Reddish Vale Park

A surprising escape

As a born and bred Stopfordian, I have become far too accustomed to what is here and admittedly doubtful of places I haven’t been before in my many years of exploration. I myself love Stockport more than most, finding contentment amongst its history, armed with a head torch and a camera.

Although for some time now there’s been one place on my radar which I was unsure of and a couple months ago I found myself restless, in an empty house with time on my hands and this location came to the forefront of my mind, like it was the most obvious thing in the world, Reddish Vale Park.

It’s green, it’s quiet, it’s an escape. One hour later I have a camera, supplies and lunch in my bag, hair in a tight bun, a tripod across my back and pedals beneath my feet.

Fast forward 15 minutes, I was nearing the entrance with a sweaty back for my trouble, wishing I had worn less layers and hell, I was actually surprised at what greeted me as I passed Reddish Vale School. The neighbourhood behind, descending into a world of green pastures, trees and lakes laughing as I went. This place wasn’t a park as much as it was a portal to the country; terrace houses yielded for cottages, concrete for grass, pigeons for ducks, traffic noise for bird song.

I glided past Reddish Vale Farm in between a couple cars, around some young families still beaming having just been in the petting area with spring’s new additions and through the open gate which was the park entrance. Two lakes were laid out in front of me, a bed of pulsating diamonds under the mid-day sun, the air was filled with chattering of birds, the atmosphere was one of a library.

In fact the only indicator that I was indeed still in Stockport, besides the thick accent of the families passing by, was the signature red brick viaduct streaming along the horizon carrying the occasional train over the valleys to Stalybridge. So irregularly that it stayed in my mind and on getting home I keyed into Google to find that according to a 2007/8 survey by National Rail, Reddish South Station is Britain’s least used station. Only 47 people got on and off throughout the duration of the survey!

After locking up and peeling my shirt off my back, I attached my lens and walked down the first path I found and didn’t stop until the sun started to hide behind the horizon, through forests, fields and farmland, by river and in-between lakes.

What surprised me, apart from the scale (161 hectares), were the droves of birds churning up the water, their type more numerous than my fingers, many causing me to stop, switch lens and shoot.

In short, this place is definitely somewhere to go to escape even if for an hour or so with a picnic or a good book. I was left with a sense of peace and contentment one only gets by indulging in escapism, which I was in dire need of, staying with me through the steep assent up the hill, through the night and into the next day.

In conclusion, my lasting sentiment of this day was a positive one, leaving me with a head full of plans and a certainty that I’d be back, definitely.

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