Preston is full of surprises. In a previous post, I’ve told of my Highgate Wood mini adventure. A woodland I had walked past many a time and never once got round to venturing in until this year. At least I had heard of that particular beautiful spot but Conway Park was a place I had never even heard of. And when I did hear the name, for some reason I got it into my head that it was an area of open space, maybe a park for children to play, a grassy field with play equipment to one side. And that would be it. Fun for children, respite for parents but not of particular interest for walkers and explorers of secret nature havens and mini beauty spots.
But one day, meeting up with a friend for a local walk, she told me about a map given to her by someone she knew. On it was our local area and mapped out was a walk. Conway Park was mentioned.
‘It looks like our normal local walk ‘, my friend said. And it did. But we set off anyway, following the map. Everything looked familiar until…
‘I think we go right here,’ Caroline said.
And that was when our usual suburban trek turned into more of a mystery trail. For there at the end of that cul-de-sac of houses was a signpost and, behind it, a park.
The sign said Conway Park. There was a path to the right and one to the left. We turned left and followed the woodland trail past a sports pitch with a pavilion, and then along a river.
We came across a sign for a new 80-acre nature reserve/public open space, The Village Parklands, being created. I love it when I see natural spaces being protected or created instead of being destroyed.
We continued our walk along the river and finally ended up along a narrow wooded path, ending up at a different part of our usual walk! We had wandered past the public footpath many a time, never realising the secret behind it. As a child, I had a thing about secret passageways, and here was one I was discovering as an adult!
The Friends of Conway Park, formed in 2015, is made up of members who work for the benefit of the park. The park itself is owned by Preston City Council. Currently the Friends has a crowdfunding campaign (50K by May fundraising campaign) to improve the children's playground, create a dry standing area for watching football, and a new path along the length of the park. The park will eventually join up with the new Village Parkland.