St Mary's Park
Bury New Road, Prestwich (flower park)
St Mary's Road, Prestwich (playing field)
Grid Ref: (E) 381366, (N) 403598 (flower park)
Grid Ref: (E) 381622, (N) 403544 (playing field)
Area: 6.81 hectares
- Large playing field
- Dog-free children's play area
- Youth play area
- Multi-play ball zone
- Outdoor gym
- 4 tennis courts
- 2 bowling greens
- Car park at the St Mary's Road entrance
- Phoenix centre youth facility, home to Prestwich Youth Service
- Run England 3-2-1 route (Prestwich Clough)
A brief introduction to St Mary's Park
St Mary's Park is divided by Bury New Road into the flower park and the playing field.
The tennis courts
Tennis courts at St Mary's Park should be booked in advance at the Clubspark website.
The flower park
The flower park opened in the late 1920's and still contains a number of its original horticultural features, including a layout of formal beds. This area of the park is a quiet place to sit and relax and is bordered by Prestwich Clough. It is a good place to watch wildlife, or as a starting point to head off into the clough.
The playing field and urban park
The park situated in the centre of Prestwich is extremely welcoming and very popular. It particularly comes to life at weekends, light nights and on warm Summer days. The park has a wide range of facilities that cater for all generations, cultures and abilities. The park is mainly used by children and families, dog walkers, patrons of the Phoenix Centre and youth and sports teams.
The park is fairly level throughout with well-maintained footways. The main entrance points to the park are accessible to people using wheelchairs and families with push-chairs.
Green Flag Award
St Mary's Park has retained a Green Flag Award since 2005. The national Green Flag Award scheme recognises excellence in greenspace management and measures criteria such as cleanliness, maintenance, sustainability, community involvement, heritage, nature conservation, health, safety, security and overall management.
St Mary's Park and the Flower Park were officially opened by the 17th Earl of Derby on 3 October 1931. The park was then known as St Mary's Playing Fields and the Flower Park known as St Mary's Park. St Mary's Playing Fields was originally glebe land (land given to a clergyman) belonging to St Mary's Church, which was bought by Prestwich Urban Council for £100 in 1927.
Canon Cooper was instrumental in the Church Commissioners selling the land to provide a central open space for the people of Prestwich. Part of the Playing Field had initially been the former Rectory Pond called The Dingle (a deep gully at the head of Prestwich Clough) - the Deyne Brook also runs through this area. Prestwich Rifle Club founded in 1911 also had a firing range on The Dingle. Following tipping, the area was then levelled to create a playing field for the local community to use.
The Unemployment Grant funded a large proportion of the original facilities in the park which included; tennis courts, two bowling greens, an area for cricket and football and a children's playground. The total cost of these facilities was in the region of £13,600. The park also had a bowling pavilion which was used by bowlers from both the home and away team. A popular bandstand was also located in the park which was used and enjoyed by many.
Since opening, the park has been used by the people of Prestwich as a meeting place, as they did in 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George the VI. The grounds were also used to hold rallies - WW2 local hero, Squadron leader Johnny Topham addressed a rally in aid of the war effort. Throughout its existence St Mary's Park has been the usual home of Prestwich Carnival which is an important event in the Prestwich annual calendar.