A previously unloved space next to Spotland library has been transformed into a beautiful walking trail, thanks to the work of local volunteers.

Rochdale in Bloom volunteers have created the 200 metre urban walking trail, which is suitable for all ages and abilities, with the help from an Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Greening Grey Britain grant and specialist support.

The tranquil route includes planters and a specialist garden with sensory plants. A sensory garden is an area that is designed to stimulating the senses through plants that engage the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.

Distance markers along the route will help people monitor their progress, to help make the scheme accessible for older walkers. A 55+ independent living scheme overlooks the site and the in bloom team are hoping that residents there will be regular users of the newly developed trail.

A recent Greater Manchester survey* shows that 28% of people in Rochdale are classed as inactive, completing less than 30 minutes of exercise per week. This is higher than the 22% average for England. The new trail aims to tackle inactivity, promote health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

The walking trail will be made even better over time and, once complete, will include special landscape features. Information boards will be installed with advice from Living Well Rochdale on walking, health and getting active.

This autumn, pupils from Meanwood Primary School will also plant wildflower seeds to encourage more wildlife into the area.

Philip Massey, Rochdale in Bloom volunteer said: “The walking trail has been built on a previously neglected piece of land. Now it’s been cleaned up, it provides a space for our community to reflect and take their time as they enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of walking. The path is perfect for people who are prescribed light exercise or who struggle to walk for long periods.”

Martin Taylor, head of environmental management at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Walking is the easiest way to add some physical activity to your day and is something that can be enjoyed by most people. This site is the perfect example of the fantastic work Rochdale in Bloom has done this year. Rochdale in Bloom has already won gold at the Regional In Bloom Awards 2017, and initiatives like this show that was just the start for this ambitious project.”

*Survey information from the Greater Manchester Local Delivery Pilot Strategic Investment Plan.