On Sunday 20th May the Friends will hold an opening ceremony for the new Levenshulme station community orchard and the refurbished Highfield Park ‘lattice footbridge’, starting at 11 a.m.
The planned programme for the event is:
- 11 a.m. at the orchard site (Crayfield Road/Kersh Avenue Loop entrance): opening remarks by Friends Secretary David Beetham, ceremonial tape-cutting by local residents and photo session.
- 11.30 a.m. (approximately) at the lattice bridge site: some reminiscences from Friends member (and Friends of Highfield Park chair) Alec Cowan, tape-cutting by him and St Andrew’s school representatives and photo session.
The fruit orchard, comprising apple, cherry, plum, greengage and pear trees, has been made possible using funds from the Friends, including a Manchester City Council environment award, with matched funding from the Government’s Big Tree Plant initiative, and sponsorship by local people. Sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which owns the Fallowfield Loop, provided equipment and manpower for ground preparation, including Community Payback personnel. The Friends, several local Levenshulme groups and individuals were involved in the actual planting, with help from the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers. The orchard project also involved two fruit tree grafting workshops, led by members of the Friends. The grafts are currently being ‘fostered’ by local people until they are large enough to add to the orchard.
The ‘lattice bridge’ is almost the only remaining railway artefact on the Loop. The footbridge connects the north-west corner of Highfield Country Park with Thorncliffe Grove and is well used by recreational walkers and schoolchildren. The refurbishment work involved replacing the top surface and several corroded metal plates supporting it, repointing the brickwork, replacing coping stones and repainting the metal latticework in the colours of the railway company that built the line. The Manchester office of Sustrans sourced a grant for this work from the Department for Transport’s Links to Schools programme and organised the refurbishment, which has been a long-standing aim of the Friends.