24 hours a day, so you can take a trip anytime, and enjoy the amazing sights of the city all whilst shrouded in greenery.


6. Clifton Country Park

(Image credit: Visit Salford)

Location: M27 6NG

Spread out across approximately 119 acres of grassland, woodland and waterways, Clifton Country Park is a stunning nature reserve just outside of the city centre, built upon the remains of the Wet Earth Colliery of 1740 – one of the first deep mines to be sunk in the Irwell Valley.

The park is a current holder of the prestigious Green Flag Award which recognises the space’s success in being welcoming, safe and well-maintained along with a strong involvement from the local community. There are a number of self-guided and accessible trails through the park, but also the Salford Ranger Team provide a range of activities and events that you can participate in throughout the year.

In addition to this, there are picnic areas, fishing spots, a children’s playground, sculpture trail including a life-size Gruffalo and a café serving refreshments daily between 9.30am and 3.30pm – perfect for a spring stroll or a summer run, it’s just as beautiful in the autumn and winter seasons too!


7. Sale Water Park, Sale

(Image Credit: Tripadvisor)

Located: M33 2LX

Situated in a greenbelt beside the River Mersey, the historic border between Lancashire and Cheshire, Sale Water Park stretches across 152 acres, 52 of which are taken up by a 90ft deep artificial lake.

Naturally, during the summer months, the lake is alive with jet skis, sailboats and everything in between especially with Trafford Water Sports Centre being based just north of the free car park.

The locally revered Jackson’s Boat sits to the east of the Sale Ees Dole (artificial mudflats), and the lakeside Boathouse restaurant is to the west. Both serve great tasting food with bars that are open until late. Jackson’s Boat operates from 11.00am until midnight, 7 days a week. The Boathouse bar is open from 11.30am until 11.00pm Monday through Saturday and reduced hours of 11.30am to 9.30pm on Sundays, opening times for the restaurant differ, it’s advised to check the website prior to making the journey.

The Water Park itself is open all year round, with public access available 24/7 and a dedicated tram stop, it's relatively straightforward to get there from any of our co-working sites, just take the Manchester Airport Navy Line. Here's the nearest tram stops that are along the Navy Line:

  • The Astley - Shudehill (0.5 mile)
  • Piccadilly - Market Street (0.7 mile)
  • Jactin House - Shudehill (0.6 mile)
  • Silk Street - Shudehill (0.6 mile)

8. Chorlton Water Park, Chorlton

(Image Credit: Amazing Days Out)

Location: M21 7WH

Found on the opposite side of the Mersey to Sale Water Park, Chorlton Water Park is a marginally bigger nature reserve covering around 170 acres including woodland, grassland, and another artificial lake created by flooding reclaimed farmland.

The park is open from dawn until dusk and although dogs are not allowed, you can still enjoy a pet-free walk, or even a spot of fishing – providing you have purchased a day/season ticket from the relevant authority. Unlike Sale Water Park, swimming is not permissible and park security will eject anybody that is caught in the act – so, leave your armbands in your drawer at the office, pick up a fishing rod and pitch a camping chair next to the lake!


9. Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Botanical Gardens

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Location: M20 2RQ

Named after Alderman Fletcher Moss who donated the park to the City of Manchester in 1915, Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Botanical Gardens are nestled in the fetching Didsbury neighbourhood. They parks stand as a fitting tribute to the birthplace of the RSPB, with a whole host of wildlife to admire from migrating African Chiff-chaffs to more native Swifts and Swallows.

Throughout the park itself, there are constant nods to Alderman Moss and the park's rich history. A set of peculiar gravestones can be found if you look hard enough, they lie in memoriam to his beloved dogs and supposedly his favourite horse too! There is an effigy of an eagle that you can spot mounted on a neo-Norman stone archway at the entrance of the park, which was once a defining feature of the Spread Eagle Hotel – previously owned by Fletcher Moss. The hotel was demolished in 1902 and Moss claimed the eagle for himself.

Of course, Didsbury is quite a way out of the city centre, about 5 miles, but it is undoubtedly worth the journey – and if you needed any more convincing, the park has held the prestigious Green Flag Award for over 20 years, being first awarded it in the year 2000.


10. Reddish Vale Country Park, Stockport

(Image Credit: Manchester Evening News)

Location: SK5 7HE

The last spot on our list is a little bit further afield in Stockport and can be found alongside the River Tame. Reddish Vale Country Park spans around 390 acres, with flat riverside meadows, sloping fields, an 18-hole golf course, a designated nature reserve, viaduct and arguably its most showstopping feat, the waterfall.

There is also a wide array of pursuits on offer at the park, from fishing – with the appropriate license – to geo-caching and audio-tours, cycling routes, art exhibitions and even a small farm where you can pet a number of baby animals. Along the banks of the Tame, there are several wildlife hotspots where sand martins, kingfishers, geese, herons, cormorants, and coots can be spotted too.

Reddish Vale is open with pedestrian access from 10.30am until 4.30pm, Monday through Sunday, 365 days a year. If you’re lucky, you may come across the coffee cart where you can grab yourself a brownie and a brew!


There are plenty more amazing green spaces in and around the city, but that's our pick of ten. We're keen on wellness and understand the importance of getting out and about, even if you feel as though you could stay in our co-working spaces forever, there's far too much to see and do to be cooped up inside - and yes, our roof terraces provide spectacular outdoor spaces, but there's nothing quite like immersing yourself fully in nature.


If you would like to find out more about our coworking memberships and enjoy 24-7 access to the best workspaces in Manchester drop us an email at info@colonyco.work

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