Platt Fields Park

South Manchester, 2 miles

Near centre with unusual features


image of platt-fields-park

Get there

Private transport: Carpark is well‐placed, in the centre of the park, but small and reputedly fills fast. Overflow to surrounding streets, but they are busy and distant.


Platt Fields Park is generations of city thought struggling to justify public space. Large chunks are knocked out by, in rough historical order, a church, a chapel, Manchester School for Girls, student housing, and a sports centre. The park has been a dump for ideas with nowhere to go—a boating pond built to employ the unemployed, an arch rescued from the cathedral, a community garden. It has it’s own resources—the Nico Ditch, and flatland near the Sports Centre is a sometime event venue. Some features are recent—a kid’s adventure playground (near the pond), a skate park, and a sport BMX track—150m of floodlit, three‐fold track with start/end gates. Many features are non‐starters: the arch is buried in a corner, the ditch unpresented. The pond is squashed behind the school and Sports Stadium—a casual visitor will miss it. The chapel is disused, the hall repurposed as a ‘community hub’ and the labyrinth is not constructed so when I visited didn’t exist. In this median, jagged space the boating pond and Shakespeare Garden are magic, but Platt Fields tells no story. Not a park to travel for, but unusual.