I don’t know if nature areas such as here are unusual. You don’t find them in London where space is at a premium; but London parks are splendid. You find them in parts of Kent but not with a river – like the River Mersey.

I formerly commuted to Nottingham and Derby where you find nearby farmland. I don’t remember much about the city. Brighton has the sea and South Downs in close proximity so a reserve is arguably superfluous. Leeds has Roundhay Park which is marvellous; I’m not sure if there are reserves although there probably are. Marsh areas around Norwich and Cambridge look pleasant. There are Lancashire reserves important for migratory birds. Robert Macfarlane wandered Essex marshes for one of his books.

Manchester is well situated for the outdoors. The Lake District and Snowdonia are less than two hours away, the Peak District forty minutes. I don’t get to those places as often as I’d like. I enjoy Manchester parks: Platt fields, Heaton, Chorlton, and go there regularly. The Mersey Valley is less manicured and it’s the fact that it is a river valley which makes the area pleasant. You wander and sense nature with a feeling you don’t get in parks.


Chorlton Meadows Rosebay Willowherb

Monday December 21, 2015