EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS
A UNIQUE religious settlement, an international cycle racing venue and one of the world’s first municipal parks were among the surprisingly stunning landmarks awaiting 20 East Cheshire Ramblers on a recent walk through east Manchester
For instead of the scenic hills and valleys of their more usual haunts, the 9-mile route chosen by leader Ann Thompson took them from Daisy Nook Country Park, Ashton-under-Lyne, along the Hollinwood Branch Canal to Droylesden and the hidden gem of Fairfield – a beautifully preserved 18th century Moravian village with quaint cobbled streets and redbrick Georgian architecture.
Northern Europe’s oldest free church, founded in 1457, the Moravian Church became established in Bohemia and Moravia before the Reformation but was nearly destroyed by religious enmity in the Thirty Years War.
A number of settlements were subsequently established in Britain, including Manchester where it became an active part of the evangelical revival associated with John Wesley.
After visiting the village church the walk then headed down the nearby Ashton Canal to view the Etihad Football Stadium and Manchester Velopark.
Now the National Cycling Centre, the velodrome was built in 1994 and is today recognised internationally as one of the world’s fastest and finest indoor cycle tracks.
The walkers then moved on to Philips Park, Beswick, in the Medlock valley, which provided a welcome oasis of greenery amid the lingering industrial decay and squalor that still surrounds the area.
Opened in 1846, it was one of the world’s first municipal parks, providing Victorian workers with 31 verdant acres for leisure and relaxation only two miles from the city centre.
After lunching beside the river in Medlock Vale the group returned to Daisy Nook along the towpath through open country overlooking Brookdale golf course.
For further information ramblerseascheshire. org.uk
●» Next stop along the Ashton Canal was the Manchester Velopark