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A step in the right direction as new walking trail opens

05 September 2018

Royal Horticultural Society specialist Anne Gunning with child volunteers.

A previously unloved space next to Spotland Library has been transformed into a beautiful walking trail, thanks to the work of local volunteers carried out with us.

Rochdale in Bloom volunteers have created the 200-metre urban walking trail on land we've provided to the community, with the help from a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Greening Grey Britain grant and specialist support.

The tranquil route is suitable for all ages and abilities, and includes planters and a garden with sensory plants. A sensory garden is an area that is designed to stimulating the senses through plants that engage the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.

Distance markers along the route will help people monitor their progress. A 55+ independent living scheme overlooks the site and the In Bloom team are hoping that residents there will be regular users of the newly developed trail.

A recent Greater Manchester survey* shows that 28 per cent of people in Rochdale are classed as inactive, completing less than 30 minutes of exercise per week. This is higher than the 22 per cent average for England. The new trail aims to tackle inactivity, promote health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

The walking trail will be made even better over time and, once complete, will include special landscape features. Information boards will be installed with advice from Living Well Rochdale on walking, health and getting active.

Planters donated by Rochdale's Frankie & Benny's restaurant and manoeuvred into position by us have also been added to the trail.

In autumn 2018, pupils from Meanwood Primary School will also plant wildflower seeds to encourage more wildlife into the area.

Philip Massey, Rochdale in Bloom volunteer said: "The walking trail has been built on a previously neglected piece of land. Now it's been cleaned up, it provides a space for our community to reflect and take their time as they enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of walking. The path is perfect for people who are prescribed light exercise or who struggle to walk for long periods."

Councillor Ali Ahmed, assistant to Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "Walking is the easiest way to add some physical activity to your day and is something that can be enjoyed by most people. This site is the perfect example of the fantastic work Rochdale in Bloom has done this year. Rochdale in Bloom has already won gold at the Regional In Bloom Awards 2017, and initiatives like this show that was just the start for this ambitious project."

*Survey information from the Greater Manchester Local Delivery Pilot Strategic Investment Plan.

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