Reddish Vale Country Park
The Estate itself had been on the Councils Development Plan for roughly 15 years showing the Councils intention to phase it out and relocate the existing tenants. It is important to mention that the tenants did not want to leave because the rents were extremely low.
In view of the importance of the newly revived river and the undoubted ugliness of the Industrial Estate, local people were pushing for the council to come to the necessary arrangement of clearing the Industrial Estate and handing it over from the Estates Department to the Leisure Department, now known as Parks and Recreation.
There was also the desire to apply for the title of Country Park for the Vale and for it to have greater status as a Nature Reserve. This could not happen whilst there was an Industrial Estate cheek by jowl with the Visitor Centre.
However, the ruling group which was Labour, decided to retain the Industrial Estate to protect jobs. The newly published Unitary Development Plan reflected this decision.
This decision was challenged by the Tame Valley Defence Group, supported by local people and it fell to the Tame Valley Defence Group to lobby on behalf of the tenants for a proper relocation programme.
Before this could happen local people had to be present at the various stages of objection. They were successful and it was then that the real work began of transforming the area into a natural haven for wildlife.
All images, copyright, Stockport Nature.Com
Reddish Vale Country Park
The Butterfly Field
In the 1990s the area now known as the Butterfly Field was an Industrial Estate owned by the council.
It had evolved from the old Print Works belonging to Calico Printers. There was one large firm, which made bricks. A good supply of water is essential for brick making and the source of this water was the river. However, by the 1990s, the river had benefitted immensely from the investment in our waterways by the Environment Agency and new life was ever more apparent as time went by.
The other tenants of the old estate were a collection of small businesses each employing a handful of people, indeed some were one-man set-ups such as car repairs and breakers.
Above, the old Print Works photographed in February 1979, the site has now been transformed into the Butterfly Field. The Butterfly Conservation Field was opened on 8th of May 1999, the plants are now well established and are home to many different species of insects, amphibians, spiders and small mammals.
Below, the official opening of the Butterfly Conservation Field in May 1999.
Tons of soil was brought in and volunteers worked hard planting trees and wild plants gleaned from areas where the status had changed from natural to built up.
A field and woodland became accessible to the general public. A lovely walk along the river which had hitherto been out of bounds could also be enjoyed. More importantly though was the removal of the impediment to achieving Country Park status, which was the next big development for Reddish Vale.
Above, the Butterfly Conservation Park memorial plaque, click to enlarge.