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Sarah, Stockport

Sarah lives in an area of Greater Manchester almost surrounded by Green Belt Purepix / Alamy Stock Photo

I am fortunate to live in Heald Green, on the border of Stockport, Greater Manchester and Cheshire, with excellent footpath links to lush green space and rolling countryside walking from my doorstep – albeit sometimes along a bypass or narrow, overgrown pavements.

Many dedicated people in my community support the councils to maintain the paths, making them usable for as many people as possible, which makes them as functional as possible. In recent years, the landscape around my village has evolved with the addition of new developments, both in Stockport and in neighbouring Handforth. While progress is inevitable, it has started to push the local green spaces further out, which means we now have to navigate through or around newly built or prepared areas to which we previously had free access. Now, we need to appreciate and protect the remaining pockets within the village.

A person in a yellow fleece taking a selfie in a city
Sarah enjoys access to the Green Belt outside of Manchester and Stockport | Sarah Irving

Beyond the village borders, transport links are limited (partly due to lack of use in favour of car ownership), which makes things more complicated. It takes a long time to get to green space destinations: Manchester’s transport system directs us from the village back into the city, before travelling out again to the destinations we want to reach. I am lucky to have such excellent access (and the ability to pay for transport) to the city centre and outwards to access other Greater Manchester green spaces, but of course this is not the case for everyone.

While there are challenges to accessing green belt land from where I live, many options exist for walking, cycling, or public transport use to travel and enjoy the wider Cheshire and Greater Manchester blue and green spaces.