If you browse Pinterest, blimp Instagram or scroll through Twitter, you might feel that adventures are for people very unlike you. For the people who have the skills to solo climb the highest cliff or dive the deepest sea (with the newest and best tech around to record it). But you know what? I want to share with you that adventure is not about all that. Sure it can be, but it is not where it has to be.
I’m your regular kind of person. I live in an urban part of a big city and am far from minted. Yet, we still have excellent adventures. Sometimes the best ones are local adventures.
A bizarre thing happened on Sunday morning. We saw the sun rise from inside the house. The reason this is bizarre is because we do my “reverse commute” every morning which means that we see the sun come up as we’re on our way into town. We have seen it rise from inside the house before, but having just come back from Poland recently, it has taken some adjusting. (especially as we were in the countryside for two days before getting back to the city)
Despite the work, with a looming rain cloud on the forecast we decided that it would get outside. Admin could wait for when the rain clouds came. So grabbing our day bag (or my 32 litre handbag!) we headed out.
Rather than going the usual way, I remembered chatting to a neighbour some time ago about a different route to one of our large local parks. We thought why not and headed towards where we though the way might be. It wasn’t! But we did enjoy exploring a part of our area that we would never have done had it not been for our misguided directions. To rectify the situation, we pulled out our digital maps and worked on a real route.
A new avenue
With directions and our map in hand we made it to the entrance – not without a few doubts along the way, mind you, with roads being closed and diversions in place. However, at the bottom of the hill we arrived at Clayton Vale. From looking at the park, you might not think it is all that, but it is a park with a lot of history and stories to tell. It has even been descried as “A shining example of urban country parkland and a haven for wildlife” by The Heritage Trail. Take that urban nature doubters!
I can contest to the amount of nature that you can find in Clayton Vale, even though I didn’t quite catch the Kingfisher that a fellow resident out with his smiley Staffie alerted me to. It really is a lovely local nature reserve and only 3 miles from the city centre.
Water and woods
Although we have visited Clayton Vale many a time in the ten years we have lived in the area, we never tire of exploring there. Finding a new route to take or going a different way around the park makes it the perfect place for a local adventure.
So many of my friends are guilty of not revisiting park and areas because “I’ve already been there”. And I will argue this one until I am blue in the face. Seasons change places, the weather, your mood and your outlook all make them different each and every time. You can take a different route, look from a new angle or even go with someone else to find a change. Even between our visit last September and now, you can see a vast difference.
We continued our walk down some other paths that we hadn’t spotted before which took us to Philip’s Park. Yes, we are so lucky that we have two very large parks that are pretty much attached to each other.
Philip’s Park is no less amazing wither, being one of the world’s first municipal parks which was opened in 1846. And it covers over 31 acres, so not a small place either.
You’d be hard pushed to not find a new route in a park this big and we discovered a way marker that might have been hidden by plants on our other visits. We found ‘Tulip Valley’. Curious and as my friend Jon put it on Instagram, “following my Dutch obsession”. We walked down the hill to wha looked to us like an old formal garden woven with paths.
With delight we spotted an information stand! Unfortunately it has seen better days, but we were able to grasp a small amount of history and the fact that at one time there were over fifty thousand tulips in the garden! Can you imagine the display in spring?
Canal to town
With tummies now grumbling we decided to make our way into town via the Ashton Canal, which is accessed from the park gate onto Alan Turing Road. A swift walk down the hill and you’re right there on the towpath that will take you past the Manchester City stadium.
The Ashton Canal is another of our favourite local adventures as you’re likely to spot something new on each walk. And you can listen to the local band doing a bit of practice in Beswick Mill on your way past.
Alleys and back streets
While heading to ind breakfast we wandered down back streets and alley ways that have been blocked off for one reason or another. Only to discover that one of the buildings has vanished! Well, the back of it at least. The funny part is that neither of us could remember what it was like there previously. Even though I walked that route every day when I walked in town.
And that wasn’t the end of our adventures either. We brunched ourselves up and headed home to feed the cats. Only to walk back into town via a different route, checking out the areas of the new build estates along the way.
Simply having some local adventures without an agenda, we discovered new parts to our local parks, disappearing buildings in town, some new street art and another entry into another park. Not bad! And we also covered around ten miles in that time too. So when you’re thinking of adventures being all mountains and far away lands, take a walk from your own back door and take a local adventure. You never know what you will come back with ideas for your next adventure, all without spending a penny! (or a little if you grab a brew!)
Take a look at a map and choose somewhere nearby for your next local adventure. I’d love to hear where you go and how you get on.
It’s not all about extreme sports and professional holiday snaps, it’s about getting out there!
Here’s to mine and your next local adventure!
When was the last time you went on a local adventure? What did you discover from your doorstep?
Let me know in the comments along with how your new local adventures go.