There is a borough of Greater Manchester that has been named as the ‘greenest place to live’ by the Centre for Thriving Places. This accolade is attributed not only to energy efficient development but also the preservation and improvement of existing green spaces within the borough.
This borough is Salford. A walk along the River Irwell, that defines the southern boundary of the borough before dividing the cities of Manchester and Salford as it heads north, helps explain the claims for the area’s green credentials.
In the areas that bisect Salford Quays, Cornbrook and Manchester city itself, developmental encroachment is slowly eroding the green patches. But even here small oases of green offer shelter for aquatic birdlife which, for now, are holding on. Kingfishers and herons, as well as swans and Canada geese, can be spotted alongside the towering new-build blocks of apartments.
However, where the Irwell departs Manchester city centre, just past the AO Arena, the banks of the river reach a whole different magnitude of wildlife haven.
Patrick Whelan, who has lived all his 74 years in the borough, walking his dog Sam by the River Irwell, gave his thoughts on the area.
“They’ve lowered a lot of the area to reduce flooding from the Irwell and they have only really developed small areas for housing. It’s really a hidden gem. You can walk at least five miles and not see any traffic and the woods extend beyond that all the way up to Kersal.”
Patrick explains the area is a haven for wildlife.
There is often talk of an economic ‘trickle down’ effect from investment in the city centre but maybe a trickle down of wildlife and green spaces from the Irwell’s higher reaches would benefit all of the cities’ (Manchester as well as Salford) inhabitants.
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All images: Gary Roberts