“I’ve noticed it since lockdown”: Life inside the Greater Manchester village that’s a tourist hotspot … but is being ‘spoiled’

Perched right on the edge of Salford is the leafy suburb of Worsley.

Known for its beautiful scenery and landmarks, the affluent and picturesque village can be found along the Bridgewater Canal. With its pretty green stretches and magpie style mock-tudor houses, it really is a slice of rural life in urban Manchester.

Steeped in history, the village is home to 48 listed buildings, including early medieval manor house Wardley Hall, the court house, the fountain and a telephone kiosk. Worsley Delph a former coal mine, is a scheduled monument.

Significant parts of the village are now designated conservation areas, including the Worsley Old Hall and the former Worsley Old Hall farm. Some areas are even being considered as World Heritage Sites. There are also 75 acres of pretty forests that stretch from the canal to East Lancashire Road.

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But despite its stunning surroundings, some residents living on Worsley Green say there’s one thing “spoiling” life in the village – the traffic.

Steve Birch has lived in Worsley his entire life. The 63-year-old was just a child and lived in Worsley Woods when the M60 was built.

Steve Birch

“It’s changed dramatically over the years,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “You can not move without sitting in traffic. But it’s got good places, nice walks, nice people and a lot of history and nice properties.

“It’s just because it’s a popular area, you get a lot of people visiting the village because of the canal and walks. I suppose it brings a little bit of income to the small shops and cafes. But parking is difficult and it’s adding traffic. “

Resident Julie Miller says the green is often used as a rat run – with speeding cars coming as a worry to those with young children and pets.

“I’m just a bit concerned about the fact that lots of people do a rat run in the green if the road is busy,” she says. They rat run at high speeds and when you’ve got babies and dogs on the green it’s a bit of a worry.

“I do not think they have any respect for the people who live here. You’re used to it being quiet. Since lockdown, everyone comes. Everybody should share; it’s a nice place. That is not a problem.

Worsley Green

“But I’ve noticed it since lockdown and people park in front of houses. I’m not being precious; it’s not as beautiful as it used to be.”

Jaqui Pollock recently moved to Worsley from Eccles. While she loves the stunning views and walks, she says the traffic is “probably the most annoying thing”.

“A couple of nights ago something must have happened on the motorway, maybe roadworks and a junction was closed,” she told the BUT “About 30 to 40 lorries came past the house in an hour.

“But the rest is lovely, it’s easier to be healthier here and it’s easy to enjoy being outdoors. You have less excuses to go outside.”

One woman, who did not wish to give her name, has lived on Worsley Green for around 20 years. She says the area has become busier since RHS Bridgewater opened.

“I’ve lived here for 20 odd years. It’s not changed much, but it has changed a lot in way,” she told the BUT “I do not think a lot has changed with my immediate surroundings because no one is going to build on the green on the back of me. What has changed is beyond what I can see – it’s got busier and we have the RHS now.

Worsley Green

“My personal problem is the level of opportunists on the green. We have local businesses popping up. It’s a residential area at the end of the day.

“It’s fine, I’m not trying to exclude everyone. But I do not think every visitor to the green appreciates it. It’s busier because of tourists and people use this as a rat run and use it at quite a speed so it’s worrying .

“I do not particularly think it’s safe. There’s a problem with people parking on the green too. I appreciate people will take an opportunity when they see it, but it’s not always the best for residents.

“The reason it’s so lovely is because it’s so unspoiled. If it starts becoming spoiled, it becomes a problem and will not be beautiful anymore. “

Resident Barry Silvert, 77, described traffic in the area as “appalling” – fearing the chaos may cause a serious accident one day.

Barry Silvert, 77

“It’s a lovely place to live as you can see,” he says. “But the traffic is appalling – early morning rush hour time is mayhem down this road. The roundabout is a living disaster. There’s going to be a serious accident at the traffic lights one day.

“The amenities are good; we have eating places and lots of walking places. This is not meant to be a public road and it’s used as such. In the morning it’s used as a rat run.

“When people want to use the green, they park their cars here and we’re not very happy about that. The food vendors attract a lot of people.”

Greg Skipworth moved to the area around seven months ago. He says Worsley has a “community feel” and is “perfect” in the summer.

“We love it. We moved from around the corner in Ellesmere Park,” the 33-year-old says. “We’ve always loved it because we walk the dogs around here. It has a community feel which is nice and it’s just perfect in the summer.

Greg Skipworth, 33

“It’s beautiful. We were very lucky to get it because I do not think houses come up for sale here very often. We were thrilled.”

Rachel Jones has lived on Worsley Green for around 12 years. She believes the area became more popular with tourists after lockdown – but says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It’s just lovely living round here,” the 57-year-old says. “You feel like you’re on holiday. There’s the greenery, the walks up the canals and woods and there’s a real sense of community.

Rachel Jones

“You can not complain about travel links; it’s so quick to motorway and airports and into Manchester. It’s ideal. RHS Bridgewater is a real bonus and it’s really attracted people. We love it.

“During lockdown, it was a place where everyone came and a lot more people discovered it. I think it’s become more touristy but that’s a nice thing – it’s for everyone to enjoy.”

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