Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the Arts Broadhurst Clough

Broadhurst Clough - The Journey so Far

Irk river valley, Broadhurst Clough,

The historical journey

Over the summers of 2003 and 2004, hundreds of local residents took part in Moston's very own archaeological dig.

Moston Hall, once an important house in the district, was excavated by local people under the supervision of archaeologists from Manchester University.

A group - The Moston and District Archaeological Society (MADASH) was formed to ensure that the project continued by fundraising and raising the profile of the area.

Originally the clough was farmland and was part of an estate which by the later medieval period was known as the manor of Moston. This estate was in existence by the late 13th/early 14th century when it was held by a family who took their name de Moston from the place. During the centuries Moston Hall and the estate was owned and leased by many different families and was used mainly as a cattle farm.

By 1900 Moston became part of the City of Manchester and in 1919 Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst wrote to the chairman of the Parks Committee of Manchester Corporation offering the gift of some 80 acres of land for the establishment of playing fields and a park as 'a thank-you offering for the victory of the allies' following the first world war. The only stipulation was the area should not be developed for housing. This land lay between St Mary's Road, Nuthurst Road, Moston Lane and 'a Dingle', namely Dean Clough. The land was conveyed to the Corporation on 23 July 1920, and soon afterwards Broadhurst Park came into existence. As for Moston Hall, Samuel Dixon seems to have remained as tenant of the Hall into the 1920's, for trade directories list him as a farmer here not only in 1919 but also in 1926. The last occupant of the hall as a farmhouse, he was a pig farmer with the nickname 'Piggy Dixon'.

During the early stages of the second world war the wetland area was levelled off and prefab houses were built for the Polish soldiers who manned an aircraft battery on the site. At the end of the war the soldiers planted a row of apple trees before they left as a thank you to the people of Moston.  Manchester residents moved into the prefabs after the war and lived there until the 1960's when the buildings and Moston Hall were demolished. The area was grassed over and trees were planted. There have since been attempts to build on this site, but due to objections from the local community, development has never taken place.

Present day the Clough lies at the eastern tip of the Irk Valley Project area and provides an immediate contrast to the formal lines and football pitches of Broadhurst park. The Dean Brook trickles through the lower level of the Clough in a steep sided woodland ravine. The rest of the site consists of a mosaic of amenity grassland, species-rich rough grassland, marshland and a wetland scrape.

There are some mature stands of poplar on the site and a programme of removal of diseased Poplar's is due to start shortly, with trees that have no chance of recovery being removed. Some will be left as standing deadwood and some fallen tree's will be left for habitats. There are also younger copses of developing birch and alder woodland which have been planted in partnership with Red Rose Forest.

Extensive stands of flag iris can be found in the marshy areas, which provide ideal cover for common frogs and toads, as well as rest stops for dragonflies.

The Journey So Far

2000 - 2004
Clean up and a woodland walk footpath installed to the rear of the Alexian Brothers care home

2003 - 2005
Dig Manchester - Moston Hall

2005
Manchester City Council clean up campaign - the Irk Valley Project and North Manchester Parks organised a clean up and a considerable amount of rubbish was removed.

2006
Broadhurst Clough also hosted volunteers working with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). They built boardwalks over the wettest areas, so it is still possible to cross the site even during the winter!

2004 -2010
Wetland creation, development and access installation

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