This area is called Millgate Fields, adjoining Stenner Woods, at the rear of Fletcher Moss Gardens. The day was thickly sombre and lightless. I enjoyed the walk regardless. I wanted to move, be outside, smell the air and feel some nature. There aren’t many serious walkers in Britain. People like myself who wild camp for days, trek the Pyrenees for two weeks or more. There are however many people who enjoy Sunday strolls, weekend trips, visits to the park. Walking as such is very popular.

A friend said to me a few years ago “I love living in Hulme.” To me it’s a concrete area which feels sterile and soulless, separate from nature. I walked around another development site, New Islington, about a year ago. The style is much the same. I looked down a concrete street and considered how a row of trees would transform it. It wouldn’t be expensive, wouldn’t need much work, and would have a subtle but profound effect on the feel of the area and the people living there. It’s a microcosm of a greater social ill: detachment from nature. Planners don’t even think about it. I have these thoughts as I walk the parks and nature reserves. You don’t have to climb Scafell Pike to appreciate nature if you’re not fit, well, or suited for it. It’s here at Millgate Fields.

I reflected too on days and places such as this and the related mood. There’s no sense of openness and outlook when the grey presses in. You feel isolated and enclosed and yet inside you, something does open which doesn’t happen in the street. It’s paradoxical. Soothing, somehow, because of the quietness of the air and the ease of the walk.

 

Millgate Fields Runner

Saturday March 12, 2016