Monthly Archives: September 2012

Proud of Stockport? Proud of Chadkirk

Do you know someone who makes you Proud of Stockport? Is there someone who goes out of their way to make our borough a special place? Then nominate them for an award in our 2013 citizen awards by going to

I’m proud of Chadkirk.
I love the place.
I love the space.
And I love the care that has gone into it.
And I am immensely thankful that this special place benefits from the custodianship of John Rowland.

As Senior Ranger, he brings a unique set of skills and expertise.

Perhaps you too have benefited in some small way from the work he does with such cheer and generosity?

I have been involved with Friends of Chadkirk for a few months.
Even so, in that time, there has been a chance to see enough of the work of the resident Senior Ranger to be able to guess at the impact of his loss. The photos on the blog illustrate some his involvement with the local community. There’s all the evening meetings. Setting up the the pond dipping through his contacts with the Cheshire Active Naturalists. Liaising with SKMBC representatives to organise the meeting down by the river after the Bridge opening.

It was his daily presence that enabled a watchful eye to be kept on external contractors. Whether bridge building or hedge cutting, it can be that some one who cares passionately about Chadkirk will help steer activity towards the best outcome for the local community.Together with Alan, a member of the Ranger service, who plays a valuable role in the daily management of the Country Park, they make an effective team.

The renovation of the Walled Garden is a community enterprise illustrating the merits of co-operation between local authority and volunteers: it is the resident Senior Ranger who is on hand to manage that process. He knows which tasks to attend to, has the expertise to advise on planting schemes and ensures that the practical aspects of the job are set up when volunteers arrive to garden on task days.

Beyond that, his daily presence and diligent, cheerful vigilance can be seen in many smaller actions. Ever noticed how litter free Chadkirk is? In part that’s thanks to John. Daily he picks up litter. Daily he cleans the toilets at the car park. And as the need arises he talks with the people who visit the Country Park. Sometimes this involves a timely intervention, when a few rowdies might be upto mischief. Often it involves responding to an alarm in the middle of the night. It might be that wildlife set it off but he will not take that chance. By keeping careful watch, he safeguards Chadkirk for the rest of us.

If you have attended an event at Chadkirk, whether it is the Chadkirk Festival or the Bird Box Building, those who simply enjoy a daily walk, and those who like to sit and take in the beauty of the herbaceous borders, you will have seen and benefited from the work that John does.

Of course he might do more. But then he has a number of other parks, including Bramhall, in his job description. I’d like to see his role at Chadkirk expand. I’d like to see schools and other users benefit from his skills and unique local knowledge.

In the meantime, there are proposals that might see the days of a resident Senior Ranger in Chadkirk come to an end. And come to an end soon. The consultation exercise has begun.

Have your say. The invitation is out. A chance to influence decision makers.
Have your say…

Do you know someone who makes you Proud of Stockport? Is there someone who goes out of their way to make our borough a special place? Then nominate them for an award in our 2013 citizen awards by going to

Closing date: 26 October

Here’s the link to the Proud of Stockport page again:

Proud of Stockport Awards 2013.

There’s a new category: Our Place.
Do you know anyone who has made Our Place a better place to be?

Proud of Stockport Awards 2013.

Your Big Idea.

People power

Belt tightening and cost cutting. Front page news.
You can get the details on this from the local press and elsewhere.

I’m here to celebrate Chadkirk.
Nevertheless there is an awareness that Chadkirk sits in this context.
And in the current climate, the situation may have an impact on Chadkirk.

Friends of Chadkirk are meeting to discuss proposals from the Museums and Cultural Attractions branch of the local government. Along with other groups they have been invited to meetings at Staircase House on October 9th and 10th. Consultation. At Chadkirk, the Chapel falls in their bailliewick.

For many of the users of Chadkirk there is also an awareness that there may be changes afoot that will affect the wider environment. Those who walk round Chadkirk daily, or visit it regularly value it’s beauty, the open spaces, the fresh air. Like me they find it uplifting, energising and beneficial for body, mind and spirit. Chadkirk Country Park.

Chadkirk Country Park is managed by a different branch of local government: Greenspaces.
It seems reasonable to expect that changes are afoot here too.

Given the appeal from Stockport for members of the public to have their say, there is a temptation to wonder about the way the decision making process works. Nevertheless it must also be true that a silence will be seen as a chance to make cuts where people have not expressed any view.

There are a number of possibilities.
On line (see link below).
Letters can be written and left for councillors at the local library.
Appointments can be made to meet with local representatives to enquire and express an interest.

Stockport Council – Stockport Council Home Page.

Friends of Chadkirk plan to meet next week to discuss the proposals.
Date and time to follow.
Please come along.

Chadkirk Bridge Portrait Bench

At the September meeting of the Friends of Chadkirk there was a packed agenda.
More of which later.

