Yesterday morning I went for a run at 9am, and the weekly Parkrun was well under way... so I was accidentally almost joining in... but going the wrong way round. There were a good number of people taking park in the run, of all ages. Having a look online, it turns out I witnessed their 101st run. See the Parkrun website and course here. The route they run each week is a 5k, so I'll give that a go and report back.
At 10:30am I went to a meeting of the Friends of Hanley Park where people from the local area and the Park Liason officer discussed all matters on the park. This included maintenance projects, the Heritage Lottery Fund application, police reports, events and funding. Interviews have been taking place to find a suitable park restoration firm and hopes and aspirations of users of the park are bing compiled, which will all feed into the Heritage Lottery Fund application. A tree survey has been completed, looking at the condition of the trees, which trees obstruct the original design, the relevance of new planting etc. It's interesting the need for striking a balance between the original design of the park and it's contemporary functions. Also, not being too sentimental about old trees that might be in poor condition, even diseased and therefore detrimental to the park in the long run. There was discussion of opening up the canal area, which is currently densely planted and quite separate from the rest of the park, despite the fact it runs right through the middle. In Thomas Mawson's original designs he wanted to hide the canal as much as possible as he thought it ugly and much too industrial as it would have been a very busy stretch carrying clay and coal though the city. Now the function of the canal has changed and it's primary function is recreational.
In short, it was a fascinating meeting and there are many exciting things ahead I'd highly recommend becoming a friend of Hanley Park!