MANCHESTER HAS MANY BEAUTIFUL PARKS, including this one named after the suburb it is situated in, namely [Chorlton].

This side of the park is bordered by a tree-lined dual carriageway named [Hardy] Lane after the neighbouring suburb. No connection with one half of an American comedy duo whose other half came originally from north west England.

We are close to one of Manchester's old houses, now sandwiched between the two office buildings in the distance. The house is called [Hough End] Hall, also the name of the large playing fields very close to here.

EWM says: Why oh why did they have to build those two office blocks in the grounds of that Elizabethan-style house, hiding it from the main road?

THE WIDE OPEN EXPANSE OF [HOUGH END] PLAYING FIELDS is seen here above a bed of daffodils occupying the central reservation of [Princess] Road, the main highway south of the city.

Four of the main office buildings of the city centre can be seen rising above the trees on the other side of the playing fields. On the far left is the yellow-tiled [Arndale] House, part of the shopping centre of the same name.

In the centre of the picture is a trio of buildings - the [CIS] building on the left, built 1962 and still Manchester's highest building. In the centre, appearing higher, as it's closer, is the [Sunley] Building, part of [Piccadilly] Plaza, opened 1965 and named after the property developer who created it. Just to the right is [Portland] Tower, named after the city centre street it stands next to. It was built in 1962 as the offices of Scottish Widows Fund. Present owners Bruntwood Properties have painted the west facade in a yellow that matches the daffodils to help publicise the [Commonwealth Games].

EWM says: Manchester's post-war skyline has something of the appeal of an American city, though on a much smaller scale. The tall buildings of the centre provide a focus for miles around, but should high-rise office blocks ever have been imposed on a Victorian city? Or should they have built them taller and higher. Currently there are no plans for any buildings taller and higher than the ones already there.

WE ARE ON [PRINCESS] ROAD, the main highway south out of Manchester, the A[5103] which leads to the M56. We are in the central reservation looking down a gentle slope at the bridgte over the disused Manchester to Didsbury, Cheadle Heath and Derby railway line.

On the right is the Catholic Church of St Bernadette's. A double decker bus operated by Stagecoach is on its way south to the huge council-run residential area of [Wythenshawe]. The local authority area is the [City of Manchester].

EWM says: This road , along with Kingsway, is a product of the urban development of the 1920's - originally trams ran down the central reservation until their disappearance in the 1940's. Hopefully trams will soon be running again along the disused railway line to Didsbury and Stockport.

JUST TO PROVE THAT MANCHESTER is still a port, this view over roadside daffodils just three miles west of the city centre includes an ocean-going ship. The Ocean Osprey is currently undergoing a refit at Manchester Dry Docks, located just on the other side of the fence. To the left of the wire mesh are fuel containers belonging to the Manchester Fuels Terminal.

But we are not in the City of Manchester! - This scene is on the south bank of the Manchester Ship Canal so we are in the Borough of [Trafford], which also features in the name of a world famous football ground, and in the name of the former dockside road we are standing, on, namely [Trafford Wharf].

EWM says: It's wonderful still to be able to see real ships 35 inland, close to the heart of Manchester.

WE ARE IN THE CENTRAL RESERVATION in the middle of the main A[56] running south west out of Manchester towards Sale, Altrincham and Lymm. Here's a clue to the name of the district: Just south of here, is where the road crosses the River [Mersey], marking the boundary between the ancient counties of Lancashire and Cheshire. The name of the local district is [Stretford] - not to be confused with Shakespeare's birthplace, which is spelt with an 'a'.

This was once a city in its own right, and is still a prominent destination on road signs. Now it's part of the Metropolitan Borough of [Trafford]. The tall block of flats in the centre of the picture is also named after this former city, and can be seen for miles around. We are just north of the Mersey, so the ancient or geographical county is [Lancashire].

EWM says: Whilst taking this photograph, I inadvertently dropped my mobile phone into the grass. I thought it had gone for good and got a free replacement upgrade. Little did I know that someone had picked it up and the next day he called Ann's number. Many thanks to Lawrence from Abbey Hey for proving that there are still honest people around in Manchester!

CANALS, RIVERS AND EXPANSES OF WATER are a feature of the landscape of Manchester and surrounding areas. Some are still in commercial use, others now form picturesque settings, as here in the town of [Lymm] in the county of [Cheshire]. The Bridgewater Canal passes through the town, though this is the

This town is part of the local authority district of [Warrington].

EWM says: This spot is a good example of how a place of 18th century waterside industry has evolved into a contemporary picture book paradise. The pict

WATER, RIVERS AND MERES are a major feature of the county of [Cheshire] situated to the south of Manchester and the River Mersey.

In this picture is a unique survival from the medieval age - a water mill which has been restored to working order and now belongs to the National Trust. Above the bank to the right is a small lake constructed in the middle ages to provide water to turn the millstones inside.

We are at the southern foot of a hill famous for its views, woods, ancient mines and mythical connections. The place is [Nether Alderley], also the name of this mill.

EWM: I never knew about the lake, though you can't walk around it as the surrounding land is private property. The mill, which once helped to make bread for the local community, provides a vivid glimpse into medieval life.

 

We are in Cheshire on the A34 about 25 miles south of Manchester. This is the oldest half-timbered church still in use in Europe. It features a uniquely designed tower set above a half-timbered base.

This is [Marton] Church, near the east Cheshire town of Congleton, an important destination on road signs in Manchester.

EWM says: One of the wonders of the UK, as opposed to North America or Australia, is the close proximity of the medieval world, as exemplified in buildings such as this which have been unchanged for years.

THE VILLAGE OF [ASTBURY] just south of Congleton, is one of the most picturesque places in Cheshire. The church is unique in that it has a steeple which is separate from the main building. In springtime the triangular green is covered in a spectacular display of daffodils. This scene has the quintessential charm of the English shires. Well away from the city, it's unlikely this spot will change very much in the next 20 years.

EWM says: I've been planning some daffodil shots from this location for some time, and this year I finally got them. It's well worth the 30 mile drive down the A34 from Manchester to see them.

WE ARE IN CHESHIRE JUST HALF A MILE from Manchester Airport Runway Two, and the City of Manchester boundary. The sun is about to set, the evening rays are lighting up the daffodils on the green in front of us. We are just off the A538 which links Altrincham and Wilmslow, via tunnels under both runways.

The village where we are located is named after the green we see here. This is [Morley Green], which despite nearby airport expansion and the current widening of the A538, has managed to preserve the spirit of old England.

EWM says: It's often forgotten that the City of Manchester's expansion has been mostly south of the Mersey into Cheshire. Runway Two is the most recent incursion into the Garden County. Many fear that motorway and airport-related development will turn rural districts such as this into suburbs of Manchester. Will this scene be a new town centre, housing estate or business park in 20 years? Keep visiting Eyewitness in Manchester to find out!

THAT'S ALL FROM THIS UPDATE of Eyewitness in Manchester. More photos and articles will appear shortly. All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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