One thing that was clear was that we weren’t clear… about the plans for the Portrait Bench. So…..a chain of emails later and this is an update from Sustrans:

the vote for the shortlisted characters is still open for on line voting through the SMBC (once on the council site search for Connect2 Project) where I believe both the details of each shortlisted candidate are available along with their current standings in the poll.  I am not sure of the exact deadline for the vote to close, but this will need to be shortly, so any encouragement to your blog audience should be to vote as soon as possible.
The final decision will be made by the Connect2 Project steering group under the chairmanship of Councillor Wright.  While Sustrans will be funding the bench as a part of the project we do not take part in the final decision as we wish the vote to reflect local opinions rather than our own. Our role is really just to set the parameters for what we require in order to produce the cut steel figures.
Peter Green
Area Manager Greater Manchester

This message is reproduced with the kind permission of Peter Green.

For those who may not have been following the Portrait Bench Poll, there are a couple of previous postings and a brief discussion of candidates.

1st October word from Sustrans:
For your information, the on-line voting finished last Friday and I’m currently waiting for confirmation of the results from our Communications Section”

Bookings being taken…

Harvest Supper and Harvest Festival take place on the last weekend in October.

Friday 26th October HotPot Supper and Quiz Night.
The Quiz night and HotPot Supper takes place in the Chapel, starting at 7.30pm.
£5 a ticket: there will be HotPot, with Apple Pie to follow and the chance to win prizes in the Quiz and/or the raffle. There are 60 places. Tickets are on sale now. They can be obtained through Staircase House.

Stockport Council – Staircase House.

They can be contacted directly on 0161 474 4444 or

The Harvest Festival Service takes place on the following Sunday in the Chapel.
This year the celebrations will be led by Rev Bernard Sword of Woodley and Romiley Methodist Church. The service begins at 3.30pm on 28th October.
No tickets are required. Contributions and collections will go to Wellspring.

The Wellspring – Home.

There will be no gardening on Thursday 20th September.
However Friends of Chadkirk will meet to garden on Saturday 6th October at 2 pm.
October’s meeting (for Friends of Chadkirk) is the Harvest Supper at the end of the month.

Portrait bench

Visitors to Chadkirk are enjoying the new Chadkirk Bridge. It has opened up possibilities, not just for cyclists but for walkers and riders, with many of them looping over the bridge and following new pathways.

There are a number of small developments planned for the near future including the installation of a Portrait Bench on the Marple side of the Chadkirk Bridge.
Here’s the link to the poll about the Portrait Bench to be erected on the Marple side of the new Chadkirk Bridge.

Stockport Council – Connect2.

This is part of the commitment which Sustrans made when they attracted lottery funding for the project.

A popular place…

This dragonfly was sunning itself on the wall between the chapel and the walled garden at Chadkirk on Saturday 1st September.

The warm sunshine on Saturday brought plenty of visitors to Chadkirk, the Chapel and the Walled Garden. While there were plenty of the two and four legged kind, it was a delight to spot some other, winged creatures enjoying the warm weather.

Thanks to the sharp eyes of one of our younger visitors, we all gathered round a tombstone in the graveyard. A tiny spec on the green foliage. Thanks to the Senior Ranger, this tiny butterfly could be identified.

Can you name the butterfly?
How about the dragonfly?


Things with wings

This dragonfly was sunning itself on the wall between the chapel and the walled garden at Chadkirk on Saturday 1st September.

How many visitors spotted this tiny butterfly on the foliage in the sun?
1st September 2012 outside the Chapel, Chadkirk

B+B at Chadkirk

That’s B+B for bats and birds, as visitors to the Chapel and gardens get to work.
Stage 1: Pick up the flatpack

Stage2: The finished product

….which might be the Ikea model of instructions for assembly.

Down at Chadkirk we do things differently, as the Senior Ranger is on hand to give instructions on construction and also to share his knowledge about the boxes’ potential inhabitants.

Today’s first bird box is completed by a proud craftsman:

This visitor is keen to add a home for bats and birds, making two boxes during the afternoon, ably assisted by the Senior Warden.

And the first of today’s bat boxes made by a father and daughter team out in the sunshine by the Chapel:

The bird boxes have small round entrance holes and the most likely occupants will be blue tits. During the winter family groups, perhaps with as many as 20 birds, gather together in the boxes to keep warm. This will help more of them survive the cold. In the spring most of these survivors will find a new place to nest. But if the owners of the new bird boxes are lucky, a pair will breed and bring up their brood in the box.

In comparison, bat boxes are of slightly different design. The bats land on the underside and then walk into the box through a gap. Bats make use of the box at different times of the year. Although any bats looking for a roost in the autumn may use the box now, it is more likely that they will wait until the spring. During the winter bats need more shelter and would look for some where offering more protection from the lowest temperatures – perhaps in a barn or a cave.

For visitors who took away a brand new bat box, it might be the spring time before bats move in. Then female bats will be looking for a roost to give birth to their young, usually one offspring to each female. As bats are protected species, once there is evidence that a bat is using the box, it cannot be opened and the bats cannot be disturbed. This may help offset all the roosts that have been lost as people reduce habitats and roosts.

We look forward to hearing about any future inhabitants of the new boxes. Even better, perhaps, photos to share on the blog.