Last week I was on a 3-day pet sitting stint looking after a dog in Farnworth, an area south of the town. Many years ago Farnworth was a small town in its own right, with its own town centre, railway station, town hall and library, but over the years it has gradually become swallowed up in the ever-increasing urban sprawl and is now just another area of Bolton, although it still has its town centre and railway station. The dog I was looking after lives just around the corner from Farnworth’s Central Park so there was no problem finding somewhere to walk her, and as it’s a park I wouldn’t normally have a reason to go to I decided to take the camera with me last Thursday morning.
Back in 1860 Thomas Barnes, a local MP, announced his intention to provide a portion of his large estate as a park for the people of Farnworth, in memory of his father and to mark his son’s coming of age. He appointed a landscape gardener from Birkenhead, William Henderson, to design and lay out the grounds but Henderson didn’t complete his engagement and another gardener, Robert Galloway, was appointed to finish the park. In 1864 the Local Board, which had been established the previous year, agreed to oversee the care of the park and Galloway was appointed as Park Superintendent; the park was officially opened on October 12th that year by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer William E Gladstone who became Prime Minister for the first time four years later.
In 1888 the Local Board purchased various cottages and land bordering the park and in 1895 the Barnes Memorial was erected – the cottages were eventually demolished and in 1907 the area was incorporated into the park itself. A Cenotaph was erected in 1924 and after WW2 a Garden of Remembrance was created. In more modern times, when Farnworth eventually lost its identity as a town in its own right, the park came into the ownership of Bolton Council and has stayed as a public place to be enjoyed by all.
My walk on Thursday morning started at 9.30am from one of the two entrances down a narrow side street on the south side of the park, and that’s where I saw the first local sign of frost, in a dip in the ground which was still in shade. From there I followed the path diagonally west to the Barnes Memorial at the head of the main path – unfortunately I could only get a shot of one side of it as the sun was in the wrong direction for the other sides but there’s a quotation from Thomas Barnes which reads “In commemoration of my son’s coming of age and in memory of his grandfather I present and dedicate this park to the people of Farnworth for their benefit for ever” and another side reads “Opened by The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone M.P. Oct. 12th 1864”. From the memorial I wandered down the path, through the trees and down to the main park entrance on the east side before taking the dog back home. With no-one around other than another couple of dog walkers the place was really peaceful and it was hard to believe that it’s actually surrounded by three busy main roads.
That afternoon I had to take the dog for another walk and as the day was still glorious and very warm for the time of year I decided to revisit the park to take some more photos. Starting from the same entrance I took a slightly different route to earlier and ended up near the bowling green where there was a corner with some lovely trees, then from there I wandered back towards the main entrance at the other end of the park and finished my walk near the Garden of Remembrance before taking the dog round the corner and back home.
It had been a perfect day and a perfect location to get some autumn photos and after the walk that morning I just had to return later on to get some more shots. A bit of colour in the flower beds near the Cenotaph would have been the icing on the cake but now I know what a nice place the park is I can always return in spring or summer next year when hopefully the beds will be blooming.
**Due to a very busy time in her life my blogging friend Jo isn’t currently hosting any Monday Walks so I have nothing to link to, but as I have a few walks in hand, and will no doubt have some more to come, I’ve decided to continue the Monday theme on my own when I can, with last Monday’s blog post counting as the first walk – I hope you all enjoy reading about the places where I’ve walked.
***Edited to say that Jo has now included a link to this post in her latest (as of mid November) blog page which is more of a ‘Monday catch-up’ rather than a walk, but as always she’s included some great photos so I’m adding a link back to her page here.