The last park sally was way back in November when we went to Crescent Park. It seems such a long time ago! There’s been so much rain in recent months that we’ve almost forgotten what the sun looks like. But a couple of weeks ago it started to reappear. This was the signal our two intrepid explorers had been waiting for, and they sallied forth once again to sample the delights of another of Stockport’s fine parks.
The park is of a similar age to our own Heaton Moor Park. In fact, both parks had their opening ceremonies on the same day, held as one combined event, in 1897. Heaton Mersey Park has a Friends group which looks after the park and Heaton Mersey Bowl.
The park’s layout is very interesting although this does make it difficult to access for anyone with mobility problems. It has one flat area at the top, near Richmond Road and then drops down quite steeply to Vale Close, sloping down towards the Mersey valley. But on the plus side, there are unexpected delights if you are able to explore a bit.
The top section has a well-equipped play area for older children up to the age of 14 which looks like a fairly recent addition. The area by the gate has flower beds to each side and there are bike racks and picnic tables nearby.
A level walk takes you around a large field surrounded by some trees and shrubs overlooking the Mersey Valley below.
There’s a bench strategically placed to encourage peaceful contemplation of the landscape but I suspect that in the summer the view won’t be as good because of the trees. This part of the park slopes steeply and isn’t accessible unless you happen to be very agile and adventurous. There is no path on the slope and the area is quite overgrown. But the view is impressive.
A lower level of the park, that is accessible via two sets of steps with handrails or a long and rather steep slope, leads down to the old bowling green. The green was used by Heaton Mersey Bowling Club until a few years ago. Now the club is based at Thornfield Park and the green is no longer used for bowling.
There is also an entrance into the park here from Vale Close. And another play area; a bit neglected and sad looking but still usable.
As you carry on, down a wide track, you might think that that’s all there is to Heaton Mersey Park, and you might not be too impressed. But there is more around the corner.
On one side you can enjoy The Bowl – a natural green amphitheatre that has been used as a training ground by hundreds of young footballers over the years. On the other side is a hidden treasure – a small fishing pond.
We were impressed with how clean the park was; there was no litter and no dog mess. Does this park have vigilant volunteers who collect refuse? Are Heaton Mersey residents better behaved and more considerate than the users of Heaton Moor Park? Maybe the park isn’t used as much as our park? We didn’t see many people when we were there – just four dog walkers and a man down by the pond. I suspect that in the summer the park does get busy.
It’s easy to imagine that on a warm summer day it’s a lovely place to take a picnic, enjoy the views and the wildlife.