Four Seasons walkway, connecting Denmark Street to the rear of Tesco, used to be an ugly, neglected strip of tarmac surrounded on both sides by twisted old shrubs and overgrown weeds.
We began transforming the walkway in September 2014 when Altrincham In Bloom was sponsored by the now defunct Altrincham Community Team, of which Our Altrincham was a founding member and director. Using a grant from Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund and the help of volunteers from Altrincham and the Church of the Latter Day Saints, we managed to dig the whole area over, remove the weeds and distribute 16 tonnes of Revive compost. After an unplanned delay, we sowed grass seed to improve the look of a well-walked desire line and began planting perennials in order to achieve year-round interest.
During this time, we succeeded in campaigning to have two litter bins installed on the walkway. The result was a dramatic reduction in littering.
Unfortunately, we found that our grant didn't really stretch far enough when it came to planting. the project also suffered from a great deal of vandalism to begin with. It was quite a struggle to establish a few features. Some plants were stolen, others uprooted and discarded, some snapped off or broken.
By the time the North West in Bloom judges visited on 15th July 2015, we explained that the walkway was a work in progress and happily, in October 2015, Marks & Spencer Altrincham came to our rescue. As part of their 'Spark Something Good' initiative, we were given £1,000 to but more plants and bulbs, and a day's help from Altrincham and Sale Marks & Spencer staff. Along with our own volunteers, they did a splendid job and we are now reaping the benefits. We also raised funds by holding Bake Sales and managed to add rockery stones to the walkway for added effect.
The walkway has been completely transformed and though maintenance is a never-ending job for our volunteers, the effect has been amazing. Pedestrians using this walkway are constantly appreciative and have described how their day has been cheered just by walking through our colourful 'garden'.