A few Saturdays ago, given the unseasonably warm weather, myself, Christine, Lizzie and a friend spent an afternoon wandering around Centre Vale Park in Todmorden. It’s a large public park that sits to the north of the town, and once contained Centre Vale, a stately home. Centre Vale has since been demolished, and is one of the houses featured in Kate Lycett’s Lost Houses of the South Pennines exhibition. Where the house once stood is an outline of bricks.
I’ll be honest – the main reason for our visit was to catch Pokémon. Public parks tend to have ‘nests’ in Pokémon Go, which rotate every fortnight, and we’d heard that there were a number of Sunkern spawning there. They’re somewhat rare, and we managed to catch five that afternoon.
Centre Vale Park has most of what you’d expect from a typical public park. There’s a large open space for playing games, a reasonably sized play area with swings and slides, an outdoor gym, and some planted areas. There’s also a small walled garden at the back, with a war memorial, and a small menagerie inside. This houses some snakes and lizards, some terrapins and (presumably) a few butterflies. It’s not quite what we expected to see, but it was free to visit.
You can also go and touch the Lucky Dog statue, as featured on a recent Derren Brown TV series.
The focal point of the park is a bandstand. Unlike most, it’s more of a stage, located at the edge of the park facing inwards, rather than the more typical circular ones seen elsewhere. Alas, it’s in a poor state of repair and is fenced off. It’s a shame, as it could be used for outdoor shows with large audiences.
I actually enjoyed Centre Vale Park more than I thought I would. The menagerie was an unexpected find, and the views of the upper Calder valley are great on a sunny day. Todmorden itself is not a bad place to visit, with some interesting shops and cafés. It’s a good way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon.