If you’re after some fresh air this weekend, go for one of these walks that aren’t too far from Manchester!
Remember when the only exercise we were allowed was an hour outdoor walk? Seems like a lifetime ago now, doesn’t it!
But it forced people outside and many have found themselves pretty obsessed with walking. And that’s not a bad thing, it’ll get you fit and boost your mood for a start.
So if you’ve found yourself all out of walking routes why not give one of these a go this weekend!
A classic walk in Tameside is the one up and around Hartshead Pike and on a good clear day will promise you views of Manchester, and even Snowdonia in Wales. The Grade II listed building was built to celebrate the marriage of Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra.
Another pike that will give you dead good views of Manchester is Rivington Pike. There’s also the reservoir, and if you get there early enough you might even get a spot on the very small bit of ‘beach’.
This is a big old reservoir that’ll take a good portion of your day to walk around, or a nice few hours on a bike. It’s a good drive away from the city centre, taking about an hour from Glossop, but the views are definitely worth it! It’s pretty flat all the way round and can look incredibly picturesque.
A classic walk, no list would be complete without a nod to Mam Tor. You probably have done it at some point in your life, maybe it was when you had to measure how fast an orange went down a stream on a Geography trip. It’ll be green for miles so you’ll definitely be feeling fresh.
A huge estate owned by the National Trust, you know this one is gonna be pretty. The grounds are home to gorgeous gardens, structures and even a deer park so you’re bound to get your nature fix here.
There’s a real pick ‘n’ mix of walls available on this one with the reservoir being the main starting point. Head for the hills with your freshly bought lockdown treat walking boots and get some cracking views and the freshest of air in your lungs. While you’re in that neck of the woods, there are plenty of good chunky walks around Macclesfield forest.
If you fancy seeing a waterfall, this is the one for you. Kinder Scout is a moorland plateau and National Nature Reserve and will offer fantastic views of Winter Hill in Bolton and on super-duper clear days even Snowdonia. The best view is where the Kinder River flows into an amazing waterfall at Kinder Downfall.
Speaking of Winter Hill, you can definitely do that one, too. Although it sounds like something from Game of Thrones it, unfortunately, is not that exciting. Unless you’re after a 1,500-foot hilltop walk and some cracking views OBVS! You’ll also find a medieval manor house, Smithills Hall.
This one starts on the Huddersfield Canal but has some good heart-pumping hill sections. There are a number of options to shorten the route or skip out the hills if you’d rather call in for a swift pint somewhere in Saddleworth. No judgement here.
Worsley Village Circular
This is a good leisurely one if you fancy bobbing in for a pint somewhere or getting a nice sandwich that will be served with a side of own-brand crisps. It’s about a 3-mile (5km) walk that’s got just about everything you need; pubs, a picturesque village, greens, a canal, a church and even an aviary. Job done, that’s enough outside for one weekend.
South Pennine Water Trail
A short 5-mile trail perfect for those who don’t want a huge hike and really good for animal lovers with a nature reserve and bird hide near Hollingworth lake (that’s actually a reservoir). Or you could just opt for a wander around Hollingworth Lake itself which is a nice 3.8km walk.
The story behind Manchester’s mysterious Withy Grove Stores
It looks like it’s not been touched for 40 years, so what’s really going on in there…
Surrounded by chicken shops and takeaways sits an oddity in modern Manchester, the Withy Grove Stores.
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s abandoned, a relic from the 1980s that time and gentrification forgot, confusingly located round the back of the Printworks.
In fact, the safe and office supply store is very much still active, although you can’t just walk in off the street and have a browse – the whole thing raises so many questions, like who owns it? Why hasn’t it been bought and turned into a chicken shop? Is it being used as a front?
Well, the guys over at Manchester’s Finest had a bit of a dig around into the history of the building, and we now have some answers to your questions.
They spoke to a safe and office interior company called Withy Grove Office Interiors, who explained that the company began on Withy Grove in Manchester all the way back in 1850.
However, the history goes even further back, when the Richmond Safe Company was set up by John R Solomon back in 1799, supplying iron-branded and ironclad strongboxes for ships.
The Richmond Safe Company continued to operate until around 1840, at which point they located to offices on Withy Grove and renamed themselves Withy Grove Stores. From here the company expanded, eventually running three sites in the North of England – Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds (the company still operates from Leeds now).
For over 130 years the shop on Withy Grove flogged safes and furniture, impervious to the rapid change and development around it – the Withy Grove Printing House, which printed the Daily Mirror among other titles, closed down in 1985, while the Arndale popped up over the road in the late 1970s.
During the 1980s, it appears the Solomon brothers all fell out over something and each site was broken up and given to one of them to look after. The Leeds site was sold off to private owners by Casper Solomon, but the Manchester location is still very much owned by a Solomon to this day.
A quick check on Companies House shows the Directors of the company are Brian Solomon and Anthony Solomon, and both still own and run the Withy Grove Stores on Withy Grove. Financial statements show the company ran at a substantial loss in both 2018 and 2019, which isn’t really surprising.
So what do they do there and why is it never open? Manchester’s Finest rang up the store’s phone number – found on their still active website – and this is what happened: “The phone was answered by a lovely woman, and we were told that the shop is indeed open and she proceeded to bang out some rather erratic opening times for the week ahead.”
