Middlewood Locks: #surprisingsalford #46

Salford in snow 2 Feb 200904
Looking over Middlewood Locks back in 2009

I regularly walk along Oldfield Road in Salford and when I do I always stop and look at the view over the river to Manchester.  The panorama takes in Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, and something of a novelty for some time.  I only took my camera the day it snowed in 2009 and you will notice the lack of tall cranes in the photograph.  This was the height of the economic downturn and it looked as if Beetham Tower might stand alone.  I always thought that if any area was crying out to be a green space it was this one and would imagine sitting on this gently sloping bank with a picnic looking across at the bustle of Manchester and this always changing and interesting view.

Middlewood Locks is part of the 15-mile long Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal which ran from Salford to Prestolee, near Little Lever, from where one arm ran to Bolton and another to Bury.  A spectacular breach in 1936 on the Bury arm led to the canal’s eventual closure.  There are long-term plans to eventually restore the canal and the first section from the River Irwell through the Middlewood Locks development is complete.  From there the line of the canal followed the railway line to Salford Crescent and Agecroft.

Instead of my dreamed-about park, the recession ended and the cranes returned.  Over the last few years the large site has been developed [along with many other sites in Salford] for housing [or a neighbourhood as the developers call it].  When complete the site will have blocks of flats, townhouses, gardens, offices, a hotel, restaurants, bars, shops, a gym and parking.

What makes this site attractive for a Salfordian is that, after being closed for access for so long,  we can now walk from East Ordsall Lane along the small section of canal through the development.  Eventually we should be able to walk from the River Irwell path to Middlewood Locks.  I could now sit and have that picnic by the canal.  The pictures below were taken recently along the pleasant landscaped path showing the views to Manchester and the lovely Ordsall Chord bridge.  Not all of Greater Manchester’s developments provide this sort of access and it is appreciated.