Mirrlees Fields Friends Group

Mirrlees Fields is a large green space where you can walk in a peaceful, natural environment away from the noise of urban living.

There is a great diversity of wildlife including many species of birds, bats, ancient trees, an orchard, grassland and in the summer, wildflowers. Over fifty species of birds have been seen include buzzards and owls.

It is a beautiful space for families and children, walkers, runners and cyclists (on the bridleway) and is used by schools, scouts and cubs and other youth groups.

'The Fields provide a beautiful natural environment and an important habitat for some rare wildlife. They give us a chance to learn about our world and how to preserve it.' (local resident)

The Fields are easily accessible from Woodsmoor and Hazel Grove. There are three points of access:

  1. from Woodsmoor Station;
  2. from Kinross Avenue;
  3. Barlows Lane South and Hampton Wood estate.

These lead onto three rights of way which have been recently resurfaced and are suitable for disabled access, prams and wheelchairs.

The land is privately owned by MAN Diesel Turbo Ltd, but there is permissive access over the Fields.

Mirrlees Fields Friends Group was formed to protect and improve this natural habitat and widen public use. Recent innovations include a permanent orienteering course ( and a digital nature trail Eco Explorer (

Traces of the Fields' history can be found in old field boundaries, marl pits, butts and reins and ancient ditches (see History)

You may walk your dog on the Fields but please remember to clear up your dog's poos. Mirrlees Fields welcomes responsible dog-owners.

Welcome to Mirrlees Fields

Forthcoming Events


Tuesday 27th August 7.00pm - Bat Walk

Join us for a short walk to hear, see and identify bats flying over Mirrlees Fields

More info on the Events page.

MAN Energy Solutions announce their plans for the Fields.

At a meeting with MAN Energy Solutions on Tuesday 9th April 2019, it was announced to representatives of MFFG that MAN, who are the owners of Mirrlees Fields, have commissioned an outline plan for housing development on the Fields.

The company's preferred proposal is for a development that would occupy 30% of the green field site. Houses would all be in one area, namely on the ‘big field’ adjacent to MAN's offices. Access would be from Mirrlees Drive (the road that leads to the offices that MAN occupies) from Bramhall Moor Lane. There would be no access from the Woodsmoor side (with the potential exception for emergency vehicles). The road would come through the area where there is a pond and the poplar trees (where the buzzards nested last year).

Zonation Sketchmap

We were not shown any plans or drawings, but we gathered that there would be two ‘arms’ going each side of the two oak trees in the middle of the fields. The figure of 250 ‘units’ was mentioned – family houses with a small proportion of affordable’ in accordance with Council guidelines (currently 25%).

 The remainder of the site would be owned by a trust which would be established to manage the site as a public asset. Some capital would be given to the trust to meet future costs and enable the site to be self-sufficient. The details of how the trust would work have not yet been determined, but legal advice would be sought. MAN will be represented on the board of trustees, as would the council and MFFG. However no details have been worked out yet.

 Timescale. No application has been made to the Council yet. It could take three or four years – assuming they get planning permission – before the houses are built.

MFFG Comment The fields are currently designated as a Strategic Open Space, which means that it is not available for residential development, but the Council could modify the designation for some of the fields if they were persuaded that 30% of the Fields given over to a housing development was a price worth paying to get 70% in a public trust. However, Council officers will have to take account of issues such as pressure on school places and traffic congestion on Bramhall Moor Lane as well as a reduction in green space in a ward that is already below the national norms.

The local councillors for Stepping Hill ward have publicly stated that they would be against any development on the Fields. The Planning Department have also stated that in the forthcoming local plan, Mirrlees Fields will be designated as a green space. In the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, Mirrlees Fields are not a site for development.

 We will keep all our supporters informed when we have more information about MAN's plans.

Eco Explorer - a new way for families to explore the Fields

There’s a new fun activity for families and children on Mirrlees Fields. It's called Eco Explorer. It's a great way to introduce children to nature and to explore the Fields.

Orienteering Post

Around Mirrlees Fields, a number of Eco Explorer QR code plaques have been installed on the new orienteering course posts (see picture). The QR codes are linked to the 'Eco Explorer' website and app ( ).

 Here's how to get started.

1. Download the Eco Explorer app onto an i-phone or i-pad (free from the Apple Store).

 2. Download the map to show where the plaque are located. Here is a link to the map of the Fields showing the location of the 10 ecoexplorer plaques.

 Once you have the EcoExplorer app, you can get fun activities to complete with your child at each location by using your i-phone or i-pad to read the QR code on each of the plaques.

