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Hartshill Park (Mare’s Field)

As a child, teenager, and even as a young adult, this park had many an hour spent within its boundaries, less so as I have gotten older.

In my memory banks my Nan told me the name – ‘Mare’s field’ – came about due to a stables and horse field being on the boundary, and therefore that is where the children were found, especially when foals were born. Whatever the reason it came to be known by this name, the official name – Hartshill park – seems to be the name replacing it, even locally.

When I was a child, the bottom pond was the biggest attraction, the upper pond was always too densely covered with duck weed , rendering it useless for pond dipping, it grew so thick that one might think it a grassy area and walk straight into it at dusk. Thankfully it has a fence surrounding it now.

The lower pond now has a little wooden ‘bridge’ over the overflow, which makes getting to the area that was best for dipping easier. Frogs, Newts, Sticklebacks,Water boatmen, Pond skaters, Dragonflies , Damselflies as well as Butterflies and grasshoppers were the catch to be had, there may even have been minnows and toads as well.

To get to the pond back then was a dirty trek, even on a good day. The tracks, as I remember, were made with red ash, dusty in the summer and messy in the wet. I am glad to say most of the track is now tarmac or stones only a couple of places remain in the muddy state as I remember. There has been much work done on this park since my childhood and all for the better.

The park itself is situated atop of and on the side of, what is affectionally called, Stoke bank. This makes for an undulating pathway going around the park, with plenty of steps that could be incorporated into a walk to get the heart rate up even higher. There are several benches around the park to take a break and watch the world go by, to let the heart rate come back down again.

A couple of carparks are available, and refreshments can be had from the local shops/petrol station. There are no toilets however. The park is not wheelchair friendly, even though the path is, unless you want a coronary trying to push someone around it.

If you’re in the area and fancy a park that will get the heart pumping in a short amount of distance, give Hartshill Park a try.

It makes a nice change from all the flat ones.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/stoke-on-trent

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