Health Walk 1
Health Walk 2
Health Walk 3
Health Walk 4
Walking for Health
There’s no doubt about it, walking is good for you. It’s good for your heart, it’s good for your lungs, it’s good for the muscle and bone growth of your children and it’s good for your feeling of well-being!
Studies show that walking can:
• Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes, osteoarthritis and certain cancers
• Enhance mental well-being and help combat depression
• Help to control body weight
• Lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol
• Help flexibility and co-ordination
Walking is free, fun, sociable and anyone can do it, anywhere and at any time. You can walk on your own, with your family or friends. It’s much more convenient and flexible than going to the gym. It’s a cheap and pollution-free alternative to the car on short trips. It’s natural and safe,
with a low risk of injury. It’s also a great exercise for children and an excellent way to explore your local area.
For general health, experts recommend walking briskly for at least 30 minutes on at least five days a week. You can even divide the 30 minutes up into two or three shorter sessions if you prefer. And the more you do, the more you benefit.
To walk briskly, imagine you’re hurrying to a meeting. Your heart should beat faster than normal without racing, you should feel slightly warmer and breathe more deeply but you should still be able to talk while you walk.
• Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and sturdy, comfortable shoes
• Several thin layers of clothing are better than one thick layer – you can take off layers as you warm up, or add them if you get cold
• Wear a hat: it keeps you warm in winter and protects your head in summer
• Wear gloves if it’s cold – it’s difficult to walk briskly with hands in pockets
• Wear sunblock if you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time
• Take some water, and some food too if you’re going on a longer walk
• A small backpack is more comfortable to walk with than an ordinary bag – it leaves your arms free
• Swing your arms – they’ll help you walk briskly
• If you’re unsure of your abilities, try a shorter route first
• Know where you are going – take a map or leafle
• Be prepared to change your route if you feel unsafe for any reason
• If you’re on your own, take a mobile phone and/or make sure someone knows where you’ve gone and when you expect to be back
If you are new to walking, uncertain about finding your way, don’t feel confident about going out on your own or just want some company, you could walk with a group led by an experienced walk leader. There are many walking groups offering regular led walks in Manchester. Contact the Philips Park Wardens or visit the website for more information.
The pond is all that remains of the river that ran from the SE to NW corners of the park before emptying into the River Medlock. There were originally 3 ponds in 1849. This later rose to 6 ponds that were used for boating, paddling and encouraging wild fowl. In 1865, all the ponds were filled to a shallow depth for the safety of ice skaters in winter. The remaining pond is the wild fowl pond.
The Swimming Pool
In1891 Manchester’s first open air swimming pool was opened on this site. One of the ponds was converted using white tiles for the bottom and glazed brick for the sides at a cost of £3,000. The resulting pool had no heating and measured 200 x 70ft. This was filled in and closed in 1953.
In 1912 the pool was used by the Olympic swimming team to train and acclimatise for the games in Stockholm, where the swimming was held in a river. The swimming team came home with 2 silvers and 2 bronze medals and the water polo team came home with the gold medal.
The Railway Viaduct
The railway viaduct was built in the early 1900s to link the main line with the power station and the chemical works in Clayton and Openshaw. The ash from the furnaces was taken along this railway into Clayton Vale to be dumped. The National Cycling Centre now sits on the site of the
old power station. Clayton Vale is now a reclaimed park and in 2006 was given the status of being a Local Nature Reserve.
Tulip Valley (Amphitheatre)
The first ornamental flowerbeds were sown in1847. In its heyday during the 1920s, the display in Tulip Valley used around 60,000 bulbs and attracted visitors from across the region.
The River Medlock
The River Medlock starts above Oldham and flows down to empty into the River Irwell in the centre of Manchester. The Medlock has long been an important feature of the park. The red brick channel that you see today was built after the flood of 1872, when the river rose suddenly and tore away part of the printworks in Clayton Vale and washed away 40 – 50 bodies from the cemetery. After this disaster the river was lined with red bricks to allow the water to flow safely through the park.
The Peace Garden
The Peace Garden was developed on the site of the first bowling green to be opened in Manchester (1872). The site was converted into the Peace Garden in 2002. The adjacent bowling green was first opened in 1882.
The Russian Guns
To the south of the bowling green once stood a pair of Russian cannons from the Crimean War. They were presented by the War Office and placed in the park in 1857. The guns were removed in 1941 and melted down to help with the war effort (together with the park railings).
This is the only lodge left standing in the park. It was commissioned from Alfred Derbyshire who also designed Manchester’s Palace Theatre. It originally cost £529.00 and the main gates cost £48.15p. The lodge was refurbished in 2002 and now serves as the park’s visitor centre.
Managed green spaces, such as Philips Park, provide important places for wildlife in urban settings, as well as contributing to the health and well-being of local people. Their proximity to schools and housing also makes them an ideal resource for learning about the natural world.
Environmental benefits of urban green spaces include:
• Providing habitats for wildlife
• Helping to stabilise urban temperatures and humidity
• Absorbing pollutants in air and groundwater
Philips Park itself provides an important habitat for a wide range of plants and animals. Some of them are easy to spot because of their size or abundance, or perhaps because they are loud, colourful or just plain curious! Other species are more difficult to discover due to their rarity and lack of numbers, or because they are so small, well hidden, or simply shy around people.
Most importantly, all of the different species work together, recycling waste and helping to look after the environment. Please make sure that you protect this balance by not disturbing any plants or animals when visiting the park.
Simple ways to enjoy the wildlife of Philips Park:
• Have a picnic. In quieter areas you may see birds and mammals such as woodpeckers or squirrels, and a pair of binoculars will bring these animals even closer, allowing you to appreciate their appearance and behaviour. There may also be butterflies, bees and hoverflies in any planted areas. A book on wildflowers will help you to identify any plants you find, and a hand lens opens up the fascinating world of insects.
• Try birdwatching. Birds are adaptable creatures and can be found just about everywhere. Even once uncommon birds, like the Kingfisher, can now be found in the heart of the city.
• Visit the community orchard, or perhaps take up an allotment. All through the year, enthusiastic gardeners are on hand to show off their plots to anyone who has an interest in gardening or the outdoors. This is a great way of developing your gardening skills, growing healthy food organically, getting some exercise and meeting like-minded people. It’s also a great way of observing wildlife, especially birds and insects, and sharing your experiences with others.
• Get involved. Local volunteer groups, such as The Friends of Philips Park, play a vital and inspirational role in the management and improvement of the area. This responsibility is shared amongst other organisations, such as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), Red Rose Forest and the Groundwork Trust. Projects include everything from wildflower planting and woodland thinning, to historic interpretation and landscape planning.
Located at the entrance on Stuart Street,
open 9am – 5pm.
• Stuart Street via Manchester Velodrome
• Fairclough Street off Bank Street
Arriving By Bus
• From Manchester City Centre: the 217 and 218 buses (Manchester to Tameside General Hospital) stop on Alan Turing Way near the park.
• Other services include the 53(Cheetham Hill to Old Trafford), the 54(Cheetham to the Trafford Centre) and the 185(Sportcity to North Manchester General Hospital).
• Visit www.gmpte.com for bus times.
Arriving By Car
Car parking is available at the nearby Manchester Velodrome.
The information on this page has been kindly provided by the Ramblers’ Association – Britain’s biggest charity working to promote walking and to improve conditions for all walkers. For more information visit www.ramblers.org.uk/firststeps, or telephone 020 7339 8500