Type: Circular walk – begins and ends at Manchester Central Library
Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 km
Difficulty: Easy

Central Library. Stand in St. Peter’s Sq. and face the library.

We recognise the diversity of our sector which is why this is an inclusive initiative for all libraries to help them make the changes they can, with the resources they have. In signing this manifesto we agree to:

• Bring environmental sustainability to the heart
of decision making
• Innovate and evolve
• Work with our communities
• Use our voice for more impact
• Work in partnership
• Grow and share our knowledge
• Support young people

Green Libraries Partnership. ‘Green Libraries Manifesto’ PDF. CILIP The Library and Information Association.

Trees in Albert Sq. – To the right of the main building you will see the glass doors of a covered pedestrian right of way. Follow the path round the exterior of the library. Exit and bare right. You are now in Albert Sq.

If you’ve been through the square recently and seen the green circles in the ground, marked “I will be a tree”, these are the sites of ten of the 11 trees that will be planted… There will be a further six trees in beds – or ‘soft landscape’ -near the fountain, and five new trees will be planted along the side of the Town Hall Princess Street… The proposed trees are as follows:

• Paulownia tomentosa (Foxglove tree) x 1
• Sophora japonica (Japanese Pagoda tree) x 2
• Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree) x 7
• Nyssa sylvatica (Black Tupelo) x 1
• Catalpa bignonioides (Indian Bean tree) x 1
• Prunus yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry) x 2
• Amelanchier arborea ‘Robin Hill’
(Snowy Mespilus / Juneberry) x 2
• Davidia involucrate (Handkerchief tree) x 1
• Liriodendron tulipfera ‘fastgiata’
(Fastigiate Tulip tree) x 5

Manchester City Council, 2023. ‘The Council and Democracy’.

Windmill Street – Walk south-west on Albert Sq. towards Lloyd St. Turn left onto Lloyd St. Turn right onto Mount St. Turn left onto Windmill St. Stop at the Windmill Street sign located on the side of the Midland Hotel. Stop. Turn around and view the skyscrapers.

“What giants?” said Sancho Panza… “Those that you see over there,” responded his master, “with the long arms—some of them almost two leagues long.” “Look, your grace,” responded Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants—they’re windmills; and what seems to be arms are the sails that rotate the millstone when they’re turned by the wind.” “It seems to me,” responded don Quixote, “that you aren’t well-versed in adventures—they are giants; and if you’re afraid, get away from here and start praying while I go into fierce and unequal battle with them.” … And saying this, he spurred his horse Rocinante without heeding what his squire Sancho was shouting to him, that he was attacking windmills and not giants. But he was so certain they were giants that he paid no attention to his squire Sancho’s shouts, nor did he see what they were, even though he was very close. Rather, he went on shouting: “Do not flee, cowards and vile creatures, for it’s just one knight attacking you!” … At this point, the wind increased a bit and the large sails began to move, which don Quixote observed and said: “Even though you wave more arms than Briaræus, you’ll have to answer to me.”

Cervantes, M. (1605). Don Quixote. London: Penguin Classics; 1st edition (30 Jan. 2003).

Bridgewater Floating Gardens – Walk south-east on Windmill St towards Museum St. Slight right onto Lower Mosley St. At the Ishinki Touchstone, marble sculpture turn left. Use the stairs or the ramps to descend to the Floating Gardens.

I’ve just asked Lisa what she feels have been their 2 biggest successes and 2 biggest failures…or shall we say learning curves?!.. on the journey so far. Here’s what she said… “One of the things I consider to be one of our biggest successes has been including local people, water activists and school groups in our projects. For example, in London the local residents and community groups who live around the Regents Canal have helped to generate support for new projects, as well as to plant the Floating Ecosystems, to assemble, and to launch them. One of these sites, Kingsland Basin, is now considered to be an urban wildlife refuge… One of my favourite projects is in Manchester at the Bridgewater Hall Basin. We put in flower petal shaped Floating Islands around the central fountain as well as Floating Riverbanks along the edges. This transformed the hard edged, lifeless waterbody into a thriving aquatic ecosystem full of colour and biodiversity.

Sally Bogale. ‘Crossing the Green Bridge… Inspiration From Biomatrix’. Green Bridge Organics.

The Tower of Light – Return back up the stairs/ramp to the Ishinki Touchstone. Turn left. View the ornate white tower on the opposite side of the street. This is the Tower of Light.

