Nothing beats getting out for a brisk walk as summer turns into autumn. What better way to blow away the cobwebs than to head down to Wythenshawe Park. The park lies to the south of the city and features a stunning 17th century hall set in 275 acres of parkland. As well as the lovely parkland for walking and cycling, there are also excellent facilities for golf, football, tennis and bowling as well as orienteering and pony rides. The park also boasts a variety of themed areas including safari walks, gardens of the world, the canal garden and the post office museum to name but a few. In January last year, a large part of Wythenshawe Park (approx 85 hectares) was awarded nature reserve status – making it Manchester’s largest nature reserve. This means the 85 hectare site will now benefit from the recognition and protection that this status brings; and rare plants and wildlife will now be afforded better protection.
There are at least 13 woodlands within the park, including two sites of biological importance – Nan Nook Wood and Gib Lane Wood which are packed with an array of different trees, plants and wildlife. One of the beech trees within the woodland is thought to be over 450 years old – making it the oldest living tree in the city. The park also holds the Green Flag award, which is awarded to green spaces that achieve the national standards for various criteria including cleanliness and sustainability.
A Great History
Historically, most of Wythenshawe Park lay within the Cheshire town of Northenden and over the years the area was developed to include a walled garden, an ice house and glass houses. By 1830 an area of parkland was created through the opening out of the surrounding fields around the Hall. In 1926 the hall and parkland were purchased by Lord and Lady Simon of Wythenshawe – this was a time of great change and Manchester City Council was developing Wythenshawe by providing new housing for families who were being moved in from poorer areas of the city. Lord and Lady Simon gave the hall and park to the city, ‘to be kept forever as an open space for the people of Manchester,’ and it was intended that it would be a recreational area for the people living on the newly built local housing estates.
In 1984, Wythenshawe Community Farm was opened, which has grown to become one of the most popular facilities at Wythenshawe Park. The farm is located next to the children’s play area and allows city kids the chance to learn about where their food really comes from – as well as all of the intricacies of a working farm. The farm includes a prize winning herd of Hereford cattle as well as pigs, goats, ducks and horses. The farm’s extensive breeding programme means that there are often baby animals on site – and visitors can meet the animals and witness feeding time if they are very lucky!
Need transport to and from Wythenshawe park? book with Swinton travel the no1 Minibus Manchester service.