The course is being promoted throughout the Great Moor School (Infants and Juniors) and MFFG is highlighting this initiative to our networks including local scouting groups, other schools and community groups.

 The broad aim of the Eco Explorer trail is to create a community resource in the Mirrlees greenspace that:

  1. promotes community engagement
  2. raises ecological / environmental awareness
  3. compliments learning, linking to various areas of the curriculum
  4. encourages physical activity and healthier lifestyles
Support the work of the Friends Group!

How 403 of our supporters helped Mirrlees Fields.

The MFFG has submitted an application for Mirrlees Fields to be recognised as a 'Local Green Space' in Stockport's new development plan which is currently under discussion. As part of the application we included a report on the survey carried out over the summer. We had 403 responses which was a brilliant response. Here's a link to the Survey Report.

As part of the application, Sue Bailey has also produced an interesting document on the historical significance of the Fields, which you can download from this link.

Activities that the group has undertaken include:

You can also see more details of what we've been up to on our Facebook page:

Please help to support our work in the following ways:


None of our work would have been possible without the great generosity of our supporters and this will continue to be the case - the more that we receive in donations, the more that we can do to make our fields a great place for everybody.  You can donate on-line via our GoFundMe page:

The Fields


Tawny Owl

Charlie Gallagher reported that a pair of tawny owls have been heard late evening and at night on the fields. Now that the stream is clean, pied and grey wagtails can be seen along the banks, and a pair of kingfishers have been seen downstream from the railway bridge. Altogether, over fifty species of birds have been seen on the Fields.   Pipistrelle and Natterer bats will become more common as spring approaches in the evenings and night times. Among mammals, water voles inhabit the streams, and rabbits, foxes and badgers have all been sighted on the fields. We also have smooth newts, and common frogs and toads. ‘Greenspace’ the forum for Stockport’s green areas and parks is encouraging people to report sightings of water voles. If you see any water voles on Mirrlees, contact Cheshire Wildlife Trust at Bickley Hall Farm, Bickley, Cheshire, SY14 8EF or tell Christine Hession [].
There is a wide variety of trees on the Fields. The list includes oaks, some of them at least 200 years old, and silver birch, hazel, lime, alder, poplars (grey, Italian and black), willows (pussy, osier, crack and white), yew, larch, Norway spruce, beech, holly, ash, rowan, whitebeam, cherry, blackthorn, hawthorn, and elder. Look out for a guided tree walk in the Spring.
Next time you walk across the fields, count how many of these 24 species you can spot!

An open space for everyone, not a toilet for dogs…

One of the biggest complaints we have from our members (and the land owners) is with regards to dog walkers who leave their dog’s faeces behind. Given the use of the fields by many local people, including young families, this practice is not only unpleasant but also dangerous; potentially leading to blindness in children should bugs from dog mess get in their eyes. An unfavourable new craze at the moment appears to be bagging up dog mess, and then leaving it hanging from the fence, trees, or just thrown on the ground. Who does this? Why do they do it? We would like to call on anyone who uses the fields to be extra vigilant and help us to identify/report any one seen leaving dog mess behind. It is a criminal offence not to clean up after your dog, even on private land. With this in mind MFFG is working with Stockport MBC and the local Dog Wardens to try and tackle this problem – and your details (times, descriptions of animals/owners etc) will help. We do appreciate, and are very thankful for, the majority of dog walkers who are very responsible with their animal's waste, and who ensure that their animal's behaviour is not threatening to any other users of the fields (canine or otherwise!). Together, we believe we can help stamp out the unacceptable behaviour of the minority – to make the fields and footpaths a much safer and cleaner place to be — for everyone.

The Disappearing Fields

The version of this map from about 1978 shows the fields as many of us remember them. Click the button to switch to the same map from 1993.
It's frightening to see how much has already been lost.

Map from 1978
MFFG and You

Join now or update your membership

New to Mirrlees Fields Friends Group?

Join now and have your say on the future of the Fields.

Already a member?

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How to contact us:

We find when we talk to people on the Fields that many of those who use the Fields are not aware of the Friends Group or the issues about the ownership of the land. We cannot take for granted that we always be able to walk on the fields - UNLESS we can bring the Fields into some form of public ownership such as a Community Trust.

Please take the opportunity to talk to people you meet on the Fields about the Friends Group and why we exist. Encourage them to come to our website and to become members.

The size of our membership list is one of our biggest strengths when negotiating with MAN Diesel. They cannot dismiss us as a minority group when we have the support of so many local residents who want to see the Fields saved for now and future generations.