“The bridge has local significance to Gorton, and to highlight its history would be an asset to the journey of the trail.”
Today we’re bringing you news of one of our recent Stronger Communities Grants, given to the Gorton Heritage Trail Committee for the purposes of educating users of the Fallowfield Loop when they come to the site of the old Debdale Railway Bridge.
As many Manchester readers may know, last year a brand new bridge was installed on Hyde Road, one of the main arteries into Manchester city centre, in order to ease congestion. The original Debdale Railway Bridge was over 65 tonnes and dated back to the 1890s! The bridge is part of the 8mile long public footpath known as the ‘Fallowfield Loop’ as that is what it was called when it was a railway line until discontinued in the 1980s. See a picture below of one of We Love MCR’s previous Chair of Trustees, and former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Abid Latif Chohan at the opening.
The Gorton Heritage Trail Committee, 25 years old this year, maintains the public footpath trail which includes the Gore Brook Valley Conservation area in the immediate area of that section of Hyde Road, and links into adjacent Debdale Park. The trail identifies all historical and natural features of the area, seeking to preserve and publicise them for the benefit of the local community. The trail is open for anyone to use and is identified by lecterns and maps that the committee has erected. Gore Brook Valley is a conservation area due to archaeological finds during the building of the historic railway line in the 19th century, including a 5,000 year old Neolithic age stone axe!
Clearly there is a lot of history to acknowledge in Gorton, and we’re very proud to be supporting the Heritage Trail Committee with a grant to install a lectern at the site of the new bridge – where a section of the old bridge has been saved at the request of the group and local councillors so that there would be some memory of the structure. The lectern will draw attention not only to the bridge but also to Gorton’s historic association with the building of locomotives.
The work on Hyde Road which included the replacement of the bridge also involved the Gorton Heritage Trail Committee in improving the conservation area’s landscape and planting new trees as well as distributing information leaflets to local schools. The group believes the overall outcome is a raising of local awareness of the natural world and historic past of Gorton among both school children and the general public.
The group said to us on award of the grant:
“This is great news, a big thank you to We Love MCR Charity! The grant will make a big difference not only to the Heritage Trail but to the community projects with which it is linked that are aimed at improving the profile of Gorton.”
If you know of any other projects like this in Manchester in need of funding, visit the Stronger Communities Fund page and get in touch!