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:
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 (https://gmoa.org.uk/borough_stockport/mirrlees-fields-orienteering) and a digital nature trail Eco Explorer (http://ecoexplorer.education).
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
The parent company which owns MAN Energy Solutions Ltd (what used to be MAN Diesel) is Volkswagen, the huge German multinational. Volkswagen decided earlier this year to sell its subsidiary company.
MAN own the land known as Mirrlees Fields which they acquired when MAN Diesel bought the factory in 2005. Presumably the Fields will be acquired by the new owner of MAN.
What this means for the future of the Fields is uncertain. When a new owner is found we will want to make contact with them, but in the meantime MAN has been told to put all its plans to make an application for residential development on the Fields on hold.
We continue to work in a close partnership with the landowners and we are grateful for the support we receive from MAN who fund the volunteers days organised by Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
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.
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 (http://ecoexplorer.education/ ).
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:
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.
You can also see more details of what we've been up to on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mirrleesfieldsfriendsgroup/.
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: https://www.gofundme.com/mirrleesfields
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
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!
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 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.
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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.