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Walk: Stanley Park, Blackpool
I’ve never quite forgiven our various governments who decided that there was no further need to celebrate our traditional Wakes weeks. Instead we have to compete in the picnic market for the more affluent people in the south. Never mind — I went to Blackpool and strolled around Stanley Park — one of the best in my opinion.
From the Roadside Parking look for the De Vere Hotel Complex on the opposite side of the road. Nearby on the right is the Model Village.
At the entrance to the park turn right into the park. In a short distance the extensive lake is reached. I enjoyed a fascinating bird watch with families of Canada Geese being a prominent feature. This species is now so common that it would seem that it was native. In fact it is not, as the name Canada clearly indicates. The large goose is 36 inches long (96 cms) and has a brownish body and a black head but with a prominent patch of white under its chin.
It was first mentioned in 1678 as being part of the Kings collection of wildfowl and having been brought over from Canada. Since then it has found conditions very much to its liking and is now resident in Britain and our more common goose. The geese and other wildfowl easily negotiate the small motorboats and rowing boats which can be hired. Approach the magnificent bandstand on the left. There are footpaths here leading to the model village (well worth a diversion) as well as football and cricket fields. Ignore these and follow the path which sweeps round to the right.
Approach a boat jetty and you may be lucky enough to see the colourful little road train. This is really for children but I could not resist a trip and I tried my best to look young but failed miserably. I then turned away from the lake and turned left to reach a set of stone steps.
At the top of the steps was a lakeside terrace, fountains, statues and gardens which at the end of July looked at their very best. Here are plenty of seats and here I enjoyed my picnic. From the terrace turn right and pass an area of fencing to the right.
Then sweep right and descend a gentle incline to reach the cafe. The path then eases gently to the left and the lake is on the right.
Look out for the wildfowl barrier which is kept free from boats and which creates an excellent little bird sanctuary.
Approach two substantial white bridges over the boating lake. Turn right and pass over the frst of these bridges. There is a popular picnic site to the left. Then cross the second bridge and head towards the park exit.
Before leaving the park look out to the left to see the entrance to the Nature Reserve running alongside the end of the lake. This adds an extra half mile to the walk and is a really relaxing area.
After this, return to the starting point.