Canals and countryside a short walk away from Oldham and Ashton
I first knew about Daisy Nook in my formative years passing the place on countless occasions aboard the 409 service to Oldham. All I knew about was its rural nature, and that it has a canal along the park itself. Another thing I also knew about was its Easter funfairs. I had that pleasure myself back on a sunny Good Friday in 1984, when the 346 used to go to Droylsden via Littlemoss.
Today, it remains a popular spot for anglers, walkers, riders, picnickers and photographers, and it is accessible from Littlemoss, Hollinwood and Bardsley Brow. It is hard to imagine how in some people’s living memories how Daisy Nook was far from the semi-rural idyll it is now.
At one time, Daisy Nook was known as Waterhouses, with Clayton Bridge known as Millhouses and Woodhouses, still known as Woodhouses today. The name Daisy Nook was adopted thanks to local poet Ben Brierley and his artist friend Charles Potter. Mr Brierley asked him to draw a rural landscape for his book entitled A Day Out, or A Summer Ramble. Potter based it on Waterhouses, today’s Daisy Nook.
Most of Daisy Nook was left to the National Trust by the late James Lubham J.P., with the country park managed by Oldham Council. It is dominated by the disused Fairbottom Canal which led to Park Bridge, Droylsden (via Sammy’s Basin) and Hollinwood (west of Crime Lake), and the River Medlock.
Today, it is impossible to navigate Fairbottom Canal via narrowboat with its access to the Cheshire Ring via Littlemoss and Droylsden discontinued. Even so, some features including its locks remain. The section to Droylsden is mainly culverted apart from two ponds, one of which on the aqueduct over the River Medlock with a second nearest Stannybrook Road.
Between the river and canal is woodland, wild flower meadows, footpaths and bridleways. Access is available from Newmarket Road, Stannybrook Road and Oldham Road. The John Howarth Countryside Centre, as well as detailing the history of Daisy Nook also has a café, toilets and Warden’s office, just off Newmarket Street. An adventure playground nearby opposite Sammy’s Basin. Angling is available near Bardsley Bridge, on Crime Lake and by Sammy’s Basin. (Tickets available for purchase from the waterside bailiff).
At one time, Crime Lake was a popular excursion spot. Besides its less leisurely use as a reservoir, it came about as the result of a landslip, after the culverting of a nearby stream. Throughout the Edwardian times, it was a popular place for boating and pleasure craft. The pub, now a restaurant, offered snacks and soft drinks as well as ales.
Still indelibly linked with Daisy Nook is its Easter Fair. Silcocks host a travelling fair throughout part of the Easter holidays. It is a longstanding tradition, and one which influenced a L.S. Lowry painting in the late 1940s. Just off Stannybrook Road, it remains popular today.
Further down the road is the highly popular Daisy Nook Garden Centre. It is a pleasant place with a gardening club, regular events and a coffee shop, which overlooks the River Medlock. Coach parties are also welcome by appointment.
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How to Get There:
From Ashton-under-Lyne: 409 or 419 service to Bardsley Brow, or 168/169/231 services to Newmarket Road;
From Oldham and Rochdale: 409 service to Bardsley Brow, or 159 from Oldham to Crime Lake (no Sunday and Bank Holiday service);
From Middleton: 419 service to Bardsley Brow (no Sunday and Bank Holiday service);
From Mossley and Saddleworth: any bus to Oldham or Ashton-under-Lyne then 409 to Bardsley Brow;
From Manchester: any bus, train or tram for Ashton-under-Lyne then 409 to Bardsley Brow. Or, 231 service from Piccadilly Gardens straight to Newmarket Road.
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- Daisy Nook Country Park map: Oldham Council’s map of the country park around the Medlock valley (opens as Adobe PDF page in separate browser tab or window);
- Daisy Nook Garden Centre: official website.
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Before I go…
Feel free to add any recommendations, or reference to any other joys of Daisy Nook Country Park. If you’re going to the funfair this Easter, enjoy yourselves and don’t overdo the candy floss.
S.V., 15 April 2014.