Inspired by Tudor palaces and one of David Attenborough’s favourite creatures, Tonkin Liu’s flue for Manchester’s new sustainable power system is more than just eye-catching… Manchester has long liked garnishing industry with ornament. For all the four-square practicality of its Victorian streets, its buildings are eclectic in their detail – Byzantine, Flemish, gothic and baroque, encrusted and polychrome, with turrets, domes, gables, swags and cartouches formed from stone, brick and soot-resistant ceramics. Mancunian architecture grew fantasy from the filth of coal-fired wealth… The Tower of Light, white and sparkling, updates this tradition for a low-carbon age. It is essentially a big chimney, but not as LS Lowry would have known it. It’s a dispersion flue, to use the technical term, a 40 metre-high device for extracting fumes from a gas-fired combined heat and power unit beneath it. Its swirling forms resemble those that Antoni Gaudí put on top of Barcelona apartment blocks. They are inspired, say its architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, both by the ornate chimneys on Tudor palaces and by the glass sponge, a submarine organism that is one of David Attenborough’s favourite creatures… By day, light bounces off it and penetrates through it, and reflects off the stainless steel flues that you can glimpse through the openings. By night it’s illuminated with shifting colours that can be changed to suit an occasion – Pride, for example, or a triumph by the city’s blue or red football teams. Car headlights put the rippling tiles into continuous visual motion.

Rowan Moore. February 6, 2022 11.00 GMT. ‘Tower of Light, Manchester review – a work of fantasy and innovation’. The Guardian.

HOME – Keep to the left, passing the Tower of Light on your right. Cross the intersection. Straight ahead along Albion St. Turn left onto Tony Wilson Place. Stop outside HOME.

‘Why bees?’ you ask. Well, since way back in 2014 when we were first planning the move to HOME on First Street, we’ve been committed to supporting biodiversity in Manchester city centre. We looked upwards and found that the roof was the perfect place to plant our ideas and let them grow! We set our sights on bees – the hardworking, beloved emblem of Manchester – and wanted to establish a home for supporting at-risk pollinator species. Thanks to a fantastic fundraising effort by all of our team, we were able to put our plan into action, gathering all of the materials and equipment for beekeeping and training staff as apiarists at Manchester District Beekeeper Association in Heaton Park… With wildflower seed kits from Frow Wild and donations from the green-fingered members of the team, we set to work creating forage for our new arrivals. Always striving to make sustainable choices, we’ve re-purposed old theatre lights, stage props and exhibition materials, turning them into planters – we’ve even got old washing machine drums brimming with lavender! Our bees get the best choice in Manchester too – they’ll happily fly up to two miles to seek out the flowers with the tastiest nectar that they’ll bring back to the hive to be turned into honey – wildflower meadows and hedgerows, lush canal towpaths and railway line cuttings, backyards and gardens brimming with colour are all foraging hot-spots for these busy pollinators! We’ve extracted our first ever batch of delicious HOME honey that sold out in a flash in our bookshop.

HOME. 2023.

Mackintosh Dunlop Factory – Walk east on Tony Wilson Pl. towards the east side of HOME and under the railway arches. Turn right onto Whitworth St. Turn right onto Gloucester St. Gloucester St. turns slightly left and becomes Cambridge St. On the right you will see a chimney. Stop.

The Unfashionable Truth About Unsustainable Latex Rubber
The proportion of the global natural latex rubber supply consumed by the global fashion and textile industry is dwarfed by the more than 70 percent of the total consumed by the global tire industry. But an ongoing surge in popularity of rubber in the fashion and textile industries will likely increase the proportion of natural rubber consumed by that sector. Fashion designers and textile firms should understand the grim toll that the latex rubber they consume could inflict on the environment and communities – primarily Southeast Asia and West Africa – from where the vast majority of natural rubber is sourced and processed… Natural rubber production has been a driver of tropical deforestation, which is a major accelerant of climate change. Land area under cultivation for the Hevea brasiliensis rubber tree nearly doubled from 2000 to 2018 to an area equivalent to the size of Germany, constituting a drastic erasure of tropical rainforest in producer countries.

Phelim Kine. January 26, 2021. ‘The Unfashionable Truth About Unsustainable Latex Rubber’. Mighty Earth. 

Manchester Metropolitan University– Walk south-east on Cambridge St. towards Hulme St. Turn left onto Chester St. Turn right onto Oxford Rd. Continue along Oxford Rd. on the right is All Saints Sq. Enter the Sq.

Manchester Metropolitan will explore how Greater Manchester can develop the skills pipeline for a future green economy as part of the 2023 GM Green Summit… As part of the Green Summit, the University will chair a panel session (which) will invite contributions from City leaders, people in business and graduates who are already one step ahead in re-imagining and delivering our future green workforce and economy. As a leading sustainable University, Manchester Metropolitan is at the forefront of delivering a more sustainable future and contributing to the world’s sustainability agenda… At last year’s Green Summit, MMU committed to delivering a pipeline of green skills that will prepare students for future careers when ‘all jobs will be green jobs.’ The Strategy focuses on ensuring education for sustainable development and climate change education are embedded in all our courses by 2026 and that we continue to deliver world-class research to tackle the issues around climate change, such as in aviation, nature-based solutions, climate resilience and developing hydrogen fuel… The North West Net Zero Skills Charter, is designed by Manchester Metropolitan University and partners to help businesses harness new net zero opportunities for the benefit of communities and people across the region.

