Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Recollections of the Green Path area by Margaret Levens (nee Bleasdale, Barker)

My memories are from about 1950 to 1956. We lived in a Prefab on Ashton Road but had to move to a bigger house on Hala Carr as by then there were three children. I remember walking with my father on Saturday afternoon or Sunday mornings and doing longer walks when he was on holiday. He taught me about the wonders of nature; the seasons, life cycle of trees and habits of animals and birds. We went up over Ripley Heights (which was a hard climb at first for my little legs) and making a noise going across the metal bridge.

I also liked going through Haverbreaks and seeing all the nice houses and lovely big gardens on route, over the stone bridge and on to the long narrow track with high hedges which dad called The Kendal Pads. We would pick blackberries and go into open fields foraging for mushrooms for next day’s breakfast. When I got older, on holidays, we went to Aldcliffe onto the shore, coming back a long way round through Freeman’s wood and past Abraham Heights Farm down Piggy Hill and back that way. Sometimes dad gave me a piggy back just for fun. Dad knew all the names of the tracks and streams.

I loved every season especially spring, seeing new lambs, primroses on the banking, bluebells, insects, trees just in bud and birds nesting. Of course seeing autumn colours and Conker time was good fun too.

I went to Dallas Road junior school and had a friend who lived at the end of Wingate Saul Road near the allotments so would visit her and play around the area. Our school playing field was near Carr House farm. We had our sports days there with running, sack, three legged, egg and spoon races and such like. We went down Dallas Road in a long line, holding hands in two’s. I attended St Thomas Church Sunday School and went to the St Johns Ambulance Brigade cadets and Brownies there too. We went on outings and had picnics in the field at the bottom of Cromwell Road. We went through a big gate into a very lumpy field [the lynchets] on a slope with a stream at the bottom. We used to try and roll down it and end up rather messy. It wasn’t easy to walk on or have a picnic on really.

At senior school I had a few friends who lived in the area so still visited on occasions and got to see my old haunts. Throughout my adult life I mostly lived around this area so have been aware and watched its development with much interest. I live on Abraham Heights and had a new house (1989-2005) that overlooked the Path and fields across to Ripley Heights but then downsized to the centre of the estate. It was so nice to walk the path with its hawthorn boundary hedge behind the house leading onto Sunnyside Close and later watch the development of the Orchard. I took my grandchildren to Fairfield playground that way and like my father had done before with me, taught them about nature. Sometimes we would go the other way, to the canal via the same path with its high hedges, avoiding the nettles and looking for wild things! Such fond memories.

Margaret Levens (nee Bleasdale, Barker)

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