Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON - ANN THOMP­SON

JAN­UARY was a good month for a group of 19 East Cheshire ram­blers to aban­don the mud of the hills and head to­wards the city.

Park­ing at East Dids­bury they caught two trams (a new ex­pe­ri­ence for some) to Sale Wa­ter Park.

Af­ter ex­cel­lent coffee and cakes at the vis­i­tor cen­tre they set off to ex­plore the Mersey flood plain.

One of the most in­ter­est­ing fea­tures of the walk was the va­ri­ety of uses of the flood plain. The first half of the walk was var­ied, with paths along­side lakes, the Mersey and through na­ture re­serves, vis­it­ing both Sale and Chorl­ton wa­ter parks.

Th­ese for­mer gravel pits are now ex­cel­lent recre­ation ar­eas – one for wa­ter sports and both for fish­ing.

Sale Wa­ter Park was cre­ated in the 1970s when gravel was needed for the em­bank­ments of what is now the M60. An­other ex­ten­sive use of the land is for golf, as there are five cour­ses.

The wa­ter parks and golf cour­ses are all part of a food al­le­vi­a­tion scheme. If wa­ter rises dan­ger­ously, weirs or flood gates can be opened and the wa­ter stored un­til the flood wa­ters have sub­sided.

A large scheme was seen near Fletcher Moss, Dids­bury, where the gate struc­ture has been ar­tis­ti­cally dec­o­rated by lo­cal school chil­dren.

Be­fore the last sec­tion of river bank, a short path around Parrs Wood School at Fletcher Moss gar­den was vis­ited. This gar­den was cre­ated by Al­der­man Fletcher Moss and do­nated to the city in 1915.

It con­tains many un­usual plants and a de­light­ful rock­ery gar­den – all be­ing main­tained to­day by vol­un­teers.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion go to ram­blerseast cheshire.org.uk.

●» East Cheshire Ram­blers be­side the brightly-dec­o­rated flood gates struc­ture at Fletcher Moss

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