Manchester Metropolitan News. Monday 18 September, 2023. ‘GM Green Summit 2023: developing skills for a green economy’. Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Eighth Day Shop and Café – Cross Oxford Rd. Opposite All Saints Sq. is The Eighth Day Shop and Café.

Take Scott Jurek, for example, the ultramarathoner who made headlines this summer when he ran the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in a record-setting 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes… Jurek grew up in Minnesota.. Meals were meat heavy, and everything revolved around the huge family dinners at the end of every day… And for almost two decades now, Jurek has been a vegan. He eased into it starting in college, cutting out meat, then eschewing fish and becoming firmly ovo-lacto vegetarian, then finally eschewing all animal products completely. The decision was precipitated by his family history of chronic disease, including his mother’s multiple sclerosis.

Luke Darby. October 13, 2015. ‘The Real-Life Diet of the Vegan Who Can Run Hundreds of Miles, No Problem’. Culture.

HATCH – Face The Eighth Day Shop and Café. Follow Oxford Road on your left. On your right is Hatch.

It is moreover obvious that men organised in small units will take better care of their bit of land or other natural resources than anonymous companies or megalomanic governments which pretend to themselves that the whole universe is their legitimate quarry.

Schumacher, E.F. (1973). Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. London: Blond & Briggs. p. 22.

Circle Square – Continue north on Oxford Rd towards Sidney St. On your right is Circle Sq. Enter the Sq.

Ancient Chinese believed that heaven was like a dome covering the square earth. This comes from traditional Chinese philosophy named 天圆地方 (Tian Yuan Di Fang, literally meaning that the heaven is round and the earth is square). Derived from the Chinese Yin and Yang theory, the chaos of the universe was initially called Taiji, which refers to the origin of yin (negative, or female), yang (positive, or male) and of universal changes. When the earth was not separated from the heaven the universe was a great mass like a huge egg. Then Taiji evolved into Liang Yi (two phases) and the Yin and Yang theory came into being as well as the separation of heaven and earth. Since the celestial objects like sun and moon are eternally moving in circles over the sky, while the earth is serenely bearing the people on it like a stable square, as a result, the idea of circular heaven and square earth came about.

Feng Hui. 29 August, 2008. ‘Ancient ideas behind Olympic buildings’. Lifestyle. China Daily.

River Medlock – Return to Oxford Rd. Continue north along Oxford Rd. Stop at the railings overlooking The River Medlock.

It was about half past twelve when the floods came … the banks of the Medlock were overflowed to such an alarming extent and the first intimation of the flood was the sweeping away of a footbridge near to Philips Park … It must have been very strongly fixed, for it not only bore the rush of the flood for a considerable time, but it resisted it to such an extent that the water backed up for a considerable distance. The flood increased in depth and power, and at a length swept in a fierce torrent over a large portion of ground apportioned to the Roman Catholics at the Bradford Cemetery carrying away not only tombstones but actually washing out of their graves, a large number of dead bodies. Indeed, from the first indication of danger, so far as works on the banks of the Medlock were concerned, dead bodies were observed floating down the river, and those watching could easily see that the bodies had been disinterred out of the Bradford cemetery. It is impossible to calculate how many had been swept out of their final resting place but the number is not short of fifty.

Jonathan Schofield. 6 July, 2023. ‘Strange City (4): The Great Flood, the floating dead’. In Manchester Courier, 15 July 1872. Confidentials, Manchester.

China Town – Continue north along Oxford Rd. Turn right onto Portland St. Turn left onto Princess St. Turn right onto Faulkner St. On the left is China Town.

When we see a child about to fall into the well, we cannot help a feeling of alarm and commiseration. This shows that our humanity (ren) forms one body with the child. It may be objected that the child belongs to the same species. Again, when we observe the pitiful cries and frightened appearances of birds and animals about to be slaughtered, we cannot help feeling an “inability to bear” their suffering. This shows that our humanity forms one body with birds and animal. It may be objected that birds and animals are sentient beings as we are. But when we see plants broken and destroyed, we cannot help a feeling of pity. This shows that our humanity forms one body with plants. It may be said that plants are living things as we are. Yet even when we see tiles and stones shattered and crushed, we cannot help a feeling of regret. This shows our humanity forms one body with tiles and stones.

Alliance of Religions and Conservation. 2023. ‘What does Confucianism teach about ecology?’ Statements. Yale School of the Environment.

St. Peter’s Sq. Cross – Walk south-west on Faulkner St. towards Nicholas St. Turn right onto Princess St. At the tramlines turn left into St. Peter’s Sq. The cross stands opposite the Manchester Central Library entrance.

Everywhere people ask: “What can I actually do?” The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: we can, each of us, work to put our own inner house in order. The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can still be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.

Schumacher, E.F. (1973). Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. London: Blond & Briggs. p. 318.