You’re sure to get a buzz by walking new heritage trail
IN 2012 I was asked by Irwell Valley Housing Association to survey the Natural History of Haughton Green in Tameside, and to share my findings with residents.
But it soon became obvious that the ‘Green’ had so much more to offer residents and visitors alike, that I proposed a Living Heritage Trail for the area, which would link the present with the past, the industrial, social and economic, with the birds, mammals and flowers, and indeed the relatively modern housing estate with the historic old Haughton Village.
After three years of hard work, I’m delighted to say that the trail opens on Friday, September 18.
On my first visit to the estate I spotted a buzzard circling on the thermals above the three high-rise blocks, and as the bird of prey moved off towards St Mary’s Church he followed on past clumps of wild bluebells, down Meadow Lane towards the ‘Long Row’ of terraced houses, built for the workers at the Haughton Dale Wireworks, and I could still hear the bird ‘mewing’ by the time I reached Haughton Dale House built in 1793, with the Sidebotham Coat of Arms, in relief, on the house’s southern elevation.
The buzzard, also facing south, soon vanished over a fine stand of mature trees and I found myself at the entrance of Haughton Dale Reserve, my arrival heralded by the laughing call of a green woodpecker, a dashing sparrowhawk and the wonderful smell of wild garlic, and all within 10 minutes.
Venturing a few hundred yards along the path, there are intriguing remains of old buildings and lodges by the fast-flowing River Tame, and in turn I was greeted by the loud call of a grey heron and the quite magnificent flash of electric blue, better known as the kingfisher.
The Trail was inspired by the short walk described here, a reaffirmation that here in England, in both town and country, we have a treasure trove on our doorstep, and to be honest I was ashamed that I had not visited the place before.
Not only did I conceive, research and write the information for the Trail Interpretative Boards, website and other publications but, I invented ‘Buzz’ seen here, who guides visitors, and offers his own slant on history.
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop
●● Buzz will guide visitors to the Living Heritage Trail