Lancashire TelegraphChorlton walk (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Chorlton walk

Lancashire Telegraph: Chorlton walk Chorlton walk

There has long been a saying in Lancashire which tells us to “waste nowt”.

Until very recently this has not been applied to those dealing with the balance between industry and wildlife.

Perhaps the light started to dawn in the 1970s when the M62 (now the M60 around Manchester) was being built.

Sale Water Park and Chorlton Water Park are now part of a chain of nature reserves which run alongside Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Sale, an area where the Lancashire border runs into Cheshire.

The lakes opened to the public in l980 and now look as if they have been there forever. The reserves were landscaped, as gravel was being extracted to provide hardcore for the motorway.

The Parks and the Ees, which is an old Anglo-Saxon word for a water meadow, are now home to a host of wild fowl and wetland birds.

The area has been planted with lots of, mainly, native, trees and species like the rowan provide for hungry migrating birds, mainly belonging to the thrush family.

From the Information centre turn left and keep the water on the right.

There is a chance to watch the bird life here, whatever the time of the year, but the winter walking here can be spectacular.

Cross the bridge over the ever-cleaner Mersey and follow the track through Kenworthy Fields.

These can be wet after rain, but this is not surprising because it is a natural use for water meadows to provide a safe run-off for rivers when they burst their banks.

In recent years we have all seen how silly it is to build on flood plains.

The excess water has to go somewhere and, sadly, this means into houses built in the wrong positions. Continue along the obvious footpath around Fairy Lane.

Approach Jackson’s Boat, one of the most historic pubs in the north of England.

At one time the pub was isolated and was used by Jacobites in the period between 1715-1745.

They were plotting to put a Catholic king back on the throne in place of the Hanoverian Kings.

It was a case of King George versus Bonnie Prince Charlie and the pub was a refuge for the Catholics.

At this time there was no bridge over the Mersey and a man called Jackson operated a row-boat ferry.

This has long been redundant and replaced by a substantial metal footbridge.

Turn right over the bridge and ignore the signs indicating Sale Water Park.

Follow the footpath, keeping the river Mersey on the right. The pathway then bears left.

Approach Chorlton Water Park and keep this on the right.

This is the place to enjoy wonderful views of the wildlife, while away in the middle distance the motorway can be seen.

We all need motorways as we live increasingly busy lives, but these views do show that it is possible (and essential) to achieve a balance between wildlife and industry.

Here can be seen graceful birds like the Great Crested Grebe by looking down and huge articulated trucks if you look up.

What is surprising is that the dominant sound is not traffic but birds.

For me it is a case of eyes down.

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