So there you go, if you are in the market for a safe or office chair, give them a ring and grab yourself a retro little number when lockdown is over.
A thread on Reddit also delved into the mystery of Withy Grove Stores, and some people revealed their own experiences with the shop, including actually buying stuff from it.
A user called MR_EXCELLENT wrote: “I rang Mr.Solomon myself a few years ago to ask if I could rent a bit of space in the building, he declined stating he gets dozens of calls every week asking him to ‘sell up’. He told me his dad built the building and he’ll never sell, I told him how much I like the building and how much I’d hate to see a big company ruin it, he told me he thought it would make an excellent Italian restaurant. Good chat! He seemed to be happy to talk to someone who appreciated the building but he could have just been too polite to tell me to fuck off.”
Redditor asidonhopo added: “I went in about 8 years ago or so. Wanted a nice comfy computer chair and it looked like they had some interesting old school office stuff in there, so I rang and the lady said she’d be around that Saturday and to knock on. Her dad used to own the place apparently, she was dead happy for me to just root around through all the old stuff and chat away.”
Pedro-a-go-go actually bought something from there: “I’ve bought stuff in there before, admittedly about 15 years ago. Needed a load of office ‘in trays’ for work. There was a lot of standing about as the bloke was dealing with someone buying a safe, and couldn’t work out how it to change the combination on the safe he was demonstrating. He ended up snapping a teaspoon and jamming it in the lock to try to get it to change. The person didn’t buy the safe. Also office in trays are REALLY expensive….”
And so did Redditor scottynoble: “I bought a safe from there in 2008. Still have it. Friend who recently passed away was a big deal at printworks recommended the place and got me a discount. Was like stepping into 1971, lovely people.”
If you’re having really weird dreams this lockdown here’s why
(Don’t worry, you’re not the only one)
If you’re finding yourself having super weird dreams and actually being able to remember them in the morning, don’t panic, you’re not alone.
Tonnes of people across the country have been reporting the exact same thing during lockdown. Luckily a scientist has given us a clever explanation that will calm down all our fears that self-isolation might be getting to us.
There are a lot of contributing factors that stem from being in lockdown that are changing our dream patterns. One of the biggest one is increased stress and anxiety levels due to the uncertainty of the world right now.
Many, in fact, most people are finding themselves with financial worries and pressures like never before.
Cabin fever is also a huge factor to our unconscious thinking patterns and a lot of people are having dreams of being stuck, whether that formulates as a room with no doors or a shipwreck you’re stuck on – it all comes down to a feeling of being stuck inside. Which is pretty self explanatory.
We’re all also spending more time than ever with the same few people which will be having an effect on your dreams.
Other reasoning comes down to the fact that our homes are physically warmer because we’re all in it, potentially with the heating on. When we’re asleep and warm we have more vivid dreams.
Some people’s dreams might not be that spectacular – finding themselves down the local having a frosty pint of their favourite beer (which does actually sound spectacular tbh) – and that’s completely fine too.
Life has become monotonous, what with ‘going to work’ including rolling out of bed and walking the 10 steps to the dining table. Basically we’re just missing normality and craving the things we would do in an average week.
There’s even a reason as to why we’re all remembering our dreams like they’re a blockbuster movie too.
As we’re all having a little lie-in in the morning, with some of us not even setting an alarm, we can move into that REM sleep.
While we’re in REM sleep our brains are more active, dreams get longer and more vivid. With our alarms not going off, we stay in this type of sleep for longer, dreams extend, get weirder and we can then remember them when we get up.
So whatever your dreams involve, you’re not crazy just isolated!! Keep dreaming kids!
Who remembers Manchester’s hugely popular Granada Studios Tour?
Ahh the memories…
It was Manchester’s answer to Universal Studios, but with the Coronation Street set…
After a successful decade-long run of providing fun for Manchester, the demise of the Granada Studio Tour began after visitor numbers dwindled – meaning the tour sadly shut up shop for one last time.
One of the biggest reasons as to why can be put down to poor businesses practises at ITV, which saw the company lose millions.
The main culprit was the Sky-like service called ‘ONDigital’, which launched in 1998 and was forced into administration just four short years later.
It was pretty much the exact same concept as Sky, only the exclusive shows were essentially rubbish and the whole thing flopped.
At this point the Granada Studios Tour was seen as a large and unnecessary expense, and unfortunately closed down.
The tour was the brainchild of Granada producer David Plowright, who proposed to create a ‘Hollywood-on-the-Irwell‘ – and that he did. Sort of, anyway.
The tour first opened its doors in 1988, expecting to welcome 250,000 in the first year, but in the initial eight months alone 600,000 people visited to take in the sights.
Arguably the most popular attraction was the Coronation Street set which in 2013 moved to MediaCity, built on an even bigger scale with the chance to go inside too!
In 2018 Victoria Street was added, which features a garden and memorial bench paying tribute to the Manchester Arena bombing 22 victims and Coronation Street super fan Martyn Hett.
The old Granada Studios Tour might not have been the bright lights of LA or Hollywood, but you don’t get much more Mancunian than that cobbled street!
What are your favourite memories of the tour?