Cath Dyson goes for a run in Whalley Range and finds beautiful buildings, houses to covet and a wonderful park.
There are some lovely buildings, streets and green spaces in South Manchester so this week’s run, walk or cycle is a short tour of just a few. I did a leisurely 45-minute jog of the 6km-ish (depending on how much time you choose to spend in Alexandra Park) route. For a walk, it’s no more than 1hr 30min, while a bike ride’s an easy half-hour.
If you’re setting off from Chorlton tram stop, exit up the stairs, and cross Wilbraham Road. There’s a footpath just by the Chorlton Tap which takes you down to St Werburgh’s tram stop and the start of the Fallowfield Loop.
This former railway line is now a cross-town footpath/cycleway which will take you all the way to Debdale if you travel its full lenth. But that’s not for today. Carry on for about 1km until you get to the sign for Alexandra Park, then turn left up Athol Road (1), a street with some very handsome large houses. Turn right onto Wilbraham Rd, then left into Spring Bridge Road.
Head north on Spring Bridge Road, passing the grand-looking façade of the old building of William Hulme Grammar School (2) on your right. Follow the road to its end and you’ll find yourself at Alexandra Park. I love the view as you approach from the South: the stone pillars, the greenery of the park, families, joggers and the city centre’s sky-scrapers rising up in the far distance.
Alex Park (3), recently restored, has fantastic sports facilities, children’s play areas, formal planting, a fishing lake full of birds, beautiful buildings and the Pavilion, housing Coffee Cranks Café.
When it’s time to leave, exit the park near the top left on the Whalley Range side, cross Alexandra Road South, onto Range Road (4) (alongside St Edmund’s Church). You’ll pass by a very cute community garden. On your left, just before the junction with Withington Road, you’ll see an impressive conversion of a horse tram depot (5), which is now an apartment block.
cottTurn right onto Withington Road, then left onto Dudley Road. This is another of Whalley Range’s quiet streets of grand houses, including the 18th-century cotton trader’s mansion (6) on your right. At the end of Dudley Road turn right onto College Road passing the imposing British Muslim Heritage Centre (7) on your left. This grade II* listed treasure was built in the 1840s, when Whalley Range itself was new. It was an independent college, then later a training college for the GMB union.
Follow College Road to the right and then take the next left down Park Drive until you reach the busy Clarendon Road and (8) Manley Park.
From here you can follow Clarendon Road to Manchester Road and ‘NoCho’ (north Chorlton), or turn left onto Egerton Road and choose any of the fine streets to your right to get back into Chorlton. One of my favourites is Salisbury Road, which has some very lovely large houses, worthy of a covet.
Cath co-organises guided walks and navigation training. Her book, Navigate Your Way Around the South Pennines is published by Sigma Press. www.mapandcompass.wix.com/mapandcompass