The Probus walk this month was led by Len Dale. Nine walkers left the marina at Festival Park on a dry frosty morning for a leisurely stroll along the Trent and Mersey Canal, which was frozen over, bound for Westport Lake.
Along the way they came across a model helicopter which was standing on the frozen ice. Continuing on, the party did a circular walk around Westport Lake on a good level footpath of approximately one mile.
The local nature reserve had lots to offer in the way of looking out for tufted ducks, Great crested grebes, swans, coots, Canada geese and many other species of birds and water fowl. The cafe at Westport Lake Visitor Centre was a welcome sight to see more that was on offer and take in some hot liquid refreshment.
Returning via the route already taken the group arrived back at Festival Park to be joined by two further members for lunch in the Festival Park Carvery.
Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival was the second of Britain’s National Garden Festivals. It was held in the city from 1 May to 26 October 1986, and was opened by the Queen. Preparation of the site involved the reclamation of land formerly occupied by the Shelton Bar steelworks (1830–1978), about two miles north-west of the city centre, between Hanley and Burslem. British Steel‘s Shelton Bar steel rolling mill remained in use, finally closing in 2000.
The reclamation cost £5 million, and the Festival cost £18 million. The reclaimers of the Festival site had to contend with highly contaminated and mine shafted land, and there is still debate among environmental professionals about how such a high-quality clean-up was accomplished in such a short time.