No, not the TV series, I’m saving that for another post!
Instead this is a random snap I took showing the houses at the bottom of Charlestown Road in Blackley opposite Boggart Hole Clough, and how they used to be thriving shops, a cafe and all sorts of things over the years.
Sadly they’re just cheap bedsits judging by their exterior and a shadow of their former selves complete with broken flashing and guttering to add to that dishevelled look so common to houses in multiple occupation. (and yes, that is the voice of experience)
Corner of Rochdale Rd and Charlestown Rd
Rochdale Rd towards Blackley / Victoria Avenue
If we pan to the left a little we can see the row of shops I’m on about. These days there’s little there, whatever tries to open never lasts long with major retailers just up the road or have had owners that haven’t had the sense to stick to opening hours and stocking what customers wanted. So instead, today they too lie unloved and largely neglected through no fault of their own. Always somebody moving in, somebody moving out, nobody staying.
As you can see, the entire front of the cafe has been rebuilt at some point fairly recently, perhaps the result of a vehicle strike.
So, if it’s all doom and gloom and used to be better 40 years ago, why were we in Blackley in the first place?
Here’s the reason, if we were to pan to the right on these photos the patch of park on the map that is Boggart Hole Clough, one of Manchester’s less well known parks.
Deceptive in it’s size, (approximately 76 hectares (190 acres)), it’s part of an ancient woodland that takes you a fair amount of time to get round, and a fair amount of energy as it’s not exactly flat!
It’s meandering pathways take you to places you’d never imagine were just a stones throw away from Harpurhey and Crumpsall, and is one of those rare open spaces where you can find beauty no matter what time of the year you go. The park hosts a number of organised activities throughout the year from mountain bike rides to fireworks displays.
Although the park doesn’t get more than a passing nod on the Manchester City Council’s website, you can find it on Trip Advisor or visit the Friends Of Boggart Hole Clough website. So if you’re stuck for something to do on a sunny day, even if it’s cold, it’s more than well worth a visit.
Sadly most of our photos are temporarily missing in action, but we’re hoping to get some more this summer, and I’ll also do a more in-depth article about the clough itself.
Pretty much any bus that goes up Rochdale Road will get you here like the 17, 18, 162 so you won’t be stuck for transport from the bottom end of the park, although services are more limited from the top end as services up Charlestown Road have always been patchy.
Oh, by the way. The little shop and toilets you may have seen as you stumbled across this post was to the right of the other photos, just on the very corner of the park, but sadly these are long gone. The wall it still there, but that is all that remains. the rest is just grass.